Looking to be customer-centric? It pays to have a female leader.
Companies with female CEOs aren’t just more profitable—they also tend to lead in customer experience.
Women thrive in customer-centric roles. Although women are still underrepresented in leadership positions, tides are changing to include more women in the C-suite. And that ripple effect empowers female employees to engage in future leadership roles.
But many senior-level women are calling it quits, including YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Women leaders are leaving their organizations at the highest rate ever, which only widens the gap between men and women in senior roles. The impact of women leaving the C-Suite could be felt for decades.
We need women in leadership roles more than ever before. But it’s also challenging to find that balance between leading a company and fulfilling other passions. In celebration of International Women’s Day and following up on a list I created last year, here are 20 more customer-centric companies led by women:
1. Guild Education (Rachel Romer, Co-founder and CEO)
Rachel Romer founded Guild Education to address a major concern for businesses: America doesn’t have enough skilled workers. Guild partners with companies to create benefits programs that enable employees to get college degrees for free. The incredible innovation, paired with empathy and strong relationships, has shown the value of Guild Education and made the company worth more than $4 billion.
2. Progressive Insurance (Tricia Griffith, President and CEO)
Since becoming CEO in 2016, Tricia Griffith has more than quadrupled the company’s stock price. The reason? Her focus on customers and innovation. While other companies are cutting costs, Tricia invests in things that make the experience easier for customers, especially Progressive’s leading digital solutions.
3. KT Tape (Jessica Klodnicki, CEO)
Jessica Klodnicki is the marketing guru behind major brands like Bell Bike Helmets and Skullcandy. As the new CEO of sports tape company KT Tape, Jessica is endeavoring on a major customer-first rebranding to make the brand more accessible. Jessica is bringing KT Tape to everyday athletes by listening to feedback and building customer relationships.
4. Canva (Melanie Perkins, Co-founder and CEO)
85% of Fortune 500 companies use Canva for graphic design, but the platform appeals to everyone from students to entrepreneurs and executives. Canva makes it simple for anyone to create professional graphic design and features a massive library of templates. In just six years, the company has grown to $1 billion, with Melanie Perkins as one of the youngest female tech CEOs in the world.
5. Rosewood Hotel Group (Sonia Cheng, CEO)
Over the last decade as CEO, Sonia Cheng has led an incredible transformation to modernize and expand Rosewood Hotel Group. By redefining luxury, she aims to appeal to a new generation of travelers. Each Rosewood property reflects the local culture and history and covers every possible detail a customer could need. The company’s growth is impressive, with 41 current properties and another 31 in development.
6. Build-a-Bear Workshop (Sharon Price John, President and CEO)
A champion for customer centricity within her brand, Sharon Price John is taking Build-a-Bear’s iconic in-store experience to digital customers by prioritizing relationships, creativity, and memories. Every decision she makes focuses on being brand-building, customer-centric, and data-driven. And it’s working—Build-a-Bear’s stock price has increased dramatically from its pre-pandemic highs.
7. Policygenius (Jennifer Fitzgerald, Co-founder and CEO)
Jennifer Fitzgerald co-founded Policygenius to help customers navigate the confusing world of insurance. By simplifying the process into easily comparable quotes, consumers can make the right decision for their budget and lifestyle. Fitzgerald stays connected to her young demographic with honest and quirky messaging and recently expanded into home and auto insurance.
8. Babbel (Julie Hansen, CRO and US CEO)
Julie Hansen has the unique combined role of Chief Revenue Officer and US CEO at Babbel, the top global destination for language learning. Staying close to customers and staying ahead of market trends has allowed Julie to double down on in-demand products, such as B2B language training for corporate clients and travel-specific language learning through partnerships with major travel brands.
9. Accenture (Julie Sweet, Chair and CEO)
In her three years as CEO of Accenture, Julie Sweet has made huge strides for gender equality. Half of the company’s board is women, and women now make up half of Accenture’s new hires. But it’s not just equality for equality’s sake—the move has also increased the company’s revenue. Sweet also champions data and technology to provide customers with up-to-date information and the best tools to grow their businesses.
10. Walgreens (Rosalind Brewer, CEO)
As just one of two Black female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Rosalind Brewer is a trailblazer. She also isn’t afraid to make bold moves. With traditional drugstore growth stalling, Rosalind is shifting the company’s focus toward creating medical clinics that make care more accessible to customers. The change streamlines care for customers and empowers employees to better serve patients.
11. Zola (Shan-Lyn Ma, Co-founder and CEO)
Shan-Lyn Ma created Zola to simplify the wedding planning process. When customers began canceling their weddings during the pandemic, Zola quickly released features like free change the dates and wedding live streams to guide couples through uncertain times. And even though revenue dipped during the pandemic, NPS soared to record levels and helped Zola recover.
12. Celebrity Cruises (Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO)
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo is a champion for equality, including hiring the first American woman to captain a cruise ship and the first female officer team. Her innovation and customer focus helped Celebrity Cruises survive the pandemic and maintain its spot as one of the customer-favorite cruise lines in the world.
13. Maven (Kate Ryder, Founder and CEO)
Kate Ryder founded Maven as the first virtual clinic dedicated to women’s and family health. It fills an incredible need by connecting women with a network of virtual doctors tailored to their exact needs. Within minutes, patients can connect with a wide range of healthcare professionals—all on a secure platform. Maven’s care advocates help patients navigate their benefits and healthcare to get the care they need.
14. Lumen Technologies (Kate Johnson, CEO)
Since becoming CEO of Lumen Technologies in late 2022, Kate Johnson has been on a mission to put customers first by ensuring the company is laser-focused on solving problems customers actually want solved. The changing telecom industry isn’t typically known for a strong customer focus, but Kate is changing that by creating a culture that obsesses over customers.
15. Williams-Sonoma (Laura Alber, CEO)
Customer favorite home and kitchen store Williams-Sonoma is known for its sensory-rich in-store experience. CEO Laura Alber has successfully guided the company through a digital transformation without losing the heart of its in-store experience. Alber has moved 70% of Williams-Sonoma’s DTC business online to deliver a strong e-commerce experience without sacrificing the brand’s root identity and customer loyalty.
16. The Hershey Company (Michele Buck, CEO)
Michele Buck became Hershey’s first female CEO in 2017 and has made the company one of America’s most female-friendly organizations. Buck’s five-year plan is to make Hershey more diverse and inclusive, including closing the pay gap and increasing its female workforce to 50% of all employees by 2025. Hershey also leverages real-time data to stay connected to customers and provide service and comfort when customers need it most.
17. Duke Energy (Lynn Good, CEO)
Lynn Good is moving Duke Energy, one of the country’s largest energy companies, to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Lynn has led the charge to buck industry trends and focus on serving customers and communities and prioritize a cleaner, smarter energy future.
18. Sunrun (Mary Powell, CEO)
Mary Powell is a vocal advocate for clean home-based energy and stays ahead of technology advancements and industry trends to provide innovative solar products that serve customers and help the environment. Sunrun aims to make solar accessible, affordable, and reliable for families and saves low-income families $100 million a year in energy costs.
19. Otis Worldwide (Judy Marks, Chair, President and CEO)
Millions of people use Otis’ elevators, escalators, and moving walkways every day. Judy Marks has built a culture that recognizes and celebrates each customer by providing safe and innovative products and excellent customer service. She has made incredible strides in hiring more women to create a workforce that represents its diverse customers.
20. Best Buy (Corie Barry, CEO)
Over the last four years as CEO, Corie Barry has driven a customer-centric culture at Best Buy by prioritizing feedback and creating convenient solutions for customers, like curbside and in-store pickup and a wide variety of online options. Since announcing Best Buy’s innovative virtual store pilot, customer satisfaction has increased by 20%. Corie has also led Best Buy to take a stand on social justice issues.