Oprah Winfrey
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images CC

22 American Women Who Are Self-Made Billionaires

View Slideshow
Oprah Winfrey
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images CC

Making It

In honor of National Women's Month, here are self-made American women who have built 10-figure net worths that represent not an inheritance, but the fruits of their labor. Readers will notice that many of the women on this list are immigrants who came to America without even knowing the language. All stated net worths are from Forbes's real-time data that can change daily.


Related: 10 Rights Women Didn’t Have 60 Years Ago

Sara Blakely
Rick Diamond/Getty Images CC

Sara Blakely

Net worth: $1 billion


The founder of Spanx has built an empire out of shapewear that has grown to include leggings, swimwear, and maternity wear and is sold in over 50 countries. Not bad for a former door-to-door fax machine salesperson who started down the path of shapewear after using pantyhose to create a smoothing undergarment to wear under white pants. 


Robyn Jones
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images CC

Robyn Jones

Net worth: $1.1 billion


The co-founder and vice-chair of Goosehead Insurance, Robyn Jones is truly a self-made woman. She and her husband Mark got married right out of high school and she raised their six children while her husband worked as a truck driver to put himself through college. He later went to Harvard Business School. It was Robyn, however, who founded the couple's property and casualty company in 2003. Mark jumped on board after Robyn had the business — which now boasts nearly 1,000 franchises — up and running.


Related: 19 Small Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $1,000

Weili Dai
Weili Dai by RPGMRVL (CC BY-SA)

Weili Dai

Net worth: $1.1 billion


As cool as the name sounds, Marvell Technology doesn't involve superheroes. The semiconductor company that Weili Dai and her husband founded in 1995, however, has made her very rich. Now headquartered in Las Vegas, the couple has amassed an immense real estate and tech portfolio. They also have a built-in global network thanks to China-based family members who are also successful semiconductor entrepreneurs on the other side of the world.


Related: Best and Worst States for Women

Atos Syntel Logo
Atos Syntel Logo by Synkap (None)

Neerja Sethi

Net worth: $1.1 billion


Neerja Sethi founded Syntel in 1980 in Troy, Michigan along with her husband, Bharat Desai. In 2018, the couple sold the IT outsourcing and consulting firm to a French company for $3.4 billion. They started the business with just $2,000 and based it on Tata Consulting Services, one of the earliest IT consulting firms and the company where Neerja Sethi got her start. 


For more fun stories like this, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Peggy and Andrew Cherng
Bob Riha Jr/Getty Images CC

Peggy Cherng

Net worth: $1.1 billion


If you've ever eaten at Panda Express, you've contributed to Peggy Cherng's 10-figure net worth. The co-CEO of the 2,200-location mega-chain left her engineering career to help her husband found the Chinese fast-food brand in 1982. The couple also has major stakes in other restaurant chains as well as the Waldorf-Astoria in Las Vegas.



Safra Catz
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images CC

Safra Catz

Net worth: $1.1 billion


Safra Catz has been the CEO of Oracle since 2014, when she took over for founder Larry Ellison. She made her name shortly after joining the company in 1999 when she became the organizing force behind Oracle's aggressive acquisition strategy. Oracle gobbled up more than 130 companies under her direction in those transformative years.

Katrina Lake
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images CC

Katrina Lake

Net worth: $1.1 billion


The Stitch Fix CEO was rich but didn't break the billionaire mark until 2021, when her stock tripled in value in just three months thanks to the pandemic giving online spending a boost and Stitch Fix pivoting into the stuck-at-home need for athleisure wear. 

Eren Ozmen
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images CC

Eren Ozmen

Net worth: $1.2 billion


An immigrant from Turkey, Eren Ozmen is the majority owner and president of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, a private defense and aerospace company that holds a half-dozen contracts with NASA for the International Space Station. She and her husband, a fellow Turkish immigrant, bought the company in 1994 when it had only 20 employees.


Related: 11 Careers Where Women Are Paid More Than Men

Jayshree Ullal Arista CEO
Jayshree Ullal Arista CEO by Theolive123 (CC BY-SA)

Jayshree Ullal

Net worth: $1.4 billion


Not only has Jayshree Ullal been the CEO of Arista Networks since 2008, but she owns 5% of the computer networking company's stock. Born in India and raised in London, she is now one of America's wealthiest corporate executives. She moved to Arista from Cisco, and Ullal's current and former employers just settled a $400 million legal battle.

Whitney Wolfe Herd
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images CC

Whitney Wolfe Herd

Net worth: $1.8 billion


Co-founder of the women-focused dating app Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd became history's youngest self-made woman billionaire on Feb. 11, when Bumble Inc. went public. She's also the youngest woman ever to take a company public regardless of net worth. She partnered with a Russian billionaire named Andrey Andreev, who also founded Badoo, and today, the two apps are available in most of the world's countries.


Elaine Wynn
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images CC

Elaine Wynn

Net worth: $1.8 billion


Known as the Queen of Las Vegas, Elaine Wynn co-founded Mirage Resorts and Later Wynn Resorts with her ex-husband, Steve Wynn. When the couple divorced, her power waned, but Elaine Wynn bided her time. After Steve Wynn was caught up in a whirlwind of sexual misconduct allegations, he stepped down as CEO of the Wynn empire — and Elaine Wynn made one of the great power moves in Vegas history. She waged war on the company's board, leveraged her ex-husband's vulnerable position, successfully muscled out longtime board members who were loyal to him, and by 2018, established herself as the largest individual shareholder of Wynn Resorts.


Related: Bucket List Casinos Around the World

Sheryl Sandberg
Paul Marotta/Getty Images CC

Sheryl Sandberg

Net worth: $1.8 billion


When Sheryl Sandberg took over as COO of Facebook in 2008, the company had just suffered a $58 million single-year loss. By 2019, it was logging $18.5 billion in profits. Much of that turnaround can be traced to Sandberg's vision of Facebook as a small business advertising platform — a vision that increased ad revenue by 27 percent. 


Related: The Best and Worst States for Women Entrepreneurs

Gail Miller
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images CC

Gail Miller

Net worth: $2.4 billion


Along with her late husband Larry, Gail Miller built a $5.4 billion, 64-location automotive empire out of a single Toyota dealership. She remains the company's chair and owner. The Millers bought the Utah Jazz for $22 million in 1986. In 2020, Gail Miller and her family sold the NBA franchise for $1.66 billion.

Photograph of chemist Alice Schwartz
Photograph of chemist Alice Schwartz by Science History Institute (CC BY-SA)

Alice Schwartz

Net worth: $2.5 billon


Alice Schwartz and her husband David had $750 in savings when they launched Bio-Rad Laboratories in 1952. It now does $2.3 billion in annual revenue on a line of 10,000 clinical diagnostic and life science research products. She helped shepherd the company through its 1966 IPO, its initial 1980 listing on the American Stock Exchange, and its transition to the New York Stock Exchange in 2008. Alice Schwartz has been a widow since 2012 and her son is now CEO.

Oprah Winfrey
Getty Images/ Getty Images CC

Oprah Winfrey

Net worth: $2.6 billion


In the world of billionaire self-made American women, one name rings out louder than all the rest: Oprah. The undisputed queen of daytime talk, Oprah Winfrey rose from suffocating childhood poverty and abuse in rural Mississippi during Jim Crow. She turned her TV show into a brand and her brand into a media empire. She started her own channel, OWN, has a major stake in Weight Watchers, recently reached a programming deal with Apple TV+, and remains not only one of the richest, but one of the most famous, most beloved, and most instantly recognizable women on the planet.


Related: 15 Iconic Business Leaders Inseparable From Their Brand

Gap Store Front
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images CC

Doris Fisher

Net worth: $2.9 billion


After struggling to find jeans that fit her late husband Don, Doris Fisher co-founded the Gap. The couple opened their first store, which sold jeans and records, in 1969 in San Francisco. Doris Fisher worked as the company's merchandiser from the very first day through 2003 and remained a member of the board through 2009.


Related: 17 Ways Women Miss Out on Retirement Savings

SHI International Corp.
Google Maps

Thai Lee

Net worth: $3.2 billion


AT&T and Boeing are just two of the 20,000-strong customer list serviced by IT provider SHI International. Born in Bangkok and raised in South Korea, Thai Lee immigrated to the United States for high school before earning an MBA at Harvard. She and her ex-husband bought the company that would become SHI for less than $1 million in 1989.

Lynda Resnick
Michael Kovac/Getty Images CC

Lynda Resnick

Net worth: $3.6 billion


The Wonderful Co. is famous for its slick, edgy, and star-studded ad campaigns for its Fiji Water, Pom Wonderful, mandarin Halos, and Wonderful Pistachios branded snacks and drinks. Those campaigns—and the $4.6 billion in sales the company does in a year—is largely thanks to the marketing genius of Lynda Resnick, who owns the company with her husband. The couple also own the 135,000 acres of orchards in Mexico, Texas, and California, where the company grows its fruits and nuts.


Related: 11 Things That Cost More for Women

Little Caesars Pizza Franchise III
jetcityimage/istockphoto

Marian Illitch

Net worth: $3.7 billion


Marian Illitch co-founded Little Caesars Pizza with her late husband Mike in 1959. Her husband owned the Detroit Tigers, which is controlled by a family trust, but Marian Illitch owns the Detroit Red Wings as well as the MotorCity Casino Hotel. Mrs. I, as she's called, still owns Little Caesars, which does more than $4 billion in sales every year.

Johnelle Hunt
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images CC

Johnelle Hunt

Net worth: $3.9 billion 


Along with her late husband, Johnelle Hunt founded what would become J.B. Hunt Transport Services after selling their house and taking out loans to launch a rice hull packaging company in 1961. Headquartered in Lowell, Arkansas, her company now does $9.2 billion in sales. Johnelle Hunt remains the largest individual shareholder.

Love's Travel Stop
Love's Travel Stop by Todd Van Hoosear (CC BY-SA)

Judy Love

Net worth: $4.7 billion


With more than 520 locations in more than 40 states, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores is a fixture of the American highway. It all started in 1964 when Judy Love and her husband opened a gas station in Watonga, Okla. The couple expanded, branched out, and ran their company together — Judy kept the books — until she returned to college in 1975. Their children now work for the company, which the couple still controls.


Related: Road Trippers Go Out of Their Way for These 32 Convenience Stores

Meg Whitman
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images CC

Meg Whitman

Net worth: $6.1 billion


Meg Whitman rose to fame when she grew eBay from a $5.7 million molehill in 1998 to an $8 billion mountain a decade later as the company's CEO during that time. Her second act was as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 2011-15, when she oversaw the company's split. Whitman, who used her fortune to bankroll a failed political campaign, currently holds positions on the boards of Dropbox and Procter & Gamble.

CEO and founder of Epic Judy Faulkner
CEO and founder of Epic Judy Faulkner by Brookings Institution (CC BY-NC-ND)

Judy Faulkner

Net worth: $5.5 billion


Judy Faulkner is still the CEO of Epic, a $3.2 billion medical-records software provider that she founded in her basement in 1979. A computer programmer by trade, her company's software supports the records of 250 million patients through partnerships with clients like the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. It has never raised venture capital, it has never made a single acquisition, and it continues to develop all its software in-house.


Related: 10 Ways the Pandemic Is Hurting Women

Diane Hendricks
Diane Hendricks by Panama1968 (CC BY-SA)

Diane Hendricks

Net worth: $8 billion


Diane Hendricks and her late husband, Ken, founded ABC Supply, which is now one of America's largest wholesalers of windows, siding, and roofing products. She oversaw two mega-acquisitions and helped build the company to $11 billion in sales and 780 branch locations. Before she met her then-roofer husband, Hendricks sold custom homes for a builder.