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Four Rich Women: How They Did It

Updated on April 19, 2015
grand old lady profile image

Mona writes a column for Enrich Magazine which is distributed in five countries. She is interested in learning as she writes.

The Catholic Pope is featured on the 2011 cover of Enrich Magazine, where my article about tips from self made women billionaires was published.
The Catholic Pope is featured on the 2011 cover of Enrich Magazine, where my article about tips from self made women billionaires was published. | Source

Kay Koplovitz, Joni Evans, Anne Sutherland Fuchs and Karen Pearse have proven that the world of self-made billionaires is just as good for women as men. These four women billionaires recently came to the Philippines for the forum, “Leadership Voices” held at the Shangri-la Hotel, Makati.

The mega women spoke at the forum, “Leadership Voices”, organized by The Asia Society Philippine Foundation and Women’s Business Council Philippines, with help from global fashion icon Josie Natori. Television newscaster Karen Davila was the emcee.

Here’s what the women said about Female success and leadership today.

My name is seen on the contributors' box to the right.
My name is seen on the contributors' box to the right. | Source

Kay Koplovitz

Koplovitz said every woman has an authentic leader inside of her, but not everyone discovers it. Sometimes, women discover it late in their lives. (Many women launch their first business in their 50s). Koplovitz said there are three stages to arriving at one’s authentic leadership style. They are:

  1. Finding your passionate moment. Koplovitz’ heroes are Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury. She discovered her passion when she attended a seminar on the subject of geo satellites. The latter are satellites above the equator in orbital positions, approximately 22,235 statute miles (35,784 km). They are consistently synchronized with Earth’s revolution. Koplovitz stressed that this was before cable TV, satellite television and the internet. However, all of them eventually became offshoots of geo satellites.

Koplovitz was determined to get cable TV off the ground, but she needed money. The prevailing economic model at the time was to buy television airtime, and then pay for it through advertisements. To launch cable TV, Koplovitz decided to reverse the economic model. She got the cable systems to pay her and when they accumulated enough hours, she got the advertising that she needed.

In this way, Koplovitz became the first woman president of a TV network, and later, a billionaire – through her passion for geo satellites.

2. Empower others. Although it is commonly believed that leadership is about self- empowerment, Koplovitz believes otherwise. She said that when you empower others, you gain the power of many, as opposed to simply having the power of one.

Koplovitz turned down the first job President Bill Clinton offered her, which was to chair the National Business Council. Instead, she wanted to empower women through capital formation and distribution. Clinton offered her the post of chairman of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) in 1998, and she accepted, precisely because that was the council’s function.

Before then, she had learned that $100 billion dollars was available to fund business – but less than two percent of the money went to women. With the NWBC she formed Springboard 2000 for women. Through Springboard 2000, women were trained in technology, biotechnology and fund raising. Today, Springboard has generated over $750 million in investment capital to fund female – owned businesses.

3. Leading from the middle. Koplovitz learned that billionaires don't always lead from the front. Sometimes, you must lead from the middle. She saw the importance of leading from the middle when she was placed on a board that was comprised of too many leaders. The result was that the group ended up going nowhere.

Koplovitz learned how to handle the situation by reading two books: Ed Sander’s The Art of Possibility (which said the power of a conductor is to make perfect music without playing a single instrument), and True North by Bill George (A book about authentic leadership). From these books Koplovitz decided to steer the board from the middle, rather than going too far out front.

Koplovitz is more than a billionaire. Her work is influencing the world. Satellite dishes, for example, came from geo satellites. Many Middle Eastern countries are emerging with people – powered movements, seeking more freedom. This is because of their exposure to more information from satellite dishes and the internet. “All people want freedom of their minds, and if they are shown how (and allowed it), they will fight for it,” Koplovitz said.

Page 1 of my article
Page 1 of my article | Source

Joni Evans

Evans is the founder and CEO of The women on the Web (wowOwow); Director, Dreyfus Strategic Municipal Bond Fund, Inc.; Principal, Joni Evans Ltd.; and Board member of 26 other investment portfolios managed or administered by The Dreyfus corporation. Evans is one of the most prominent figures in publishing and media due to her work at Random House and Simon and Schuster, and her stint as Former Senior Vice President, William Morris Agency.

Turning Fear into an Asset

Evans grew up in a wealthy family and her parents had only one wish for her: to marry well. Thus, Evans said her path to leadership was driven by the fear of not achieving. She wanted to do well for herself, despite having come from a privileged world where men held all the power. Her advice:

  1. Make decisions. Evans says it is better to make a decision – even if it’s a wrong one – than to be held back by fear. In 1976 Evans, then 26, worked with a publishing house and had three bestsellers listed. Despite this, she was earning $17,000 – less than a male co-worker. She asked for a raise, but her boss said she was a single woman, while the male co – worker had a family. Evans decided to look for a new job, and landed one that paid double her salary.
  2. Trust your instincts. Evans has over 100 bestsellers under her belt, which she says she got by trusting her intuition. Writers she has handled include Christopher Byron, Ann Coulter, Marcus Buckingham, Peggy Noonan, James Patterson, Liz Smith, Fannie Flagg, John Stossel and Michael Weisskopf.
  3. Turn fear into strength. As earlier stated, Evans was driven to succeed by fear. One way by which she mastered her fear and turned it into a source of strength was through continuous rehearsal of what she would do or say during meetings or other important events. This was, for her, critical especially during “bad hair days.”

Page 2 of my article
Page 2 of my article | Source

Anne Sutherland Fuchs

Fuchs is group president, Growth Brand Division, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. and chairperson, New York City Commission on Women’s Issues. Fuchs was the first female publisher of a major U.S. magazine, and the first female publisher of Vogue magazine. She launched O (The Oprah Magazine), Elle and Marie Claire. She sits on various boards including Pitney Bowes Inc., Gartner Inc., and The Chairman’s Council of the Whitney Museum Pointers in Leadership:

Lead like a woman

  1. Have a group specifically for innovation. Fuchs noted that many businessmen like to keep company information close to their chests. However, Fuchs works otherwise. She says it’s important to share ideas through a strong, innovative team. This is crucial in getting fresh ideas that are geared towards establishing sales targets and setting financial goals.

Fuchs said the team must be trusted with company information. Each team member should also be nurtured to feel a sense of participation by sharing a commitment to move the company forward.

1. Pivot. In times of crisis, Fuchs said it’s important to reinvent yourself. When you are going through difficult times, ask yourself, “How can we do things differently?” or “How do we drive towards growth?” Look at one or two areas where you are still earning, and focus on them for a start.

2. It’s okay to be a woman. Fuchs said she doesn’t believe that it helps for a woman to act like a man in a male-dominated business environment. Instead, she loves being a woman and dressing like a woman.

Fuchs also loves being a mother, and after she had children, she knew she had to make choices. Her choice was that her two sons would always come “first, second, third, fourth, and fifth.”

One thing a woman can never do in business, however, is cry, Fuchs said, adding, “Women who cry in business are eviscerated.”

Page 3 of my article
Page 3 of my article | Source

Karen Pearse

Pearse is the founder and CEO, Innovative Stone, (among the leading high-profile global suppliers of stones and tiles for homes and businesses).

Pearse was never intimidated by the fact that she only has a high school education. She “learned by doing.” When she was 17, she worked in a clothing store where she managed 50 people. When she was 21, her father’s store, (which sold stone and tiles), burned down. He asked her to help him rebuild it.

Page 4 of my article
Page 4 of my article | Source

She did more than that – she moved the store into high-end commercial supply for leading hotels and buildings in the U.S.; diversified the firm into several companies; and went global. This is her checklist on how you should head a start-up business:

  • Take it slow but sure.
  • Have a clear idea about what you are going to do.
  • Check the resources you have on hand to see if you have everything or if you need to access added resources to carry out your plan.
  • Put your thoughts down on paper, or on a laptop.
  • Brainstorm with others.
  • Solidify your business plan.
  • Get the added resources that you need to get your business started.
  • Network. Use your network as a means to always get feedback from others.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks.
  • Take it slow. Always remember that it is more important to do your business well, than to do it fast. Be thoughtful when you put together your ideas and business plans and gather your resources.
  • Always have a good advisory group that you can call on.

One thing all four women agreed on is, when they were young and in their teens, they never dreamed that they would achieve the success they enjoy today. But they all had one thing in common – from the start, they simply followed their passion. That is where it all begins.

Kay Koplovitz on Her First Negotiation


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    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Lady E,

      How wonderful of you to visit. Glad you liked the article and found some useful information in it:)

    • Lady_E profile image


      3 years ago from London, UK

      Inspiring Thanks and I learnt some Leadership Tips too.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      aesta1, your welcome! Happy to see you here in Hub Pages, and hope to know you better through your articles:)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for introducing me to these women and to excellent tips on how to be like them.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Supuni, how lovely of you to visit. Yes, women are powerful and we can achieve whatever we aim for with passion and hard work and focus. I particularly loved the story of Pearson, who is only a high school graduate, but she is a billionaire.

    • Supuni Fernando profile image

      Supuni Fernando 

      3 years ago from Colombo, Sri Lanka

      I've always admired women who were at the top in business, this whole article proves that women can achieve anything they put their mind into.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Interesting observation, CatherineGiordano:). Yes, when we know the kids are all grown up and we only have to play with the grandkids, it really does free up the stress and can open creativity. But I wish I had my 20-year-old body with my stress free 60 years, hahahahahaha

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      This is very interesting. Women do achieve success differently than men. Women after age 50 often blossom. some say that menopause frees up creative energy. maybe, but the fact that she is freed from child-bearing and child-raising may have something to do with it.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Poetryman 6969, yes, lol, that is an even easier way to do it. However, money can be lost if you marry an unwise billionaire. Better keep an extra billion in your personal savings account just in case, unless debt exceeds your savings:).

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      I still like how John Kerry did it. Marry one!

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Dream On. Actually, Kay Koplovitz and her husband are a good team and she values his support. I don't know if they work together, however. Working with your spouse can be either very good or very bad. I've seen more of the latter, unfortunately. Still, there are many successful family run businesses in the Philippines, usually by the Chinese Filipinos. It might be interesting to study how they do it.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      4 years ago

      I am amazed how people succeed and I am more excited when people share their success. I always learn from my wife and many woman who look at things differently and continue to find a way. I think many men can also learn to benefit and join together to make a new group of billioniares husband and wife teams that work together to achieve their ultimate success. Do you know of any so that I can begin my list ?Have a great night and thanks again for sharing.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you very much, Nell:). Yes, they really are fascinating women. However, you and I and all women hubbers are fabulous women!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      These amazing women are really an inspiration, they make us think about what we could or will do, fascinating reading! nell

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Jackie Lynnly, and thank you for your words of concern regarding the storm:). Here's wishing for great weather all over the world from now onward. It may not be realistic, but still we can all drink to that!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This surely shows there are no limits. Glad you were not hurt and only lost power although I know how inconvenient that can be! ^+

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for the angels, PStraubie:). They are very much welcome

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 years ago from sunny Florida

      It is indeed inspiring to read of such success by women who are determined and willing to do what it takes to make their passion a reality.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Angels are once again on the way to you ps

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Imtii and thanks again for visiting!

    • imtii profile image

      Imtiaz Ahmed 

      4 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      A very good hub. The people who are billionaires they have some secretes that they have applied in there business. I think the best thing is to build up your ideas and techniques about it. I voted up. :) Grand lady

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Devika and I very much appreciate your visit:)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Powerful women and so interesting about each one. I always admire women who can show their strength it makes me feel at ease. Thank you for sharing such an interesting hub.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Olog. Yes, JP II was a great cover and a very nice pope. He accomplished a great deal in his time. I also like the current Pope, Pope Francis. He seems to be very forward thinking.

    • ologsinquito profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Good article. I like that picture of JPII too.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you so much, au fait:), I'm so grateful. And thank you for your concern about my safety over the typhoon. It was strong, if it lasted through the afternoon I think the damage would have been three times as bad, so we were lucky. Have a wonderful day.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      So glad you have survived the typhoon and are back on your feet so to speak! This is an excellent article and very useful and informative. Going to pin it to my 'Exceptional Women' board on Pinterest, voting it up and useful, and sharing it with my followers.

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Homeplace Series. Yes, these women are really amazing and we were so fortunate that they visited the Philippines to talk to Filipina businesswomen. It was an amazing learning experience.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Oh, my! Thank you for sharing these fascinating stories!! The world needs to be paying a lot more attention to these, and many other, incredible women... in every country, including ours! ;-)

    • grand old lady profile imageAUTHOR

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Hi all! Sorry for the late response, but due to typhoon Glenda, we have been without electricity for days. I went online as soon as it came back. It's so good to be back online! Thank you for all your comments.

      Ms. Dora, yes, the stories are inspiring, and Fuchs was the most feminine in the way she dressed and behaved (although all the women were feminine). I liked the fact that she put her children first after she became a mother, too. It's like you can be everything you are as a woman, and be successful, too.

      Hello Billybuc:). Thank you for saying the article is well written and interesting. That means a lot to me.

      Ericdierker, thank you for your kind words, especially for describing the women's stories as thought provoking. I guess it's true, not everyone can be a billionaire, so it's nice to read about some who are.

      Suzettenaples, lol, nothing is wrong with you, I feel exactly the same way. If a billion wants to come my way, I'll take it but I don't have the wherewithal to work so hard for it. And I don't have a businessperson's mindset just like you. We should just have virtual hot chocolate together and spend an afternoon talking pleasantries:).

      PegCole17, I'm glad you were inspired by their stories. If you are young and want to go for the top, then by all means you must! Follow your dream. It's sad that even now, men get higher salaries for doing the same job as women. It's basically wrong. It's good to know that the decision Joni Evans made is an inspiration to you.

      travmaj, yes, Karen Pearse's story was particularly interesting for me, as well, because she was just a high school graduate. I remember that she said she read a lot of self help books and she highly recommended this to others. Many people look down on self help books but if they helped her to become a billionaire so I think that's a good point for self help books.

      Mel Carriere, you are so right. The phrase "Turn your fear into an advantage" is something that all of us could use, whether it is related to our professions or our own personal lives. Thank you for the reminder.

      Quildon, true, I was also surprised that a woman would be inspired by geo satellites. As you said, that's probably why she became a leader.

      FlourishAnyway, thank you for enjoying the article. Yes, the thought of reinventing ourselves, or even just parts of ourselves, is something we could well keep in mind.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      This was such an interesting read. I especially like the recommendation about reinventing yourself. Well done and enjoyed!

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 

      4 years ago from Florida

      Hi Mona,

      Who would have thought a woman would have a passion for geo satellites? But I guess, that's what makes her a leader. She was brave enough to take the risk and go off the beaten path. Great lessons from these powerful women. Voted up and useful.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Turn your fear into advantage - I love that line and I am going to meditate upon its meaning. Interesting hub!

    • travmaj profile image


      4 years ago from australia

      These are four most impressive ladies. I guess it is interesting where life takes us, not many people could imagine themselves as billionaires. And yet they achieved it. In particular Karen Pearse who felt intimidated because she only had the high school education. Amazing transition.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Seeing these women as successful entrepreneurs and business professionals is inspirational to others like myself. Your article was quite inspiring and well written. Also seeing photos of your article was great.

      I can relate to the story by Joni Evans who spoke about making $17k less than her male counterparts. This is not uncommon and most women in business take it (or leave it) with few options. I'm pleased to know that she acted wisely and it turned out well for her.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      I don't know - I must be missing the Type A personality gene. I have no desire to make $1 billion or be the top of my profession. What is the matter with me? I loved being a teacher for thirty years and now I love being retired. I just don't have the motivation to go out and do what these women do. It could be because I have the energy of a slug. LOL!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting and thought provoking, thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A very interesting study of four financially successful women. It is always fascinating to hear their stories. Thank you for a well-written article.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Real inspirational stories for women who are still struggling to find their niche. I especially love Fuch's philosophy that "she doesn’t believe that it helps for a woman to act like a man in a male-dominated business environment." All the stories show that women can succeed as women as well as business leaders. Voted Up!


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