Washingtonian: Most powerful women in Washington

Washingtonian: Most powerful women in Washington


Power is a concept synonymous with DC—in its symbolism, its offices, its people. Many Washingtonians hold power by virtue of their positions, titles, and affiliations. For others, power is intrinsic and follows them wherever they go. Some are obvious in their authority. Others pull the strings of influence and change discreetly.

One thing is certain: More and more of the most powerful people in the city—in all of those capacities—are women. A decade ago, a list of Washington’s Most Powerful Women was not nearly as long. This time around, we had to make some hard decisions to keep it from overflowing the allotted pages.

To arrive at this roster, we talked to industry leaders, people with their finger on the pulse, and of course names on lists of years past to find out which women in the region wield the most power right now. (Fun fact: Powerful women do not hesitate to share names of other powerful women.) We also scoured the news—seeking out people responsible for it, both in the forefront and behind the scenes. Finally, we looked to the city’s most powerful institutions and those leading them. From arts, nonprofit, and media mavens to corporate, political, and legal powerhouses, here are 169 women making a mark in Washington.


Whether leading local colleges and universities or advocating for teachers, these women wield influence over education systems.

Irma Becerra
President, Marymount University

Sylvia Mathews Burwell
President, American University

Ellen Granberg
President, George Washington University

Jacqueline Pogue Lyons
President, Washington Teachers’ Union

Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers

Falecia D. Williams
President, Prince George’s Community College


Read the full story on Washingtonian’s website.