CFO is an executive position in the world of finance. Disregard diversity (male and female), not so many people are qualified enough to reach the top position. Sure there is always a CFO for every single enterprise listed in the Fortune 500, but although women make up 56% of undergraduate accounting major, they fill not more than 9% of CFO roles at the list as it is mentioned at CFO.com.

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You know what? Personally I am amazed to know that there are at least 45 female CFOs in the list. And 10 of those super women are CFOs of large, yet famous enterprises. They must have a super-strong accounting and finance knowledge to reach the precious position. When I look at myself, I am only able to manage myself until a controller position before deciding to develop and run my own businesses.

So, who are those strong female CFO? You asked. Here they are:

Chevron, CFO: Patricia E. Yarrington
Hewlett-Packard, CFO: Cathie Lesjak
Marathon Oil, CFO: Janet F. Clark
Home Depot, CFO: Carol B. Tome
SuperValu, CFO: Sherry M. Smith
Morgan Stanley, CFO: Ruth Porat
TIAA-CREF, CFO: Gina Wilson
Oracle, CFO: Safra A. Catz
Macy’s, CFO: Karen M. Hoguet
AMR, CFO: Isabella D. Goren
Freeport-McMoRan Cooper & Gold, CFO: Kathleen L. Quirk
Time Warner Cable. CFO: Irene M. Esteves
United Services Automobile Assn, CFO: Kristi Ann Matus
United States Steel, CFO: Gretchen R. Haggerty
AES, CFO: Victoria Harker
Gap, CFO: Sabrina Simmons
Duke Energy, CFO: Lynn J. Good
Public Services Enterprise Group, CFO: Caroline Dorsa
Southwest Airline, CFO: Laura H. Wright
ITT, CFO: Denise L. Ramos
Mars & Mclenna, CFO: Vanessa A. Wittman
Avon Products, CFO: Kimberly Ross
KBR, CFO: Sue Carter
Whole Foods Market, CFO: Glenda Jane Flanagan
BlackRock, CFO: Ann Marie Petach
Aon, CFO: Christa Davies
Kinder Morgan, CFO:  Kimberley Allen Dang
Gilead Sciences, CFO: Robin L. Washington
Hertz Global Holdings, CFO: Elyse Douglas
Hormel Foods, CFO: Jody H. Feragen
Eastman Kodak, CFO: Antoinette P. McCorvey
Weyerhaeuser, CFO: Patricia M. Bedient
Reliance Steel & Aluminium, CFO: Karla R. Lewis
Steel dynamics, CFO: Theresa Wagler
Precision Castparts, CFO: Shawn R. Hagel
MasterCard, CFO: Martina Hund-Mejean
Core-Mark Holding, CFO: Stacy Loretz-Congdon
Live Nation Entertainment, CFO: Kathy Willard
Polo Ralph Lauren, CFO: Tracey T. Travis
Kelly Services, CFO: Patricia Little
Erie Insurance Group, CFO: Marcia A. Dall
United Stationers, CFO: Victoria J. Reich
SanDisk, CFO: Judy Bruner
Insight Enterprises, CFO: Glynis Bryan
Cliffs Natural Resources, CFO: laurie Brlas

As you can see, 45 female CFOs! And ten of them are CFOs of large enterprises. This clearly send a message that, even if you are female, you have the chance to reach the top, as long as you follow the right path to go there.

So how o get there? You may wonder.  There are 2 ways to go:

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1. Get a mentor

Get an executive to learn on. Even recent studies suggest that “mentorship programs are not particularly effective for women”, getting a mentor is always good for starter. If you are one, get a mentor from the finance area.

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2. Get a senior executive sponsor

If you are in higher level (manager, chief or even controller, you better go with sponsorships, according to Katherine Giscombe (Catalyst’s VP).

A survey conducted by Catalyst in the 2008 shows that men were promoted more often after they were mentored. In a 2010 follow-up survey, Catalyst found that of the employees with mentors, 72% of men had been promoted two years later, compared with 65% of women.

Sometimes, sponsorship can simply a kind of informal advocacy, says Valarie Sheppard, comptroller at Procter & Gamble.

At State Street, 12 female executives launched the Leading Women program, which is open to women whose managers recommend them. Each woman in the program is paired with a female executive who will mentor her over a year and study her strengths. This long-term mentoring period allows executives to get to know their mentees well enough to advocate for them, Alison Quirk (Head of HR at State Street Corp.) says. By networking through their mentors, these women also have the opportunity to meet other executives who could mentor or sponsor them in the future. (Source: CFO.com)