15-20 years ago, the five ladies above would have joined beauty contests and won by the sheer amount of intelligence they individually possess. Not that they are less gorgeous than our perennial idea of how a beauty queen looks like, but they know how to fully utilize their smarts to get what they want.
Take for example Marissa Mayer, Yahoo President/CEO and only 37. She could easily pass off as Miss Wisconsin-USA 1997 and a Miss USA winner or finalist. And then there’s 42 year-old Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO. Back in 1992, she would’ve participated in Miss Florida and placed well. Being a great fitness buff then, her swimsuit presentation won’t get lost on the judges’ scorecards. Hispanic Gisel Ruiz, Wal-Mart US COO, is also another could-have-been for the Golden State in the 90s. And how about Transaero Airlines’ Olga Pleshakova? She may be 45, but I won’t be surprised if she secretly took part in Miss Russia 1991 and almost became a contender the year Lupita Jones took home the Miss Universe crown. I’m not even adding Ariston Investments’ Efrat Peled yet. She may not have been an Israeli beauty titleholder back in the mid-90s, although not an impossibility had she gamely took the route. She’s only 38 at the moment.
At any rate, these women upped the ante even more. They are part of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business, and the youngest may I add. In the US ranking, Sheryl Sandberg (#8), Marissa Mayer (#14) and Gisel Ruiz (#21) are forces to reckon with, just as Olga Pleshakova (#49) and Efrat Peled (#50) are in the international listing.
It cannot be denied that they still have the beauty and relative youthfulness to give our young titleholders a run for their money. What’s more, they have achieved the kind of power most of us can only dream of having. What more can they ask for? More power, of course! They’re not getting any younger, but in terms of clout and control, the years ahead are still sprawlingly rich.