Power Rising: These Are The Women To Watch In 2023

By Maggie McGrath

The metrics we use to determine the annual Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women are simple enough: money, media, impact and spheres of influence. However, reality is far less neat. Like any other resource, power ebbs and flows—just ask Liz Truss, who in September was on our Power Women watch list and by October was out of the running (and her position as Britain’s prime minister).

Often, the timing of that ebb or flow has as much to do with a person making the final list as does their actual position of power. Consider Sanna Marin and Lynn Martin: the heads of Finland and the New York Stock Exchange, respectively, both women were named to their seats of power within mere days of when previous years’ Power Women lists were published. Neither had enough time in power to make those lists at the time, but we did say they were women to watch because their power was rising. And indeed they were: This year, Marin is No. 83 on the 2022 Power Women list, Martin No. 46.

Who will join them on the 2023 Power Women list? Only time can tell, but in the meantime, these are the women whose power is rising—and whom we’ll be watching in 2023:

Élisabeth Borne: In May of 2022, Borne became the second woman in French history to become her country’s prime minister. She was appointed to the role, which is the second most powerful in French government, by President Emmanuel Macron. She previously served as France’s transportation minister, and during her tenure she helped usher in pension reforms for SNCF, the national railroad company.

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Faith Mukutu: In July of 2022, Mukutu was promoted from CFOCFO +1.5% to CEO of Zambeef, the largest processor of beef in Zambia and one of the biggest agriculture businesses in central Africa. As chief executive of the company, she oversees an expansive row-cropping operation—Zambeef grows maize, soybeans and wheat for its animal feed and flour milling businesses—and has been charged with expanding Zambeef’s overall footprint in Africa.

Marta Ortega: Retail conglomerate Inditex named Ortega its chair in December 2021, and Ortega officially assumed the role in the spring of 2022. She is the daughter of the company’s cofounder, Amancio Ortega, and had long been considered next in line to take the Inditex reins. She takes over at a moment marked with persistent supply chain issues and consumer sensitivity to price inflation. She is in charge of overseeing the growth of influential retail brands including Zara, Massimo Dutti and more.

Iman Abuzeid: Cofounder and CEO of nursing staffing startup Incredible Health, Abuzeid led her company to an $80 million Series B in August that valued the startup at $1.65 billion. The raise put her in rarefied air: She is one of only a handful of Black female founders to run a company valued at more than a billion dollars. “I hope that I’m a proof point to everyone who says that it can’t be done,” she told Forbes at the time of the raise.

The women in sports who are having a moment: In November, the Miami Marlins promoted Caroline O’Connor to president of its business operations, making it the only team in Major League Baseball to have two women in the top two management spots (Kim Ng, the general manager, was appointed to her position in 2020). In early December, the Milwaukee Brewers appointed Marti Wronski as its chief operating officer and the only female COO in the whole of MLB. Outside of baseball, Jeanie Buss is the president and controlling owner of the LA Lakers and the owner of Women of Wrestling, an all-female wrestling organization that made its debut in September. “It was important to me to invest in women’s sports,” Buss said at the time. “And these are my personal funds; this isn’t a Laker project.”

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Women in sports aren’t the only ones taking on more powerful roles: women in entertainment are increasingly taking their own seats of power. Consider Michelle Jubelirer, who in late 2021 was promoted to Chair and CEO of Capitol Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group. She’s the first woman to hold the role in the label’s 80-year history. Or Pam Abdy, who in June became the co-chair and co-CEO of Warner Brothers Pictures Group, which distributes nearly two dozen films a year. And in late September, Alisa Bowen was promoted from her job running Disney streaming to be the president of Disney+.

Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon: Dixon has worked as a teacher, a founder and advisor to budding entrepreneurs. In the spring of 2022, she was appointed as the CEO of All Raise, the nonprofit dedicated to diversifying the technology industry and getting more money into the hands of female-identifying founders. “My goal is to help historically underrepresented, underestimated, underfunded, under-resourced, under-mentored founders,” Dixon told Forbes in May.

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