11 Successful Ladies Who Were Once Interns
12:00 pm, June 12th | by
Thinking about sending your summer intern out for another coffee run in the pouring rain? Proceed with caution. While she might be at the bottom of the corporate ladder now, she could easily become a really big power player someday. Are you the one being shipped out for the office’s daily caffè lattes or stuck correlating file after file for eight hours? Have faith, intern — you’re on the up and up! From international superstars to Fortune 500 CEOs, these eleven ladies prove that everyone’s gotta start somewhere and even the humblest beginnings (coffee-fetcher, file-filer, free labor) can lead to a pretty sweet spot at the top.
1.Oprah Winfrey, TV host and Chairwoman/CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network and Harpo Productions
interned at Nashville CBS affiliate WLAC-TV while studying at Tennessee State University in the early 1970s. She was eventually brought on as a full-time reporter and became the first-ever female African-American news anchor on the show.
2.Stella McCartney, Fashion Designer
The animal-friendly fashion designer and daughter of Paul McCartney took
an apprenticeship with Christian Lacroix when she was just sixteen-years-old. She later worked with a Savile Row tailor in London before becoming the designer of French fashion house Chloe.
3.Betsey Johnson, Fashion Designer
interned at Mademoiselle magazine's fabric library after graduating from Syracuse University in 1964. She sent a thank-you note to the magazine's editor-in-chief Betsey Blackwell with a shoe drawn on it after the internship's completion. "The next day, [Blackwell] goes to the art director and says, 'Betsey can draw!'" Johnson said. " Mademoiselle then started giving me a lot of freelance artwork to do. That's how I really started to like fashion."
4.Jodie Foster, Actress
Foster was already a celebrity before her
summer internship at Esquire in 1982. She primarily did office work and left after she realized the 9-to-5 workday wasn't for her.
5.Sylvia Plath, Poet and Novelist
interned at Mademoiselle magazine in 1953 while studying at Smith College. She moved to NYC for a month for the position and used this experience as inspiration for her most famous publication . The Bell Jar
6.Andrea Jung, Executive Chairperson of Avon Products
While studying at Princeton University, Jung completed a
summer internship at Bloomingdale’s. Ironically, she later became Executive Vice President of Neiman Marcus, one of Bloomingdale's direct competitors. She was CEO of Avon Products from 1999 - 2012 and currently serves as the company's Executive Chairperson.
7.Brooke Shields, Model and Actress
Shields completed an
internship at the San Diego Zoo before heading to Princeton to study French. The seventeen-year-old was already a star when she began work at the zoo; when a reporter asked if she was worried about an animal scratching up her "million-dollar face," she said she wasn't concerned because "if they're going to scratch you, they're going to scratch your hands."
8.Virginia Rometty, CEO of IBM
After graduating from Northwestern University, Rometty scored
an internship with General Motors in Detroit. She met her husband there and went on to become the first female head of IBM in January 2012.
9.Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
While studying at Yale, Nooyi held a
summer internship with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. She was named president and CFO of PepsiCo's in 2001, and is now CEO and Chairperson. Fortune magazine ranked Nooyi first in its annual list of the Most Powerful Women in Business every year from 2006 - 2010.
10.Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!
research internships at Stanford and Union Bank of Switzerland’s lab in Zurich, Mayer received an incredible fourteen job offers straight out of grad school. She became CEO of Yahoo! in July 2012, following many years as an executive at Google.
11.Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox
started out at Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern while studying at NYU. Twenty-nine years later, she became CEO of the company. She is the first African-American woman to ever head a Fortune 500 company and Forbes rated her the fourteenth most powerful woman in the world in 2009.