& Gamble, she made the decision to pursue her passion for numbers and enrolled in the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania to acquire a degree in finance and entrepreneurial management. In a male-dominated industry, Pickrum takes the no-holds-barred approach. “My personal style is to always try to be the best, which means exceeding the expectations. My style is focused on driving results, which is gender neutral,” she says. Outside the company she serves on the board of directors for Rollover Systems and CW Wellspring Entertainment. — Hyacinth B. Carbon
MARY A. WINSTON Executive VP & CFO Scholastic Corp. New York, NY. Age: 43
Clout: A financial wizard and 20-plus year industry veteran, Winston has had an impressive rise to her current position as CFO of Scholastic, publisher of the popular Harry Potter and Babysitter’s Club book series. Before joining Scholastic, Winston served as vice president and treasurer, and then vice president and controller, of Visteon Corp. Since she’s been with Scholastic, Winston has guided the company’s strategy to improve capital allocation, cash flow, and overall financial performance. In its 2005 fiscal year, Scholastic’s revenues were more than $2 billion, with an 11.2% increase in net income from the previous year.
JACQUELINE WOODS VP, Global Practices Oracle Corp. Redwood Shores, CA. Age: 43
Clout: Woods is a multimillion-dollar negotiator. Under her leadership, Oracle became the first major software company to publish comprehensive guidelines on its global software pricing and licensing via its Software Investment Guide. Woods drove Oracle’s e-business standardization initiative, yielding a savings of $1 billion over three years. She is also chairwoman of the company’s pricing committee for its global lines of businesses. Prior to joining Oracle, Woods was director of product management for Ameritech’s Customer Premise Equipment business, where she managed the P&L for a product portfolio valued at more than $600 million.
DEBORAH C. WRIGHT Chairwoman & CEO Carver Bancorp Inc. New York, NY. Age: 47
Clout: In 1999, Wright was advised not to accept the position of CEO and president of Carver Federal Savings Bank (No. 1 on the BE BANKS list with $616.4 million in assets), which was in danger of closing. After a few months in the seat, she says she understood the concerns of her advisers. Today she is chairwoman and CEO of the bank’s holding company, which has grown to include eight branches and 137 employees. With larger institutions aggressively consolidating, Wright’s strategy is to focus on servicing, educating, and building in developing black communities. She says, “Other banks focus all over the world. Our focus is right here at home.”
GWENDOLYN SYKES Chief Financial Officer NASA Washington, DC. Age: 40
Clout: President George W. Bush challenged NASA with a new mission: Visit Mars and journey farther into the final frontier. But before anyone can go where no man has gone before, CFO Sykes must approve it. “There are going to be a lot of financial challenges, a lot of dialogue with regards to the cost,” says Sykes. “Therefore, the CFO is definitely there at the