While there are many female business executives today, none are more influential than Laurene Powell Jobs. The widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Laurene is one of the best-educated and highly-motivated executives in today’s workplace. Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a MBA from Stanford, Laurene prepared herself quite well to take on the tasks associated not only with her philanthropic work, but also the many political causes that Politico has documented her with being heavily involved.
Ranked by Forbes during 2014 as the 29th most powerful woman in the world, Laurene has carved out quite a niche for herself apart from Apple. Currently she spends much of her time working with the Emerson Collective, an organization she founded to advocate for various causes such as environmental issues, immigration reform, education and other social justice concerns. However, while she spends much of her time working with the Emerson Collective, it is her other organization that has gained national and international acclaim for its effectiveness. College Track, founded in 1997 by Laurene and partner Carlos Watson, is a nonprofit organization located in California that aims to work with at-risk and other students known for being “underserved.” The goal of the organization is to improve levels of high school graduation within these populations, then encourage graduates to enroll in college and graduate in a reasonable amount of time.
Based on the results of the program thus far, Laurene and everyone else involved in the program have much to be proud of. With most of College Track’s students being first-generation students at colleges and universities, the program’s rate of success has been nothing short of spectacular. As the national average of graduation for first-generation students stays around 25 percent, those enrolled in College Track are leaving these figures in their rear-view mirror. Current statistics from the organization show that 90 percent of the program’s participants wind up attending four-year colleges, with an astounding 70 percent of them graduating within six years.
While College Track has facilities in many California cities including Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco there are at least five others across the country wanting to open their own College Track programs. However, Laurene and her staff are committed to keeping the integrity of College Track as high as possible, and so far have resisted efforts that would lead to them offering franchises or letting others have direct access to their curriculum and training materials.
When it comes to philanthropy, Laurene also leads the way. With her participation in backing many important social causes, Laurene is not afraid to step out from the crowd and let her voice be heard on many issues. Through the Emerson Collective, various grants and investments have been distributed to entrepreneurs whose businesses focus primarily on conservation, education and foreign relations.
As the world continues to have many important issues vying for attention, Laurene Powell Jobs will take center stage to be a strong advocate for many of them. As she continues her important work for these causes, it’s clear she is determined to see the world become a better place for everyone.