5 Women Who Blazed Their Own Path to Business Leadership

Your college major can influence your future career — but don’t let it define who you are or limit your options. Throughout your career, you’ll develop new interests, and they may steer you in a whole new direction. At Forté, we encourage women to think beyond their major, because the business world is full of exciting opportunities across industries

As undergrads, these five women weren’t business majors, but their unique career paths led them to find success as business leaders.

Courtney HendricksonCourtney Hendrickson

Courtney graduated from Colby College with a degree in sociology. Today, she is Director of Innovation at Ocean Spray.

“There’s a quote that I love by the late, great Steve Jobs — ‘The journey is the reward.’ I go back to this quote at least weekly because so often we think ahead to our destination or the final goal and blow past the path that brings us there. Don’t be discouraged if people don’t love your idea out of the gate, but don’t fall in love so much that you can’t step away if it’s not the right opportunity for the company. Not everything will be a win — failure is part of any successful journey, so own it!”

Read Courtney’s interview to find out why she made business school part of her career journey.

Carole Brown

Carole earned her undergraduate degree in government at Harvard. Today, she works in finance as Head of PNC’s Asset Management Group.

“There are universal characteristics of good leaders, regardless of their business. Be a good listener and manager, know how to bring out the best in people, pay attention to detail and have the capacity to work hard.”

Read Carole’s interview to see why she values her liberal arts education — and why she decided to earn an MBA instead of a law degree.

Claire Ruud

Claire Ruud majored in art history at Swarthmore. Today, all that art knowledge comes in handy, because she is Director of Curatorial Strategy, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

“I am interested in what I can learn from every single person in the room. I am also willing to be wrong.”

When the financial crisis hit in 2007, Claire realized she could help artists more if she knew how to manage people and money. Read about how an MBA advanced her career.

Celina Min

Celina Min double-majored in history and French at the University of California, Berkeley. She now works as Director of Innovation and Product Development at The Honest Company.

“When you are younger, you get the idea that you must have a linear trajectory. Now I understand that I build my career by being present in the moment and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.”

Learn more about Celina’s journey to The Honest Company, including how a mentor inspired her to get an MBA.

Liz Hanify

Liz Hanify studied English and American Literature as a Harvard undergrad. Today, she is Senior Vice President at Fidelity Capital Markets.

“There are so many different roles and professions that roll up into the ‘business and finance category… With a little more exposure and perspective, more women can find a place within that category.”

Read more about Liz’s career path and why she supports Forté.

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