The 30 Most Innovative Women in Fashion

The fashion industry has consistently been one of the most progressive businesses in the world, brimming with constant talent coming from all walks of life the world over.

Amidst the volume of aptitude within the industry, meet 30 women who managed to revolutionize, revitalize and create long-lasting impressions in the fashion world. From models to make-up artists to designers, these women were trailblazers in creating what we wear today and leaders in setting up the future for the next generation of fashion innovators.

30. Heidi Klum

30 - Heidi Klum

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Heidi Klum first made her mark on the world of fashion as a super model with clients like Victoria Secret, and appearing on the cover of pop-culture mainstays like Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She moved into television as the host and executive producer of the innovative Emmy-nominated fashion reality hit, Project Runway. Klum didn’t stop there, she created Truly Scrumptious, a clothing line for kids, as well as designs for New Balance and numerous other clothing companies.

29. & 28. Kate and Laura Mulleavy

29 and 28 - Kate and Laura Mulleavy

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Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy are the designers behind the clothing line, Rodarte. The Mulleavys are known for their craftsmanship and personal designs and had no formal training when they dreamed up their first designs at their parents’ kitchen table. Today, Rodarte is available globally at more than 40 retailers, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Rodarte was awarded the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2009 and the brand was named one of Fast Company’s 50 Designers Shaping The Future in October 2012.


27. Rose Marie Bravo

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Rose Marie Bravo is the vice chairman and former CEO of the legendary label Burberry. Before going to Burberry, the Bronx native was the president of Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. At Burberry, Bravo was responsible for hiring Kate Moss and greatly increasing the company’s profit and product lines, effectively revamping it into a hip, updated line. Fortune Magazine ranked her #13 in its 2004 and 2005 lists of “The 50 most Powerful Women in Business”


26. Tyra Banks

26 - Tyra Banks

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Tyra Banks is a supermodel who turned her runway success into a full on fashion empire. She broke boundaries in the industry as the first black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. In 2003, Banks created and hosted America’s Next Top Model, a television show that had up and coming models vie for a career-making prize package. 20 seasons later, the show continues to draw audiences and set the stage more several other fashion reality shows to enter the industry.


25. Katharine Hamnett

25 - Katherine Hamnett

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If you’ve ever worn a graphic T-shirt, you should learn the name Katharine Hamnett. What seems like an everyday throw on item was born the slogan T-shirt and pioneered by British activist Hamnett. Her oversized shirts with large block letters were adopted and worn by many bands including Queen. Graphic tees are now mainstream wear and Hamnett was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours, for services to the fashion industry.


24. Cathy Horyn

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Fashion journalist Cathy Horyn was The New York Times’ much-respected chief fashion critic of 15 years. Though sometimes controversial, Horyn was known for her quick-witted columns, fashion reporting and at times stinging reviews. She put her support behind multiple young designers and held to her own opinions even when they counteracted popular belief. Horyn has published a series of fashion books and contributed to multiple magazines such as Vanity Fair, and collaborated with publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and The International Herald Tribune.

23. Angela Ahrendts

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Although Angela Ahrendts is now a senior vice president of retail and online stores at Apple, she started out as a powerhouse in fashion. Ahrendts is credited with taking Burberry from an ailing fashion house to a revived luxury brand, and tripling its revenues. From Donna Karan to Henri Bendel to Liz Claiborne, Ahrendts has had a hand in some of the most prominent and successful brands in the industry. She was awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a DBE for her services to British business.


22. Sarah Burton

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Sarah Burton is the creative director of famous British label Alexander McQueen, which she took over in 2010 after McQueen’s death. Burton managed to preserve the designer’s legacy but still add her own flare that gained her a prominent seat in the fashion industry. Burton went on to dress Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge for the royal wedding. Burton received The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her services to the fashion industry in late 2012.

21. Tamara Mellon

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Tamara Mellon is the cofounder and former president of shoe giant Jimmy Choo. With over 100 shops in 32 countries, Jimmy Choo’s impact on fashion footwear is as undeniable as Mellon’s business smarts. Starting out as an accessories editor at Vogue, before opening the first store in 1996. Mellon sold Jimmy Choo to luxury brand Labelux in 2011 and started an eponymous brand including clothing, bags and shoes.


20. Rosalía Mera

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Rosalia Mera is the late co-founder of retail giant Zara. At the time of her death Spain’s richest woman and the world’s richest self-made woman, Mera started humbly, dropping out of school at 11 to work as a seamstress. She and Amancio Ortega launched clothing manufacturing company Inditex and opened the first Zara store in Spain in 1975. In addition to its designs, Zara transformed the apparel industry by introducing mass-market variations of new designs from the major fashion houses within weeks of shows.

19. Pat McGrath

19 - Pat McGrath

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The world of fashion would not be the same without the mesmerizing make-up of Pat McGrath. Although McGrath had no formal training, she rose quickly to be known as a top make-up artist and serves as creative design director of Procter & Gamble beauty. Recognized for her innovative and adventurous techniques, her looks are highly favored among top designers like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Lanvin, and grace over 25 catwalks every season. McGrath was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the fashion and beauty industry in 2013.

18. Jessica Simpson

18 - Jessica Simpson

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Although her name is synonymous with music, Jessica Simpson is one of the most powerful women in fashion. In an industry where most celebrity lines don’t make the grade, Simpson’s eponymous brand, which started with shoes, has been wildly successful. Born out of a desire to reach the every-day woman, the Jessica Simpson Collection has grown to house over 30 product categories and earns over $1 billion annually, often outselling most runway designers several times over.


17. Franca Sozzani

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 Franca Sozzani is the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia and has been since 1988.   Sozzani is known for helping to create the idea of a supermodel, and diversifying the magazine. In her time at Vogue Italia, Sozzani oversaw “The Black Issue” celebrating black women, a “makeover” issue dedicated to plastic surgery and introducing plus size models to the magazine and website. Sozzani is also an author of books on photography, fashion, art and design and is a United Nations Goodwill ambassador.


16. Jeanne Lanvin

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Madame Jeanne Lanvin is the founder of the oldest but still one of the most relevant French fashion houses. She opened her first boutique in Paris in 1889 and is credited with making women’s fashion more youthful. She was also a thought leader for the concept of personal style and breaking away from the strict guidelines of women’s dress that dominated the time. Famous actresses of the day like actresses Marlene Dietrich and Mary Pickford sported Lanvin’s designs as do the most well known starlets of Hollywood today.


15. Sara Blakely

15 - Sarah Blakely

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 Sara Blakely changed the way women wear their clothes in a very innovative way. Blakely is the founder of Spanx, a line of shaping undergarments. Blakely took what started out as one product and transformed it into a mluti-million dollar business. Blakely’s product, still popular today, sold over 8,000 pairs in the first six minutes on home shopping channel QVC. As of 2014, Forbes listed Blakely as the 94th most powerful woman in the world.


14. Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

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Dame Vivienne Westwood is a fashion legend and rightfully so. “Cutting edge and classic” is how fashion magazine, Vogue, describes Westwood’s aesthetic which was first present in a catwalk show in 1981. Outspoken and unapologetic, Westwood was inspired by the punk movement. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for her contribution to fashion. A 2011 Greenall poll named her Britain’s Greatest British Fashion Designer, which she helped to validate with two British Designer of the Year awards.


13. Betsey Johnson

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Betsey Johnson did not originally aspire to be a fashion designer, but instead a dancer. After graduating from Syracuse University, Johnson took on the fashion world first starting at Mademoiselle as a guest editor before moving on to designing. After 10 years of designing for others, Johnson founded the now incredibly popular eponymous label, which is known for its unique, fun and quirky designs. Johnson was awarded the Timeless Talent Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.


12. Vera Wang

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 Best known for bringing fashion to the bridal industry through her sophisticated bridal collections, designer Vera Wang has dressed celebrities like Chelsea Clinton and Hilary Duff. Before that, at only 23, she was the youngest fashion editor at Vogue, a company she stayed with for over 16 years. Born in New York to Chinese-American parents, she has expanded her brand name through her shoe, fragrance, jewelry, eyewear and house ware collections and authored a book in 2001.


11. Stella McCartney

11 - Stella McCartney

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British fashion designer Stella McCartney made a name for herself in fashion despite having two famous musicians for parents. Making her own clothes by the time she was 13, McCartney became renowned for her sharp, simple tailoring and dedication to making clothes that looked good in real life, not just on the runway. McCartney also incorporates her animal rights beliefs into her designs, swapping fur and leather for plastic and fabric.

10. Valentina

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Valentina, who was one of the first designers to become known by her first name only, came to New York from Russia in 1923.  Valentina wore her own designs consisting of elegant, formfitting long-sleeved gowns, in contrast to the short, waist-less flapper dresses of the time.  She established Valentina Gowns in 1928 and attracted high-profile clients like Greta Garbo.  She also designed for theatre and actresses like Katherine Hepburn in the stage play, The Philadelphia Story which led to her recognition as one of the top U.S. couturiers and theatre costume designers.


9. Carolina Herrera

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Venezuelan-American designer Carolina Herrera known for her ladylike, refined style.  The socialite tested the fashion waters in 1980 with a small collection of dresses made by her seamstress in Caracas and by 1981 presented her full collection.  In addition to being a socialite whose fashion influenced women around the world, she proved herself as a designer dressing first ladies from Jacqueline Onassis to Michelle Obama.   In 2008, she was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

8. Natalie Massenet

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Natalie Massenet changed the way designer fashion was retailed with her designer fashion portal Net-a-Porter, a website in magazine format for selling fashion.  What started off as a low-key business with boxes stacked in Massenet’s bathroom in 2000, grew to an operation employing over 2,300 in 2013.   In that same year Massenet took over the British Fashion Council and was named Woman of the Year by US Glamour magazine. In 2014, she was named as one of the 100 most influential people by Time.


7. Elsa Schiaparelli

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Born in Italy, Elsa Schiaparelli moved to Paris and begun her career as a designer after working in New York, soon to be one of the most influential designers in the world.  Her clothing defined the fashion of the ‘20s and ‘30s and she dressed the stars of the day.  She infused art into her clothing design and was rivals with contemporary Chanel. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art featured her work in an exhibit in 2012.


6. Donatella Versace

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Born into a family of designers, Donatella Versace became creative director of the Versace group after her brother Gianni Versace’s death in 1997. Known for her fun and often wild personality, Versace uniquely used her celebrity friends to become to face of Versace and rebuilding the brand and catapulting it to success. Versace was able to come out from her brother’s shadow and triumph on the runway, designing pieces that are still often worn by celebrities.



5. Donna Karan

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Donna Karan is highly regarded as one of the most influential fashion designers in the world. Karan started in a summer job for Anne Klein was soon named an associate designer. She left Anne Klein and debuted her own line in 1985, following it up with DKNY, a more affordable fashion line. Karan is known for designing modern clothes for modern people, and bringing chic high-end style mainstream. Karan was the 2004 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.


4. Diane Von Fürstenberg

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Diane Von Fürstenberg’s name is synonymous with her iconic wrap dress, which transformed American women’s fashion with its versatility and elegance. The designer began her career in 1970 and shortly after was added to the calendar for New York Fashion Week. She was heralded as “the most marketable female in fashion since Coco Chanel.” As of 2014, Forbes lists her as the 68th most powerful woman in the world. She has been the president of the President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2006.


3. Anna Wintour

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Anna Wintour is the editor-in-chief of American Vogue since 1988 and arguably one of the most powerful voices in fashion today. Wintour started out in the fashion department of Harper’s & Queen in London and rose up the editorial ladder at several magazines including becoming fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Wintour’s eye for trends and encouragement of young designers and artists are as well-known as her reputation for being a tough leader with a chilly demeanor.

2. Miuccia Prada

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Miuccia Prada is the Italian fashion designer behind Miu Miu and Prada.  Prada started out with her first handbag design in 1985 and its simple, chic and functional design launched a massive worldwide craze that established Prada.  By 1989 she released her first line of clothing and followed it with Miu Miu, a more affordable brand modeled after her personal style, in 1992.  Armed with a doctorate in Political Science, Forbes listed her as the 75th most powerful woman in the world in 2014.


1. Coco Chanel

1- Chanel

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Fashion designer Coco Chanel changed the way women dressed by freeing them with her choice of cuts and fabrics.  She also infused menswear for women with her chic suits, creating a trend that continues to be popular today.  Her empire soon spawned a still-popular fragrance, Chanel No. 5 and the little black dress in 1926, which made her an international sensation then and now, more than a century later.  Her numerous contributions to numerous areas of the fashion industry allowed her to be the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.


About the Author


Raecine Williams received her Bachelor’s from the University of Miami and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Journalism at the University of Maryland College Park.  She writes for the Prince George’s Sentinel and Nirvana Magazine and has worked in various capacities in her native island of Jamaica. In her spare time she runs a clothing line called Wild/Free and loves to travel.


30 Women Entrepreneurs Making a Difference in the Community

The challenge of starting your own business as a woman is overwhelming enough.  Combining that urge for entrepreneurship with the desire to make the world a better place can prove even more challenging.

Meet 30 women who managed to do both.  Some started businesses directly geared at social change, while some founded philanthropies attached to their existing empires.  All managed to be role models and make a difference in society.

30. Jessica Jackley

30 - Jessica Jackley

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Jessica Jackley is best known as one of the founders of Kiva, the world’s first peer-to-peer microlending website.  Kiva allows users to lend money to entrepreneurs in developing countries to help them start or expand their small business.  This initiative married Jackley’s own entrepreneurship with her passion for social justice and has loaned more than $100 million to entrepreneurs all over the globe.  Jackley also served as a teacher, sharing lessons of entrepreneurship and social change at several universities.  Jackley has received awards such as for her contribution to society such as the Economist’s “No Boundaries” Innovation Award.

29. Yang Lan

29 - Yang Lan

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Yang Lan is a Chinese journalist, entrepreneur and one of the most powerful women in the Chinese media.  Lan founded the Sun Media Group in 2000, a venture which spans TV, newspapers and magazines and the web.  She is also a television host, the Global Ambassador for Special Olympics Movement and the first UNICEF Ambassador in China.  Lan and her husband donated half their shares in Sun Media and created the Sun Culture Foundation, a non-profit that improves education and promotes philanthropy in China.

28. Kamila Sidiqi

28 - Kamila Sidiqi

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Kameia Sidiqi is an unlikely entrepreneur and the founder of Kaweyan Business Development Services.  She started her first company, a tailoring business, during Taliban rule in Afghanistan amid much controversy, dangerous conditions and a fair amount of oppression.  The dressmaker is now helping other Afghan women to develop their own companies as well.  Sidiqi then started a consultancy firm supporting women entrepreneurs in her area, traveling across the country training adults in the basics that will help them launch their own ventures.

27. Tory Burch

27 - Tory Burch

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Being a billionaire with a lifestyle line of clothing, accessories, fragrances, boutiques and more didn’t stop Tory Burch from making a difference through her philanthropy.  Famous as an award-winning designer and entrepreneur, Burch started the non-profit Tory Burch Foundation to empower women via mentoring, small business loans and education.  The foundation gives grants and microfinancing and provides women with tools to achieve their aspirations as entrepreneurs and leaders.  Burch also partnered with Bank of America to give a total of $10 million in loans to female entrepreneurs.

26. Judi Henderson-Townsend


Judi Henderson-Townsend is the founder of Mannequin Madness, a business that sells, rents, recycles and repairs mannequin body parts.  Though she kept her business a secret when she first started it because she felt it was so off the wall, Henderson-Townsend found much success.  Henderson-Townsend gives back and keeps the business socially responsible by recycling mannequins routinely thrown in landfills when they break or if stores are closing down.  The business recycles over 100,000 lbs. of non-biodegradable mannequins and has won a special achievement award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

25. Arlene Dickinson

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Arlene Dickinson is the South African-born CEO of marketing company Venture Communications, her Canadian start up that went to grossing $45 million annually.  In 2012 she launched the Arlene Dickinson Enterprises, a company that promotes the advancement of entrepreneurs by funding investments and entrepreneurs.  The enterprise also creates entertaining and educational media aimed at these entrepreneurs. Dickinson is also on the cast of Dragons’ Den, a business reality show, and is a spokesperson for Breakfast Clubs of Canada in support of children having a nutritious start to the day.

24. Linda Rottenberg

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Linda Rottenberg is the CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, a non-profit that specializes in “high-impact entrepreneurship” – a strategy to identify, mentor and invest in the fastest growing businesses to transform communities.  Endeavor’s entrepreneurs have created 225,000 high-wage jobs and generated more than $6 billion annually.  Rottenberger has been hailed for her contributions to both entrepreneurship and philanthropy, being named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News & World Report and one of 100 “Innovators for the 21st century” by Time Magazine.

23. Martha Lane Fox

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Martha Fox Lane is the co-founder of travel site  After amassing a fortune of $500 million, Lane Fox launched Go On UK, a charity promoting digital skills for small businesses.  She was severely injured in a 2004 car crash where she broke 20 bones, but the entrepreneur kept busy sitting on various boards and being appointed as Chancellor of Open University.  Lane Fox still finds time to dedicate to other work in the community, including work for women’s rights, social justice, poverty and AIDS non-profits.

22. Lauren Bush Lauren

22 - Lauren Bush Lauren

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Former President George W. Bush’s niece Lauren Bush Lauren boasts more than a prominent last name.  The model, designer and entrepreneur is the co-founder of FEED Projects, a sustainable company an initiative to fight world hunger on behalf of the UN World Food Programme.  She founded FEED just after her college graduation and serves as chairman of the FEED Foundation.  The organization helps to create bags and accessories to raise donations to feed developing people around the world.

21. Ama Pomaa Andoh

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Giving back has always been a focus for Ama Pomaa Andoh, the entrepreneur who founded the non-profit Ghanaian High-Tech Women.  The organization helps Ghanaian women use IT skills in business management.  She later participated in the FORTUNE/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and returned to Ghana to start the Ghana Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, a resource center for women who would like to start their own sustainable, community-beneficial businesses.   Andoh is also a member of parliament in Ghana.

20. Cher Wang

20 - Cher Wang

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Cher Wang is a Taiwanese entrepreneur best known for co-founding the tech corporation HTC in 1997.  This venture made Wang one the most powerful and successful women in technology, and put her as the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.  Wang is also a philanthropist, using her net worth of over $6.8 billion to fund research and programming at her alma mater UC Berkley, and founding the Guizhou Forerunner College in China to provide low-cost education to students from low-income families.

19. Oprah Winfrey

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The name Oprah is generally recognized by most as being the queen of TV and media for decades.  Aside from her beloved self-named talk show, Winfrey founded a media empire with a cable network, website magazine, radio show and more.    Winfrey has always been a charitable person, starting many philanthropic efforts such as the Angel Network, a charity that supported projects and provided grants to non-profits worldwide.  Winfrey has also given away more than $400 million to educational causes and founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa among many other projects.

18. Jill Vialet

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Jill Vialet is the CEO and founder of Playworks, an organization that restructures playtime in elementary school by creating a safe, inclusive school environment for kids to thrive.  Playworks now reaches over 380 schools in 23 cities and ultimately aims to serve millions of children.  Vialet also co-founded the Museum of Children’s Art, an organization that helps communities celebrate the art and creativity of their children.  Vialet was named to the Forbes Impact 30 as one of the 30 leading social entrepreneurs worldwide.

17. Bhagyashri Dixit

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Bhagyashri Dixit first went in to entrepreneurship to change the perceptions of online shopping in India.  She started out as an ERP consultant for a Pune, India based Software Company, but branched out to found StyleBuds and it’s subsidiary, Sheepstop, an eco-friendly T-shirt brand that draws its designs from artists all over the world.  SheepStop is unique for its all-woman workforce and commitment to organic clothing.  Dixit handles Business Development and Operations for StyleBuds.

16. Beth Sirull

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Beth Sirull is the executive director of Pacific Community Ventures, a company that helps small business in poor neighborhoods to grow faster by connecting them with volunteers from bigger companies who advise them.  Before this position she was the founding director of the company’s research and analysis arm, PCV Insight.  The company has fostered entrepreneurship, supporting over 3,500 companies that have paid over $250 million in wages to residents of low-income communities.  Sirull is an avid volunteer with several non-profit organizations and serves on a number of boards.

15. Rebecca Onie

15 - Rebecca Onie

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Rebecca Onie took on entrepreneurship early, founding her company Health Leads while still just a sophomore at Harvard College. Health leads places well-trained volunteers in hospitals and clinics where they help to fill patients prescriptions and cater to their needs by navigating language barriers and other challenges for the patients. Onie was recognized in O! Magazine’s Power List of 20 women who are “changing the world for the better” and Forbes world’s top 30 social entrepreneurs.

14. Bebe Heiner

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Bebe Heiner comes from a family of philanthropists and got involved in giving back at an early age. A licensed professional counselor by profession, Heiner noticed that low-income individuals did not have access to affordable mental health care. Heiner founded The Women’s Initiative to solve this problem. The Women’s Initiative provides counseling to women even if they can’t afford to pay. The organization served over 4,000 women in its first four years and grew into a major community resource in Charlottesville, Virginia.

13. Heather Hasson

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Heather Hasson took her passion for fashion and founded a business with the heart of the community at its core. After traveling throughout Africa and Asia and witnessing children unable to go to school because they didn’t have school uniforms, Hasson founded FIGS – Fashion Inspired Global Sophistication. FIGS sells neckties, but gave way to the Threads for Threads Initiative – giving a child in Kenya and Tanzania a school uniform for every tie sold. FIGS also makes medical apparel. For every set of scrubs purchased, FIGS gives a set of scrubs to a medical professional in a resource-poor country so he or she can continue to give back to and provide for the community. Hasson has been recognized for her contributions to society and FIGS was even commissioned to design ties for the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Conference.

12. Kristin Groos Richmond & 11. Kirsten Saenz Tobey

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Both from similar educational backgrounds in business and non-profits, Groos Richmond and Saenz Tobey founded Revolution Foods in 2005. Revolution Foods provides nutritious meals and health education to schools for their students. True entrepreneurs, the pair did everything – cooked and packed the food, drove the truck, sought funding and got their concept and company on the map. In addition, they have launched a line of ready-to-eat high quality food products called Meal Kits, which offer healthy on-the-go snack or meal alternatives. The company has proven both profitable for them – with over $70 million in revenue – and profitable for the community, serving approximately 1.5 million fresh meals every week, totaling over 125 million healthy meals in schools nationwide to date.

10. Katina Mountanos & 9. Liz Whitman

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Two Harvard business students, Katina Mountanos and Liz Whitman, came together to launch Manicube, a mobile manicure business with a side of service. The service offers 15-minute, $15 manicures at the convenience of an office. A dollar from each manicure is contributed to microloans for female entrepreneurs in the developing world. The pair are working on expanding nationwide to are planning to launch their next hub in San Francisco in September 2014.

8. Callie Works-Leary

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Callie Works-Leary founded CityCraft, a fabric and craft store in Dallas.   She also tapped into the online community of young sewers who wanted to learn. Works-Leary decided to give back to the community by teaching a sewing class at a women’s shelter in Dallas. She followed up by donating sewing machines and supplies, as well as fabric to the shelter and its clients. Works-Leary plans to expand the business and establish a national brand.

7. Sarah Prevette

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Sarah Prevette was named one of Inc. Magazine’s top entrepreneurs in North America. She is the founder of, an online platform for startups and business leaders to connect and communicate. Prevette is also one of the organizer’s behind Twestival Toronto, a part of a worldwide social media fundraising initiative. Through Twestival, Prevette was able to help raise awareness for causes like lack of clean water in developing countries, and garner donations to be sent abroad.

6. Molly Melching

6 - Molly Melching

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Molly Melching is the founder of Tostan, a Non-Governmental organization that encourages sustainability and human rights in African nations African. Melching worked with African villagers to establish and develop a learning program in African languages that has gone on to reach more than 2 million people. A book “However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls Triumph” was written about her, highlighting her journey to found this worthy cause and her personal experiences living in Africa.

5. Rose Broome

5 - Rose Broome

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Rose Broome cofounded HandUp after passing a homeless woman and realizing that she didn’t have much warmth on a cold night. Recognizing the growing problem of homelessness, Broome designed HandUp to allow homeless people to get donations via text or online. Donations are given to the homeless in the form of credits they can redeem for items they need. The system enables both donors and recipients to learn more about empowering and being empowered.

4. Adora Cheung

4 - Adora Cheung

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Adora Cheung took an old industry and modernized it.  So co-founded the Homejoy, a company that takes house cleaners who need steady work, and connects them with clients who book services online.  Cheung then turned her focus to creating the Homejoy Foundation, where she can give back to the community by providing grants to non-profits, donating product and encouraging her employees to volunteer.  In 2013, the Foundation turned its attention to providing grants, services and programs for veterans and military families.

3. Jane Chen

4 - Jane Chen

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Jane Chen founded Embrace, an organization that helps premature and low birth-weight babies with a low-cost infant warmer.  The Embrace infant warmer is about 1% of the cost of a regular incubator and has been distributed across India and other developing countries.  Thanks to Chen’s invention over 50,000 babies have been helped.  Chen also founded a non-profit arm of the company, which donates the warmers to the neediest areas and conducts clinics and educational programs on newborn health.

2. Sara Horowitz

2 - Sara Horowitz

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Sara Horowitz founded the nonprofit Working Today, which brought freelancers together to create power. That idea led directly to the creation of the nonprofit Freelancers Union,  which helps workers solve their problems.  Horowitz also launched FIC in 2008, a social-purpose business wholly owned by Freelancers Union, whose mission is to provide independent workers with high-quality, affordable, and portable health insurance. Forbes named her one of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs in 2011, among numerous other awards.

1. Wendy Kopp

1 - Wendy Kopp

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Wendy Kopp took her undergraduate thesis proposal at Princeton and founded Teach for America, an organization that places college graduates in some of the most underserved classrooms across the country in order to improve their performances.  In 2007, Kopp, along with Brett Wigdortz, expanded the program internationally and co-founded Teach for All in response to a growing desire from social entrepreneurs around the globe to address educational inequity in their countries. The Teacher for America model has been adapted to meet the unique needs of partners in 34 countries.  Kopp has won The Clinton Center Award for Leadership and National Service and the The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship among numerous other awards and honorary doctorates.

About the Author


Raecine Williams received her Bachelor’s from the University of Miami and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Journalism at the University of Maryland College Park.  She writes for the Prince George’s Sentinel and Nirvana Magazine and has worked in various capacities in her native island of Jamaica. In her spare time she runs a clothing line called Wild/Free and loves to travel.

Best Colleges and Universities to Work for 2013

best colleges to work forThose considering a career in academia have many options, and the values of each individual will play a large role in determining the sort of academic or administrative career and work environment they will find fulfilling. While the values of the individual will certainly impact their choice of workplace, other variables also factor into the equation. Compensation and benefits, the overall work environment, the academic reputation of the institution, the type of institutional governance and the effectiveness of the administration are all key factors in employee job satisfaction. In considering top employers in Higher Education, we sought to highlight 10 exceptional institutions in each of the following categories: State schools, Research institutions, Private colleges, Liberal arts colleges, and Community colleges. Certainly there are many exceptional employers we weren’t able to include, but we hope that the variety we include here will give prospective employees a starting point and a good sense of the available options.

Research Institutions

Professionals seeking to both teach and advance their field through research should consider research universities. These tend to be large institutions flush with funds from government grants and private donors that prioritize research. Research universities offer a unique working environment where success is measured not just on being an effective instructor, but also a successful researcher. These universities tend to be highly results-oriented in their employee evaluations, and the work environment is often competitive and challenging.

Resource: Best Research Universities to Work for 2013

State Schools

Public or “state” universities are not always research oriented, though they often do have some research component involved. Professionals attracted to teaching in a public university may value the chance to provide a great education for a more diverse student population, not just in race or socioeconomic class, but also in priority. Many public universities are massive, and it takes a special kind of professional to be satisfied in this situation, one that won’t feel lost in a crowd, and knows how to engage students on a level so that they feel a part of an academic community, instead of just feeling like a number.

Resource: Best State Universities to Work for 2013

Private Colleges and Universities

The best private universities tend to be extremely selective both with students and faculty. These universities compete by hiring the best of the best. Some are research universities, some are liberal arts or have a focus on classical education, many are a combination of various styles. These universities are best suited to professionals who strive to be among the academic elite in their respective fields. Compensation, benefits and perks are generally top of the line among the top private universities.

Resource: Best Private Colleges and Universities to Work for 2013

Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal arts colleges have an entirely different academic priority and methodology than the major research, public, and private universities. Liberal arts studies generally focus on interdisciplinary education, believing that the purpose of the bachelor’s level education is to expand the mind of the student by having them study things both in and outside their comfort zone, and come to an understanding of how everything relates to everything else in some way. This approach is designed to create a well rounded student, and professors that truly believe in this system will likely only enjoy working at a liberal arts institution. Some liberal arts universities are so committed to the interdisciplinary approach that every professor will eventually teach every class offered at the university at some point or another.

Resource: Best Liberal Arts Colleges to Work for 2013

Community Colleges

Community colleges are becoming a common choices for students looking to save money by spending their first couple years close to home, and then transferring to a four year school to finish. There are also many students that know what they want to do, and that they only need a two year degree to get started. Professors that want to give these students a strong basis for starting either their profession, or their academic career, will often find teaching at a good community college is very rewarding. The work environment tends to be very laid back, focused more on developing relationships between faculty and students, making sure the students are prepared for their future. There is little or no pressure to publish articles in academic journals or to be performing results oriented research. The compensation and benefits are generally less than what is available at other schools, but retirement programs are generally very strong and so professors in it for the long haul are rewarded in the end.

Resource: Best Community Colleges to Work for 2013

Best Research Universities to Work For 2013

Research universities are known for highly motivated employees. These schools are well funded and are perfect for those looking to advance their field through research and instruction. The research universities include public and private universities with above average pay and offer perks that go above and beyond the norm.

#1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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Location: Cambridge, MA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: The biggest draw, and reason for job satisfaction among MIT employees is the opportunity to work with the absolute top people in their field. The pay is good, the benefits are great, but the real reason to work at MIT is the prestige of the university.

Notable Perks: MIT is huge and the university has a plethora of resources accessible to both students and faculty. The school offers top notch child care, backup child care, and referral services for elder care, ensuring that the families of their employees are well looked after.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Associates earn $44,500 per year on average, the average salary for research scientists is $66,800 per year, the average assistant professor at MIT earns $10o,200.

#2. University of California Berkeley


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Location: Berkeley, MA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees cite the opportunity to work with some of the top scholars in their field in addition to good benefits and pay. The university achieves a family atmosphere among faculty, despite being one of the foremost research universities in the country with a high student and faculty population.

Notable Perks: Berkeley offers a comprehensive retirement pension plan with a lifetime monthly income based on the period of time for which you have worked there, the pension is payable in both lump sum and monthly income forms.

Average Salary: Postdoc Scholars average $46,000 per year, Associate Specialists average $50,000 per year, Assistant Professors average $78,700 per year.

#3. Georgia Institute of Technology


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Location: Atlanta, GA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees of Georgia Tech remark upon the great work environment that creates opportunities for professional growth. The CEO has a 93% approval rating on Glassdoor, employees enjoy working in an environment with few bureaucratic obstacles.

Notable Perks: Georgia Tech not only offers a child care option, but early education for the children of faculty, staff, and graduate students. The programs serve children six weeks to five years old providing high quality early education in a nurturing and caring manner.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn $44,137 on average, Assistant Professors earn $89,000 on average, Teaching Assistants earn $10.66 per hour on average.

#4. Carnegie Mellon University


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Location: Pittsburgh, PA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees of Carnegie Mellon University enjoy the extremely focused and academic nature of the culture. Working with some of the best minds in academia provides many networking opportunities, and the city of Pittsburgh affords both faculty and students with a close connection to industry. The CEO has a 97% approval rating on Glassdoor among faculty and staff, indicating strong, trustworthy leadership.

Notable Perks: CMU offers employees a wide range of financial services including the Hannah Gold Advantage program which gives employees cash back rewards on selling or purchasing homes, and contributes money toward closing costs.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn an average of $51,000 per year, Graduate Research Assistants earn an average of $24,000 per year, Hourly Student Researchers earn an average of $15.00 per hour.

#5. California Institute of Technology


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Location: Pasadena, CA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: The CEO of Caltech enjoys a 94% approval rating on Glassdoor, mostly to do with his focus on fostering an academic community that feels like family. The university features great working conditions for staff featuring strong compensation and benefits

Notable Perks: From their first month full time employees gain 15 paid vacation days per year, this number grows depending on how long you’ve worked at Caltech; this is in addition to 12 paid holidays per year.

Average Salary: Researchers earn an average of $47,000 per year, Staff Scientists average $75,000 per year, and hourly researchers average $20.38 per hour.

#6. North Carolina State University


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Location: Raleigh, NC


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Fantastic colleagues, competitive salaries, and copious professional development opportunities are among the key factors in job satisfaction listed by employees.

Notable Perks: North Carolina State University has great employee appreciation programs, from awards for excellent performance, to employee discounts for both on and off campus activities, and tuition waivers for faculty and staff.

Average Salary: Research Associates earn an average of $44,000 per year, Postdoc Research Associates earn $40,000 per year on average, the average Assistant Professor earns $79,800 per year.

#7. Michigan State University


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Location: East Lansing, MI


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Great location with an accessible town and beautiful surroundings, caring co-workers, and easy interdepartmental cooperation are key factors in employee satisfaction. According to a Glassdoor survey 86% of employees would recommend UNC to a friend.

Notable Perks: The spouse and children of employees receive tuition assistance in the form of reduced cost. The Michigan Resident rate per credit, which is already very cheap, is cut in half again.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors earn an average of $80,000 per year, Visiting Research Associates earn $40,300 per year on average, Research Associates earn on average $45,000 per year.

#8. University of Utah


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Location: Salt Lake City, UT


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Great tuition and retirement benefits and free transit passes which cut down on the cost of commuting are among the reasons employees appreciate working at the University of Utah. The university also provides employees with good pay, and flexible hours.

Notable Perks: The University of Utah knows that healthcare is a primary concern for most people in the country and offers strong, affordable healthcare benefits including dental plans and an employee assistance program that provides help with behavioral health needs.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn an average of $40,000 per year or $22.00 per hour depending on the position, Research Associates earn $49,000 per year on average, Assistant Professors make an average of $99,800 per year.

#9. Baylor University


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Location: Waco, TX


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Baylor is a newly minted research university having achieved this classification in 2006. Employees cite the high quality research opportunities, religious heritage, and welcoming environment as the key factors behind high employee satisfaction. A strong indicator of faith in the leadership is a 100% CEO approval rating on Glassdoor.

Notable Perks: Full time faculty and staff may take two courses of no more than eight combined credits per per semester for free. After one year spouse and children are eligible for tuition remission of 50%, at two years this increases to 75%, and after three years of full time employment at the university tuition remission for spouse and children is 100%.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors average $77,900 per year, Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $43,800 per year, Lecturers earn an average of $47,800 per year.

#10. University of Mississippi


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Location: Oxford, MS


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Beautiful country and good benefits, such as long vacations are the keys to employee satisfaction at the University of Mississippi. A Glassdoor survey indicates that 79% of employees would recommend Ole Miss to a friend as a great place to work.

Notable Perks: The university offers stellar fringe benefits, including discounts on golf at the local club, free university event tickets, reduced tuition for nursery school; and, the incredible friends of children program, which helps pay for food, lodging, travel, and childcare for faculty and staff with children suffering from extreme medical conditions.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $35,300 per year, Assistant Professors earn an average of $63,300 per year, Web Developers earn on average $20.26 per hour.


Glass Door was used for both salary information, and to evaluate employee values and regard for the institution based on the included employee reviews.

Chronicle of Higher Education’s “best colleges to work for honor roll” was taken into consideration where applicable when deciding which aspects of the university to focus on while evaluated the components of employee satisfaction.

Other information was obtained from university websites.

Best State Universities to Work For 2013

There are many options available to individuals seeking employment at the post-secondary level, and state universities offer some of the most diverse opportunities. Among these, not all are created equal in terms of job satisfaction, compensation, and employee benefits. We selected ten state universities that have reputations for being excellent places to work. We developed the list based on compensation, general benefits, and evidence of an atmosphere where the university goes above and beyond for their employees.

#1. Georgia Institute of Technology


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Location: Atlanta, GA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees of Georgia Tech cite a great work environment that encourages and facilitates professional growth. The CEO has a 93% approval rating according to employee reviews on glassdoor, and employees enjoy working in an environment with minimal bureaucratic obstacles.

Notable Perks: Georgia Tech takes childcare options to a whole new level. The programs at Georgia Tech are not just child care, but also early education centers for the children of faculty, staff, and graduate students. The programs serve children six weeks to five years old and provide high quality early education in a nurturing and caring environment.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn $44,137 on average, Assistant Professors earn $89,000 on average, Teaching Assistants earn $10.66 per hour on average.

#2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


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Location: Urbana, IL


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees are happy with the great work environment. They love working with the other faculty and the students. The administration has made a point of fostering a strong, academically oriented intellectual community. The area has a low cost of living. The CEO approval rating among employees is 90% according to glass door.

Notable Perks: One of the interesting and unique perks of working for this university is that they support the efforts of employees seeking to adopt a child. They offer up to a $1,500.00 adoption credit toward the adoption.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $42,000 per year, Assistant Professors average $99,800 per year, Graduate Research Assistants average $22,478 per year.

#3. University of Delaware


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Location: Newark, DE


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees cite strong benefits, an actual pension plan over a retirement plan, and a laid back, caring, professional atmosphere as the primary reasons for job satisfaction. Employees also mention the prime location, easy distance from Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York City without having to live in an urban area.

Notable Perks: The retirement plan for employees is a full pension plan vs. a 401k, meaning the money is guaranteed by the state of Delaware.

Average Salary: Post Doc Researchers make $45,000 per year on average, Assistant Professors earn an average of $84,000, and Limited Term Researchers average $54,000 per year. There are very few hourly positions.

#4. George Mason University


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Location: Fairfax, VA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees cite a strong collaborative culture and diverse workforce as key components for job satisfaction. According to a glass door survey the CEO has a 97% approval rating, and 84% of employees would recommend GMU to a friend.

Notable Perks: GMU offers a wide array of work/life benefits and resources. From top notch quality childcare/early education for children under five, to programs, resources and information on elder care for those with aging family members.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors earn an average of $76,100 per year, Research Assistant Professors earn $57,700 per year on average, Hourly Graduate Teaching Assistants earn $13.67 per hour.

#5. Iowa State University


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Location: Ames, IA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees appreciate the strong community atmosphere both at the university and in the surrounding area. Many staff reviews on glass door have commented on the location being an ideal place to raise a family. The CEO enjoys an 100% approval rating from staff reviews on glass door indicating strong and well respected leadership.

Notable Perks: The University recognizes the importance of a parent’s commitment to their children and offers child care services to ease stress and reduce absenteeism. The care extends to separate care services for sick children.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors earn an average salary of $78,000 per year, Post Doctoral Research Associates earn $41,000 on average, and Post-Doctoral Research Assistants earn $20.57 per hour on average.

#6. SUNY Buffalo


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Location: Buffalo, NY


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees of SUNY Buffalo enjoy the diverse culture and international perspective offered by the university’s community. The university has high standards for both teachers and students which breeds a culture of professional excellence. Also high on the list of many employee reviews on glass door is the low cost of living in the area.

Notable Perks: SUNY Buffalo offers both full and part time faculty and staff a tuition free education program.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Associates average $37,000 per year, Research Scientists average $49,000 per year, Research Support Specialists earn $19.36 per hour.

#7. University of Mississippi


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Location: Oxford, MS


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employee reviews on glass door cite the beautiful surroundings and good benefits, including long vacations as the keys to job satisfaction at Ole Miss. 79% of employees surveyed by glassdoor would recommend working at Ole Miss to a friend.

Notable Perks: The university offers a wide range of fringe benefits including discounts on golf at the local club, free sporting event tickets, reduced tuition for nursery school; and perhaps most notably, the friends of children program, which helps pay for food, lodging, travel, and childcare for faculty and staff with children suffering from extreme medical conditions.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $35,300 per year, Assistant Professors earn an average of $63,300 per year, Web Developers earn on average $20.26 per hour.

#8. University of South Florida


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Location: Tampa, FL


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees remark upon the diverse campus community, a collaborative atmosphere, an openness to change, and strong leave and health benefits as the primary reasons for high employee satisfaction.

Notable Perks: Administration and full time year round faculty earn 6.769 hours of paid leave bi-weekly, Staff earn 4-6 hours bi-weekly depending on how long they’ve worked for the university.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors earn $72,500 on average, Research Associates earn $41,700 on average, hourly Graduate Research Assistants earn $18.64 per hour on average.

#9. University of Kansas


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Location: Lawrence, KS


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees cite strong vacation and retirement benefits, good pay for full time faculty positions and reasonable pay for most of the other positions. The CEO of the university enjoys a 96% approval rating among employees signalling strong and fair leadership.

Notable Perks: Vacation days accrue on a per-pay-period basis for both hourly and salaried employees based on how long they they have worked for the university and how many hours they work. Employee loyalty is rewarded, those with the school for 10+years can accrue as many as 6.7 paid vacation hours per pay period (every two weeks).

Average Salary: Assistant Professors average $72,000 per year, Teaching Assistants average $11.38 per hour, post-doctoral research associates earn an average of $35,000 per year.

#10. Texas A&M University


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Location: College Station, TX


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Large tuition discounts, a laid back environment, flexible scheduling, and a great reputation are all key components of employee happiness. 84% of employees would recommend working at TAMU to a friend according to a glassdoor survey.

Notable Perks: Great incentives, especially for hourly employees including raises based on amount of hours worked. Health benefits are strong and Dental can be added for a reasonable cost.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors earn an average of $78,100 per year, Postdoctoral Research Associates earn $37,200 per year on average, Assistant Research Scientists earn an average of $47,100 per year.


Glass Door

Chronicle of Higher Education

Other information was gleaned directly from university websites.

Ways to save on office supplies

When push comes to shove, the goal of any business is to make as much profit as you can while minimizing expenses. Sure, you’ve probably looked into all kinds of ways to do so, but have you ever considered that your office could be full of expenses waiting to be chopped?

No, relax, we’re not talking about laying off your co-workers or completing eliminating your Electronic Medical Records department. We’re talking about your office supplies and what you pay for them. Here’s a few ways you can cut your office supply expenses without turning your office into a prison.

Go generic

If you’re not already doing this in the office, you should be. While you want to show your co-workers that the office should be a comfortable environment, the fact is that you do not need the best brands of coffee, paper towels, or soap, among other office products. Pick out the cheapest possible option when it comes to these items, and chances are your co-workers either won’t notice the difference or won’t mind the difference.

In the bathroom

We do not, I repeat, do not, recommend skimping on toilet paper, as that will only leave your entire office unhappy. That is one area where remaining with a quality product will be beneficial to the office. However, when it comes to drying your hands, an electric dryer will be more inexpensive and less wasteful than constantly restocking your paper towel supply. Yes, the cost is much greater up front, so it can be a daunting switch, but in the long run it will pay off for your company.

Energy-efficient lighting

If you haven’t realized the benefits of energy-efficient lighting by now, you’re only costing yourself and your company a ton of money. Energy-efficient light bulbs last for much, much longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs while also saving energy and providing more light. Also, energy-efficient lighting should help your air conditioning as well, since incandescent bulbs give off much more heat.

Build a relationship with your supplier

As with anything in business, the key to success is building a relationship that benefits both parties. One way to do that is to explore rewards programs offered by a supplier, as even the smallest discount or reward will help your company do business with your supplier.

Remember, to the office supply companies, you’re the customer they’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to drive a hard bargain with them in order to save off of your own company’s bottom line, especially when it comes to larger or more frequent orders. As a reliable customer, chances are they’ll be willing to move on the price, at least a little bit.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to buy smarter for your office that can lower your expenses while maintaining the same quality, or even improving it in some cases, of your supplies.

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