When Diana Kapp, MBA ’96, attended Stanford GSB, not one company in the Fortune 500 had a female CEO. And as her daughters grew into teenagers, Kapp began writing a book for young girls, one that would highlight the stories of women leaders and entrepreneurs.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Kapp says.
Last September, two weeks before Girls Who Run the World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business came out, Forbes published a list entitled “America’s Most Innovative Leaders.” It included 99 men and one woman.
Kapp was crestfallen and frustrated. “Those are the lists where board members are chosen; where ideas for who speaks at conferences are chosen,” she says. After seeing the list, Kapp quickly penned an open letter to the editor at Forbes. Many women she’d interviewed for the book signed on, and word spread. Nearly 200 women ended up signing the letter, and more took to Twitter, spurring Forbes to create a task force to address how it curates future lists.
To celebrate Women’s History Month this year, we’re sharing stories from Girls Who Run The World, which aims to inspire young women with business insights and interviews. Below are excerpts from Stanford GSB students and alumnae featured in the book.