Laura Berlinsky-Schine

As more and more women enter leadership positions and change the direction of some of the most powerful companies in the world, the very role of leaders—and definition of what being the head of a leadership team means—are evolving.

Each bringing a unique experience, leadership style, and story, these six great women are changing not only their role and that of the business they represent, but also the business landscape and ability for women around the world to move into leadership roles and create their own paths.

1. Sheryl Sandberg

The Chief Operating Officer of Facebook has not only devised the strategy to make the social media giant profitable; she's also the author of Lean In and founder of, a nonprofit that supports women in the workplace.

2. Indra Nooyi

PepsiCo's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer is routinely ranked as one of the most powerful and influential women—and people—in the world by Forbes, Fortune, and Time. Under her leadership, the company has prioritized healthier alternatives for snack foods. Nooyi also intends to create snacks geared toward women.

3. Susan Wojcicki

As CEO of YouTube, Wojcicki raised the company's percentage of women from 24 percent to nearly 30. (For her insights on breaking the glass ceiling of the tech industry, read her excellent Vanity Fair op-ed, How to Break Up the Silicon Valley Boys' Club.) 

4. Melinda Gates

The Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the most powerful—and generous—philanthropists in the world. In occuping one of the Foundation's two top leadership roles, Gates has prioritized education, along with seeking to address global poverty and health.

5. Angela Ahrendts

The senior vice president of retail strategy and online stores at Apple is the highest-paid employee at the tech giant. This hugely successful executive is credited for bringing a personal touch to Apple retail stores everywhere.

6. Mary Barra

Did you know that the Chairman and CEO of General Motors also sits on the board of Disney—the 12th person elected to Disney's board? In her role at GM, she has made important acquisitions, such as the driverless-technology startup Strobe. She has also pushed the company to be more customer centric.