Winner: Laura Alber, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
The California company with the largest share of women in top jobs isn’t a Silicon Valley tech firm or an L.A. entertainment giant. It’s Williams-Sonoma Inc. According to this year's UC Davis study of California women business leaders, 57 percent of the top jobs at Williams-Sonoma are held by women. That’s the highest percentage reported by a company in the 11 years that the university has been conducting the study. CEO Laura Alber played a large part in bringing the company to the such a vaulted level of diversity by fostering an empowering culture that encourages associates to take ownership of their careers.
For Alber, the best business decisions have been made when everyone engages in lively debate. As a result of her entrepreneurial spirit and encouragement of others, Alber was recognized of Businessperson of the Year by Fortune Magazine, coming in at #34 on the list of 50. The magazine celebrated the company’s emerging e-commerce success and strong stock performance since Laura was named CEO in 2010, as well as new initiatives she introduced last year to boot sales. On top of this, Alber was named the Most Admired CEO of the Year in the growth leadership category by San Francisco Business Times.