Every year, Fortune rolls out its famed Businessperson of the Year list. Comprised of individuals who meet a number of financial metrics — including profit increases, revenue, stock performance, and shareholder returns — the Businesspeople of the Year are deemed to be the standout CEOs in a sea of "so-so" counterparts. And this year, for the first time ever, a woman has come in at number one.
Tricia Griffith is the CEO of Progressive Corporation, one of the largest car insurance providers in the United States. Based out of Ohio, Griffith was appointed as president and CEO of Progressive in July 2017, though she first joined the company as a claims representative in 1988. During her time as CEO of Progressive, the company has seen intense growth, something that Fortune notes is remarkable considering the relatively stable industry.
According to Fortune, under Griffith's guidance, Progressive’s one-year and annualized three-year sales growth rates have surpassed those of both Microsoft and Apple. Additionally, Progressive insurer's stock is up 50% in the last year, and profits have doubled.
And it isn't just the numbers that speak to Griffith's capacity as a leader. Fortune writes that Griffith's colleagues say she is outstanding when it comes to fostering teamwork and creating connections throughout the company. Having previously worked as a entry-level employee for Progressive, Griffith says she understands how to cultivate relationships between different levels of the company.
Evidently, Griffith's attitude is just as important as her business acumen when it comes to being a remarkable leader. After a rigorous review of leaders of the largest public companies in the world, Griffith has come out on top among 19 other leading CEOS — six of whom were women.
And, at a time when female leaders are making slow gains in the business world — the number of female Fortune 500 CEOs declined by 25% this year — Griffith is not only making history, she is setting an example for future generations of women business leaders. “Focus on the job you’re doing now,” Griffith advises aspiring CEOs. “You will get noticed.”