• Laurene Powell Jobs is the wife of late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
• She has become a powerful investor and has a net worth of $20.7 billion, according to Forbes.
• Some of her projects range from environmental committees to acquiring a majority stake in an influential US magazine.
Laurene Powell Jobs has become an influential and formidable presence in the investing world.
And she ranks among the richest women in the world, with a net worth of $20.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Upon her husband’s death in 2011, Powell Jobs inherited his fortune – primarily shares of Apple and Disney.
Here’s a look at the life of the businesswoman and philanthropist:
Laurene Powell Jobs was born in West Milford, New Jersey in 1963. Her father, a pilot, died in a plane collision when she was 3 years old, and her mother later remarried.
- Steve Jennings / Stringer / Getty Images
After double-majoring in political science and economics at the University of Pennsylvania, Powell Jobs worked on Wall Street for Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs before heading west to earn her MBA at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in 1989.
- Steve Castillo/Wikimedia Commons
Jobs briefly sat next to her during a lecture, before getting up to address the room as the guest speaker. Still thinking of her afterward, he asked her Powell out in the parking lot. She said yes to dinner, and they were together from then on.
- Diana Walker / Contour by Getty Images
They married in March of 1991 at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. The couple had three children: Reed, Erin, and Eve.
- Thomson Reuters
When Jobs died from cancer in 2011, his wife inherited his wealth — including 5.5 million shares of Apple stock and a 7.3% stake in The Walt Disney Company — making her a billionaire.
- Reuters/Gus Ruelas
Her stake in Disney initially made her the company’s largest individual shareholder, but as of 2017 she has reduced her stake by half, according to Variety.
Powell Jobs has had a strong focus on philanthropy. “In the broadest sense, we want to use our knowledge and our network and our relationships to try to effect the greatest amount of good,” she told The New York Times in 2013.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Source: The New York Times
In the early ’90s, she cofounded Terravera, a natural-food company aimed at developing organic raw materials, such as legumes and grains, for the food and feed industries. She later backed off from Terravera to spend more time tutoring and raising her growing family.
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In 1997, Powell Jobs founded College Track, a storefront nonprofit organization that helps prepare low-income students for college through tutoring and mentoring. College Track has expanded to eight locations across California, Colorado, and Louisiana.
- College Track/Facebook
Source: College Track
In the early 2000s, Powell Jobs started Emerson Collective — named after Ralph Waldo Emerson — an organization that makes grants and investments that focus on immigration, social justice, and education. A private company rather than a traditional nonprofit, Emerson Collective has funded startups like AltSchool, a VC-backed school that aims to transform education by personalizing student instruction with technology.
- Melia Robinson/Business Insider
Last September, Powell Jobs pledged $50 million via Emerson to fund XQ: The Super School Project, a venture that aims to reform education from the inside out by revamping how high schools approach curriculum. She is the chairwoman of XQ’s board of directors.
- Getty Images/Angela Weiss
Source: The New York Times
Powell Jobs has served on the board of several organizations, including Teach for America, Conservation International, and the New America Foundation. She’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University’s board of trustees.
- Via Flickr
Along with Michael Bloomberg and Ray Dalio, Powell Jobs is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council.
- Larry Downing/Reuters
Source: Climate Leadership Council
She’s also made a move into the sports world, buying a stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards, the Washington Capitals, and the Capital One Arena.
Powell Jobs and Emerson Collective had partnered up with writer Leon Wieseltier to form a new magazine called Idea. She scrapped the venture when Wieseltier’s former colleagues at the New Republic came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against him in October.
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On July 28, 2017, Emerson Collective acquired a majority stake in The Atlantic. Powell Jobs released a statement commending the magazine for its drive to “bring about equality for all people; to illuminate and defend the American idea; to celebrate American culture and literature; and to cover our marvelous, and sometimes messy, democratic experiment.”
- Stephen Lam/Reuters