Beyoncé, Viola Davis + More Make Up The '50 Most Powerful Moms of 2017'

Beyoncé, Viola Davis + More Make Up The '50 Most Powerful Moms of 2017'

Beyoncé, Viola Davis + More Make Up The '50 Most Powerful Moms of 2017'

Artwork courtesy of Twitter.

Aren’t all working moms powerful? Why yes, we are. Balancing the demands of career and family is a challenge that isn’t for the faint of heart. Often, it calls for merciless multitasking, artful prioritizing and justified juggling. The most rewarding part of cultivating our yearly Most Powerful Working Moms list is the opportunity it gives us all to learn about how notable influencers—movers and shakers from a wide variety of personal and professional backgrounds—manage to get it all done. Also, we are endlessly inspired by how they pay their good fortune forward and motivate their fellow working moms to keep climbing. We hope you’ll agree this year’s crop of 50 women (with kids 21 and under) are leaders in their respective industries, doing what they can to make the world a better place—and proving the juggle is real. — Words by Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Beyoncé, Viola Davis + More Make Up The '50 Most Powerful Moms of 2017'

Photo of Amal Clooney courtesy of Just Jared.

5. Amal Clooney

Profession: Human Rights Attorney
Children: Expecting Twins in June

This soon-to-be powerful working mom makes our list not because she’s married to gorgeous George Clooney, but because she’s one of the most powerful human rights attorneys in the world. Amal Clooney knows first-hand what it’s like to be a refugee, as her parents fled war-torn Lebanon for Europe in the early 1980s. Earning law degrees from Oxford and NYU, she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (then a former federal appeals judge). Fluent in Arabic and French, Amal takes on crimes against humanity, representing the country of Armenia in its fight for recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and she went on CNN to defend Yazidi (a religion that combines Zoroastrianism with Islam, Christianity and Judaism) women used as sex slaves by ISIS, demanding that ISIS members be tried for war crimes. She even offered to take on the war crimes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. We can’t wait to see how she mediates motherhood. — Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Watch Adele Perform A Gorgeous Set Live At Radio City Music Hall

Photo courtesy of Radio City Music Hall.

4. Adele

Profession: Singer-Songwriter
Children: Angelo, 4

One can’t possibly imagine a mantle large enough to shelve all of Adele’s awards—she cleaned up at this year’s Grammy Awards, bringing home Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Yet, this humble, über-talented working​ mom thought her Album of the Year Grammy should go to fellow working mom, Beyoncé, calling her “the artist of my life.” In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Adele opened up about her struggle with postpartum depression, and how she learned to give herself breaks here and there. “Eventually I just said, I’m going to give myself an afternoon a week, just to do whatever the f**k I want without my baby. A friend of mine said, ‘Really? Don’t you feel bad?’ I said, I do, but not as bad as I’d feel if I didn’t do it. Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it; they thought everyone would think they were a bad mom, and it’s not the case. It makes you a better mom if you give yourself a better time.” Well said, Adele. — Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Scandal's Shonda Rhimes Returns To Her Alma Mater To Deliver The Commencement Address To Dartmouth's Class Of 2014.

Photo of Shonda Rhimes courtesy of Shondaland.

3. Shonda Rhimes

Profession: Producer | Director | Writer
Children: Harper, 15 | Emerson, 5 | Beckett, 3

The queen of primetime television, Shonda Rhime’s production company, Shondaland, continues to serve up some of the best entertainment you can find on the small screen. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and The Catch are all anchored by a coterie of strong female leads and compelling storylines that keep us riveted, week after week. And she’s not done yet: She’ll executive produce a new legal drama this year. Last year, she guest-edited an issue of Good Housekeeping, and reaffirmed why we love her (and her delightfully complex heroines): In a one-on-one interview, she said she’d much rather raise a stubborn girl than a nice girl. She also admits to waking as early as the rooster crows to carve out some time for herself and having lots of help to make her work-life balance happen. “Admitting that is a service to other women,” she said. “Because if you ask someone, ‘How do you do it all?’ and they say, ‘I do yoga!’ it makes you think, That’s it? That’s how your children are clean and you’ve made 50 cupcakes? I always felt like a hot mess. I like to speak out about having help because it’s unfair if women think I’m doing it all myself.” — Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Viola Davis and Husband Julius Tennon Looking To Raise $250 Million For Their Company JuVee Productions

Photo of Julius Tennon and Viola Davis courtesy of Instagram.

2. Viola Davis

Profession: Actress | Producer
Children: Genesis, 6

Julliard-trained actress Viola Davis is entrenched on our list for an oeuvre that gets more impressive with each passing year. She became the first black actress to have earned an Emmy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Tony for acting, after winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe this year for her heart-wrenching role in Fences. These trophies will look great on her mantle next to her two Tonys, a SAG award for her lead role in 2011’s The Help and, last year, an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her juicy role as Annalise on How to Get Away with Murder. In her moving acceptance speech, she thanked her husband and daughter for being “the foundation of my life” and championed the too-often untold stories of real people living real lives: “People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” — Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Photo of Beyoncé courtesy of CBS.

1. Beyoncé

Profession: Musician | Actress | Mogul
Children: Blue Ivy, 5 | Expecting Twins in Spring

She’s here to slay, here to stay and the numbers prove it: Forbes estimated Beyoncé’s fortune at around $265 million in 2016 and called her and her husband Jay-Z the highest earning celebrity couple of 2016. The success of her number-one album, Lemonade, earned her an Album of the Year Grammy (among others), and a $256-million-dollar-grossing world tour. Oh, and she was runner-up for Time’s 2016 Person of the Year. (In defense, she lost out to the president.) In Time, Melissa Harris-Perry applauded Bey for “finding her distinct voice” and embracing “explicitly feminist blackness at a politically risky moment.” Always visually driven and compellingly on point, she announced her pregnancy with twins via an Instagram post wearing a veil and surrounded by flowers as a modern-day Madonna with child, but is keeping mum on the gender of the babies. If anyone deserves to go on maternity leave, it’s this hard-working lady. — Vivian Manning-Schaffel

To see the full list of 2017’s Most Powerful Moms, please head over to Working Mother. Vivian Manning-Schaffel is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor and essayist. A contributing writer for Working Mother, please follow her latest and greatest at Working Mother.


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