20 Customer-Focused Companies Led by Women
When it comes to customer focus, some of the best companies are run by women.
Research has shown that women-led businesses are more profitable, socially responsible and provide a better customer experience. Companies with women in leadership teams are more open to change and more likely to innovate and challenge the status quo.
It is therefore not surprising that the number of women running successful businesses is increasing. In 2021, a record number of women were leading Fortune 500 companies, including an increasingly diverse group of women.
There is no doubt that female leaders are strong proponents of customer focus and innovation.
In celebration of International Women’s Dayhere are 20 customer-centric companies run by women:
1 . CVS (Karen Lynch, President and CEO)
Karen Lynch took over as CEO of CVS, the world’s largest healthcare provider, in February 2021. She is the Fortune 500’s highest-ranked female CEO and oversaw CVS’ massive vaccine effort. Lynch is transforming CVS from a typical pharmacy to a healthcare center with new store layouts, healthcare partnerships and innovative technology to drive personalization.
2 . Spanx (Sara Blakely, Founder and CEO)
Sara Blakely founded Spanx over 20 years ago and transformed it into a fashion empire focused on empowering and uplifting women. The company encourages customer feedback and offers clear and consistent communication. In 2021, Blakeley sold the majority stake in his company for $1.2 billion. As a celebration and to thank her team, she gave each employee $10,000 and two plane tickets to take a trip anywhere in the world.
3 . Advanced Micro Devices (Lisa Su, President and CEO)
Advanced Micro Devices was on the brink of bankruptcy when Lisa Su became CEO in 2014. She focused on the company’s strengths and innovative technology and transformed AMD to a market capitalization of over $100 billion. in 2021. AMD has a robust user experience program that enables customers to provide regular and direct feedback to improve its products and services.
4 . Citigroup (Jane Fraser, CEO)
When she became CEO of Citigroup in 2021, Jane Fraser became the first woman to lead a major Wall Street bank. She transformed the company by focusing on employee experience and well-being – new initiatives including Zero Zoom Fridays and hybrid work schedules were previously unheard of on Wall Street and improved employee morale and customer service.
5 . UPS (Carol Tomé, CEO)
Carol Tomé came out of retirement to lead UPS in June 2020 at the height of the pandemic and immediately prioritized a vacation logistics plan and COVID vaccine delivery. Tomé’s efforts to cut costs and increase efficiency resulted in UPS inventory doubling in its first few months alone. UPS is focused on end-to-end customer experience with transparent tracking and reliable delivery.
6 . The Honey Pot Company (Beatrice Dixon, Co-Founder and CEO)
Beatrice Dixon founded The Honey Pot Company to provide natural, plant-based feminine products. With improving the lives of women at the center of everything the company does, The Honey Pot Company has grown into a multi-million dollar business with over 30 herbal feminine care products. The company celebrates all types of women and makes it easy to find the eco-friendly products they need.
7 . Gensler (Diane Hoskins, co-CEO)
Gensler is the world’s largest architecture firm and has designed buildings and corporate campuses around the world. Its unique organizational structure encourages collaboration among employees instead of a top-down leadership approach for better creativity and flow of ideas. This unique structure, led by co-CEOs Diane Hoskins and Andy Cohen, helps Gensler innovate to better serve its global customers.
8 . TIAA (Thasunda Brown Duckett, President and CEO)
Thasunda Brown Duckett is one of the few black female CEOs to lead a Fortune 500 company. Throughout her career, she has worked to diversify the pool of talent entering the financial services space to provide clients like-minded employees. This mission is supported by TIAA’s personalization efforts, including real-time data allowing employees to proactively reach out to customers with personalized offers and a robust digital footprint to allow customers to track their investments.
9 . Oracle (Safra Catz, CEO)
Over the past few years, Safra Cruz has intentionally transformed Oracle from a product-centric company to a customer-centric company. She offers personalized service and partnerships to help her clients achieve their goals. Since becoming CEO of the tech giant, Catz has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy of more than 130 companies, which has helped Oracle bring more solutions to its customers.
ten . Rent the Runway (Jennifer Hyman, Co-Founder and CEO)
The pandemic has been devastating for Rent the Runway, which sends designer clothes to customers for a monthly fee. With no events or in-person work, clients didn’t need nice clothes. But Jennifer Hyman has embraced the COVID disruption and used it as a way to connect with customers, listen to their feedback and update the company’s subscription model. Rent the Runway is now back to pre-pandemic levels, almost entirely through word of mouth.
11 . Anthem (Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO)
In the first two years of Gail Boudreaux’s tenure as CEO of one of the largest health insurers in the United States, the company’s stock rose 20%. During the pandemic, Anthem doubled down on its digital services using predictive analytics and augmented reality to serve customers safely and seamlessly. Anthem’s digital assistant provides personalized care and helps clients develop healthy lifestyles.
12 . DIREXYON Technologies (Didem Cataloglu, CEO)
Before becoming CEO in October 2021, Didem Catalogulu was Chief Revenue Officer of DIREXYON Technology. In this role, she established a customer-centric approach that led to double-digit revenue gains. As one of the few female leaders in the energy and infrastructure sector, Cataloglu empowers the company’s sales and marketing teams to serve customers as the company expands globally .
13 . Dick’s Sporting Goods (Lauren Hobart, President and CEO)
Dick’s Sporting Goods has made a quick and efficient pivot to digital services and curbside pickup during the pandemic and has seen incredible growth and innovation with increased demand for outdoor, fitness and sports equipment. The company’s CX efforts are centered around scaling customer data for real-time personalization. Lauren Hobart was appointed CEO in February 2021 and has played a major role in growing the business as CEO and in her other roles.
14 . Clorox (Linda Rendle, CEO)
Linda Rendle became CEO of Clorox in September 2020, just when her company was at the heart of the COVID response. It immediately took on the challenge of supplying the market with enough of its leading Clorox wipes by lining up 10 additional vendors. With increased visibility during the pandemic, Clorox has expanded its CX efforts with chatbots to answer common questions and a robust self-service information library. Putting customers first helps Clorox expand beyond just a product business as Rendle leads the charge to grow Clorox’s broader portfolio.
15 . Good American (Emma Grede, co-founder and CEO)
Co-created by Emma Grede and Khloe Kardashian, Good American focuses on size inclusivity and body positivity. The brand began by creating quality denim suitable for women and sold a record $1 million on its first day. Since then, Good American has expanded to other items. Good American has created new sizes to fit more body types and uses multiple designs to show off its garments on all body types. Good American is also an active supporter of charities that support disadvantaged girls and women.
16 . Modere (Asma Ishaq, CEO)
Clean lifestyle brand DTC Modere is the fastest growing women-owned company, led by CEO Asma Ishaq. Since 2016, its revenue has increased by 1,700%, mainly due to its focus on listening to customers and providing a seamless omnichannel experience. Modere recently opened a physical experience center to showcase its products and get real-time customer feedback.
17 . Gap (Sonia Syngal, CEO)
Sonia Syngal stepped into the role of CEO of Gap in March 2020, just as the pandemic has changed the world of retail. She immediately got to work creating programs to reuse the fabric to make face masks, which ended up contributing 4% of Gap’s sales in the second quarter. Gap also recently revamped its CX strategy to offer a new loyalty program and more substantial omnichannel options, including the ability to buy directly through social media. Gap has many women on its board and management team to represent the customers it serves.
18 . General Motors (Mary Barra, President and CEO)
General Motors overcame the brink of bankruptcy to become a leader in the automotive industry. Mary Barra shattered the glass ceiling when she was named CEO of GM in 2014, making her the first female CEO of a Big Three automaker. Barra transformed the company’s culture to become customer-centric and build customer loyalty. GM is making progress in electric vehicles with a goal of selling exclusively zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
19 . In-N-Out Burger (Lynsi Snyder, President and Owner)
Lynsi Snyder is consistently named one of the best CEOs in the world and has an outstanding 99% approval rating. Family-owned In-N-Out Burger treats its employees like family and is committed to providing fresh, high-quality ingredients. This focus on service and quality creates happy employees and extremely loyal customers. Snyder began working for In-N-Out as a line cook when she was a teenager. She therefore understands all areas of the business and can connect with employees and customers.
20 . Fidelity Investments (Abby Johnson, President and CEO)
Abby Johnson has led innovation in the financial services industry for years, including moving Fidelity Investments to embrace and support cryptocurrencies. The company’s focus on employees, including the Johnson CEO’s 94% approval rating, shifts to personal customer relationships and innovative digital services.
Blake Morgan is a best-selling author and futurist on customer experience, in addition to being the founder of CustomerExperienceCommunity.com.