Successful Women Outside the Boardroom

We too often equate wildly successful women with business acumen. In fact, there are many successful women outside the boardroom who have great success stories who are not part of the world of business.

Here are just a very few women who are -- and have made -- a difference in the world for themselves and more importantly, for others. These are wildly successful women:

Melinda Gates-and her husband, Bill Gates co-founded what was later to become the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She restructured the organization in 2006. In 2012 she pledged $560 million toward improving access to contraception for women in poor countries.

Anne Firth Murray, Frances Kissling and Laura Lederer founded The Global Fund for Women in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1986. Frustrated by traditional philanthropy's lack of interest in funding women's groups and human rights they created a fund for women-led organizations directly.

Barbara Dobkin-Barbara doesn't focus on how much money people give to charity. Her problem is that many donors are focusing on the wrong outcomes. "We need to get to the core of the issues and fund solutions, not just attack the problems."

Alice Hamilton, M.D., founder of industrial toxicology. She is the first woman professor at Harvard University and identified poisons in the workplace. She brought attention to lead poisoning as a health hazard.

Maya Lin-Artist and architect. When Maya was just 21 and an undergraduate at Yale she entered, and won, the competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. At first it was controversial, but now one of the capital's most visited monuments.

Julia Morgan-Architect. She designed Hearst Castle, among other imaginative buildings, and opened doors by hiring women as artists and architects.

Rosalind Franklin-scientist, helped understand DNA. Her at work in a London laboratory was significant in the contribution to the understanding of the DNA structure. Only now has she been acknowledged, but at the time did not receive full recognition. Her photographs of the double helix were used by scientists Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins, who were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on the DNA model.

Women all over the world make contributions every day to make the world a better place for us all. It takes courage and strength to go against the tide, to take a stand and believe in yourself. Not everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder, and aren't we better for it.