September 2023  -  Article

Barbie’s Legacy of Empowerment: Meet Six Extraordinary Women Who Reinvented their Career

By Claire Harbour and Antoine Tirard

According to Mattel, Barbie has had over 200 careers. Barbie knows you can be anything you want — so what do you want to be?  Need some inspiration?

As Barbie is coming back and her movie is making history with over $1 billion at the box office, we want to celebrate women who were able – like Barbie — to change careers.

Meet Sumana, Jingjin, Shelley, Joy, Rahaf and Diane — six extraordinary women we interviewed for a range of articles over the past few years, who are true role models of career agility and reinvention. Read their stories and find some inspiration. So, what do you want to be?


Rekindling the Creative in Yourself and Blossoming as Full Time Artist

Sumana, an Indian national, studied business and pursued her career in marketing in the insurance industry. A chance encounter in Paris reignited her passion for music, prompting her to pursue it alongside her corporate job. Sumana eventually transitioned to life as a full-time musician, successfully building her brand and gaining recognition for her musical talent.

Read Sumana’s story


Once an Entrepreneur, Always an Entrepreneur

Jingjin’s upbringing in China, followed by her schooling in Germany, instilled in her a drive for success. She pursued a career as an industrial engineer, excelling in the corporate world. She then ventured into entrepreneurship and ultimately founded ZaZaZu, an education platform with a vision to empower women.

Read Jingjin’s story


Rebounding from Adversity to Advantage after a Major Setback 

Shelley lived a turbulent start in life with addiction and incarceration. Despite her stigma, she turned her life around. Thanks to her faith, pursuing education and her determination, she ultimately secured a job at Microsoft and  became a sought-after public speaker who promotes the benefits of hiring the formerly incarcerated.

Read Shelley’s story


Climbing the Corporate Ladder When You’re Socially Disadvantaged

Joy comes from a lineage of farmers, perceived as “poorest of the poor” in the Philippines. Despite facing cultural and economic disparities, she earned academic scholarships, and supported herself and her family as a marketing professional in multinational companies. She recently graduated from an MBA at INSEAD and continues her successful career journey in Europe.

Read Joy’s story


Resettling and Restarting Your Career as a Refugee

Rahaf, a determined Syrian student, pursued her education amidst war and adversity. She married Tamim and they settled in the Netherlands as refugees. They launched a business, with Forward Incubator’s support, creating a coffee substitute from date seeds. Rahaf inspires others with her message of resilience and optimism, emphasizing the importance of always moving forward.

Read Rahaf’s story


Stepping Down to Find Happiness

Diane’s journey from France to becoming a ranger in an Australian national park was driven by a desire for adventure and personal fulfillment. Following a marketing career in the cosmetic industry, she moved to down under, embraced volunteer roles to learn about the outback, overcame many obstacles and ultimately became a ranger.

Read Diane’s story

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