Too many to count: In’s newest power list,
The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, we weren’t surprised to see the
likes of German Chancellor Andrea Merkel, Hillary Clinton and
Condoleeza Rice.  But the bulk of the list is made up of women CEOs like Indra Nooyi, above,
boomer women who have quietly slid in and changed the world when we
weren’t looking. Like these:

#3 – Indra Nooyi. Nooyi continues to grow PepsiCo, the $39
billion food and beverage giant, through new product offerings and
acquisitions. Company subsidiaries Quaker, Gatorade and FritoLay
introduced a new line of whole-grain oatmeal and granola bars called
Simple Harvest, and G2, a low-calorie “lifestyle beverage” for
athletes. Nooyi orchestrated a major expansion into international
markets, most notably with a $1.4 billion acquisition of a 75% stake in
Russian juice giant Lebedyansky.

#10 – Anne Mulcahy, Xerox.
Mulcahy, credited with pulling
iconic copier manufacturer from the brink of financial collapse, wins for her remarkable turnaround effort. In June she
became the first woman to be named by her peers as Chief Executive of
the Year, an honor previously bestowed on the likes of Bill Gates and
Jack Welch. But don’t look for Long Island, N.Y., native Mulcahy to
rest on any laurels. To fend off rivals Canon and Hewlett-Packard,
she’s doubled the software R&D budget to $1.5 billion and focused
research efforts on color printing and eco-friendly technologies.

#24 Julie Gerberding, director, the Center for Disease Control. Her agency gets press when dealing with
outbreaks, pandemics and bioterrorism, but under Gerberding the CDC has
made positive strides with everyday issues as well. Her “Healthy People
at Every Stage of Life” initiative has introduced programs for smoking
cessation and screening for heart disease and stroke, and pushes for
increased physical education in U.S. elementary schools. Gerberding
joined the CDC 10 years ago and was promoted to director in 2002.

And now she thrives:
Writer Wickham Boyle has a lot more on her mind than  updating her blog Midlife Mambo. After all, it’s less than two weeks till the opening at La Mama of Calling: An Opera of Forgiveness, described by Playbill as a show that “captures
the reactions and reflections of one family witnessing the
attack on the World Trade Center at close range, and the path they take
to move from chaos to recovery…” But after 35 years she told the New
York Times, she’s up to the challenge of presenting the opera:

Ms. Boyle, 58, a writer and a mother of two, was among those who
never would have contemplated a home base anywhere else (although she’s
lived large chunks of her life almost everywhere else — Niger, Algiers,
France and Italy, to start). … In 1976, the first year the New York
marathon left Central Park and took its current course through the five
boroughs, she finished among the top 30 women.

So dyslexic that she couldn’t tell time until she was 30, Ms.
Boyle nonetheless became a successful stockbroker in her 40s, when she
needed the money. It wasn’t just that she was a woman at that age that
made her unusual for the job. “These guys would call me, screaming,
‘Give me a quote!’ ” Ms. Boyle said. “And I’d say ‘To-morrow, and
to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to
the last syllable of recorded time.’ ” After a while, recalled Ms.
Boyle, the clients came to like it. “Give me the girl who gives you the
quote before she gives you the quote,” they used to say if they got
someone else on the phone.”

Her children, unsurprisingly, became the consummate city kids. Ms.
Boyle, who served as executive director at the experimental theater La
MaMa for eight years, says her daughter, who is now 23, saw 200 shows
in the first year of her life. “People would say things like, ‘Oh, the
whirling dervishes are rehearsing in the annex — I’ll take the baby,’ ”
said Ms. Boyle, who let them.

Just because it’s herbal doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care: With
all the conflicting information about HRT, many women have turned to
black cohosh, an herbal supplement derived from plants long used by
Native Americans to treat gynecological ailments. But soon, after a new
report from the agency that sets standards for food ingredients and
dietary supplements, all cohosh supplements may come with cautionary
labeling because of concerns it may harm the liver:

The report, in the recent issue of the journal Menopause, is a
change from the organization’s 2002 report, which called for no such
labeling. An editorial points out that, because of the great
variability in the contents of largely unregulated herbal remedies,
science will likely have difficulty proving or disproving the danger of
black cohosh…

The committee also recommends that women consult a physician before
using the remedy if they’ve ever had liver disease, or immediately if
they develop symptoms including dark urine, jaundice or abdominal pain
after taking it.

— Chris L.

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