Tatiana Serafin

Leaders on the Horizon: Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina

Delly Beekman, the incoming president of The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc., recently called the civic leaders among us to action in a guest post. It got me to thinking of the work of civic leaders who have inspired me, in particular the women I have researched for Forbes’ Most Powerful Women in the World list. There are two names that may one day be added to the list depending on how they fare in 2010 elections. I may not share their politics but I am impressed by both.

Margaret (Meg) Whitman is the billionaire business mogul who built Ebay and is now worth $1.3 billion; she cochaired John McCain’s stunted presidential run and hasn’t looked back. She may spend up to $150 million to become cash-strapped California’s new chief in November (even more than Michael Bloomberg spent on winning his third term as New York City mayor). Those millions seem well allocated: a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California indicated Whitman has a lead over likely competitors (she still has to win her Republican primary in June).

Another fellow California tech mogul and McCain supporter, Carleton S. “Carly” Fiorina, is running for U.S. Senate. Fiorina is perhaps better armed for the challenge. The former chief of Hewlett-Packard orchestrated the $19 billion merger of H-P and Compaq against fierce opposition from the H-P founders’ families, led principally by Walter Hewlett, son of H-P founder Bill Hewlett. She is facing similar catcalls in her Senate race, but is aggressively moving forward and recently made headway in the polls. She is also putting out controversial attack ads.(Demon Sheep Ad)

Back in 2003, I wrote a book review of two books about Fiorina stating “she is clearly poised to make history.” I should have said she continues to make history.

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