Diane Hendricks: Lessons From America’s Richest Self-made Woman

November 22 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Looking Inward

If you start every workday feeling tepid, then it’s time for a change. Sure, you can’t be enthusiastic every day about every task, but if you consistently find yourself feeling little to no energy in the workplace, try this little tip a friend told me about.

Grab a pen and notebook (You know, those writing tools that existed before computers.) and start writing about the intricacies of your job. I call this “focused stream of consciousness,” and the goal is to take a good, hard look at any positive or negative characteristics that keep you in the job or have you longing for something different. You might get your a-ha moment by the second minute or it might be 30 minutes before you uncover the truth. Listen to yourself and you’ll find your answer.


Every year, Fortune magazine runs a list of the most powerful women. For some reason, I’m not on that list, but 51 other women have made the cut. Twenty-two of the spots on Fortune’s list are held by C-level executives from companies like YouTube and Facebook, and most of the featured women are in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

While we all define success and power differently, and it seems nearly impossible to narrow it down, what I love about these kinds of lists is that they get women noticed.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Diane Hendricks, Co-founder and Chairwoman of ABC Supply

One woman who could’ve easily landed on Fortune’s list of most powerful women is Diane Hendricks. While you may have never heard of her, Diane is a business powerhouse. This daughter of dairy farmers is the richest self-made woman in the country. Yeah, no big deal.

In 1982, Diane and her husband created a roofing-supply company called ABC Supply. It grew and grew and grew some more. Then, 25 years later, her husband passed away. Despite Diane’s grief, she was determined to continue running the company. And with a ton of hard work, she grew it beyond what anyone could have imagined.

After a few years, she bought a rival company, and within the past decade, sales have more than doubled. Last year, ABC Supply had an astonishing $6 billion in sales from its more than 600 stores.

ABC Supply is America’s largest wholesale distributor of roofing, and one of the biggest distributors of everything else a building needs, from siding to windows, tools and gutter materials. And the company has received 10 consecutive Gallup Great Workplace Awards, given to companies that focus on employee engagement.

This biz wiz has some great tips for entrepreneurs. Before you start a business, she recommends making sure you’re committed to the idea because it’s going to take a lot of work. Also, take more than an afternoon to put your business plan together. (She and her husband worked for two years on theirs!) Accept that your path might not be exactly as you envisioned and believe in what you’re doing, regardless of what others may say. Say yes to opportunities and don’t give up. And my favorite tip? Juggle your personal and professional responsibilities in a way that best works for you.


Achieving your goals might make you wealthy or leave you scraping by. But the thing that matters most is going out there and pursuing your purpose. As the oh so fashionable and wise Coco Chanel said:

“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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