Forbes’ impact on aspiring professionals

Sierra Lyons Photo Submitted by Sierra Lyons

Forbes Magazine has caused quite the controversy after releasing their “America’s Most Innovative Leaders” list. The list featured 100 business leaders, yet only one was a woman.

Forbes is known for its captivating lists and recognition of many successful business leaders in America. However, they may have missed the mark on this list by their lack of proper recognition. Barbara Rentler, CEO of Ross Store Inc., ranked number 75 and stood alone as the only woman on the list.

According to the Forbes article, consultant Curtis Lefrandt collaborated with business professors Jeff Dyer and Nathan Furr to constitute the qualities business leaders needed to make the list.

The four qualities were “media reputation for innovation, social connections, the track record for value creation and investor expectations for value creation”.

Shortly after the release of the list, many people took to social media to communicate their frustrations. Many users on Twitter questioned how Rentler was the only woman CEO who fit the mold for their standards of “innovation”.

As women all across the country began to read this list and feel unseen, it made me think about how aspiring female professionals on Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s campus might feel discouraged from these types of articles.

Most female students at FAMU are already a double minority — being both African American and female. To know that there are now more female CEOs in America than ever before is uplifting. Yet, female CEOs still make up such a small percentage in comparison to their male counterparts.

For FAMU students interested in business, I can imagine that a reputable business magazine like Forbes is inspiring to read. That is why I find it crucial that lucrative businesses like Forbes consider young professionals, especially those that are minorities.

Forbes recognized the impact they carry and were quick to follow up from their initial article. On Sept. 8, the business magazine released a statement explaining their methodology for the list and ultimately apologizing.

Staff writer Randall Lane laid out each step of the process for creating the list, and while it was well-planned it still didn’t leave much room for women to be acknowledged.

“… for all our carefully calibrated methodology, women never had much of a chance here,” said Lane, owning up to the magazine’s mistake.

Lane goes onto explain that Forbes has curated list specific to women and that perhaps they should have done this here so that women could’ve been better recognized.

Moving forward, I hope that companies like Forbes see the need for more women leaders, and even more so the need to acknowledge them.

Female students at FAMU should continue to be inspired by the barriers women are breaking in corporate industries and to know that their time to shine is sooner than they think.