How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Supermodel's tragedy seeds global philanthropy

April 21, 2014: 8:30 AM ET

If real power is what you do beyond your platform, Petra Nemcova has attained real power.

FORTUNE -- Petra Nemcova's success is a little different from yours and mine—she's a supermodel who appeared on the cover of the 2003 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, among other well-known magazines. In 2004, Nemcova's life changed when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck Thailand, where she and her fiance were on vacation. He got swept away—his body was found months later—while the Czech-born supermodel clung to the top of a palm tree for eight hours and somehow lived to tell her story.

And so she did last week at Fortune's Most Powerful Women dinner in New York City, when she sat on stage with me to talk about Happy Hearts Fund, a charity born out of tragedy. A decade after the tsunami, Nemcova, now 34, has raised $16 million with the support of Estee Lauder's (EL) Clinique brand, jeweler Chopard, Microsoft (MSFT), SAP (SAP) and United Airlines (UAL) to help children in areas impacted by natural disasters. Here she talks about building 85 disaster-proof schools in seven countries, and that is just the beginning of her mission...

  • How great marketers tell stories

    Former P&G marketing chief Jim Stengel says that the best companies tell two types of stories to build strong and enduring brands.

    This is Part 5 of a series for by Jim Stengel,  former global CMO of Procter & Gamble and author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies. In today's Guest Post and his final Guest Post next Friday, Jim digs into the best practices MORE

    - Apr 18, 2014 8:00 AM ET
  • Samantha Power on bringing the war front home

    Ambassador Samantha Power joined Fortune's Most Powerful Women community in New York for a discussion on Ukraine, human rights and raising two children while working with President Obama. 

    FORTUNE -- It is a busy time for Samantha Power -- to say the least. As the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama's Cabinet, Power is currently fighting the escalating conflict in Ukraine, dealing with a report from the United Nations of the routine MORE

    - Apr 16, 2014 10:28 PM ET
  • A Coke exec's lessons from an unlikely visitor

    One of Coca-Cola's top marketing executives found unexpected lessons about work and life from her Zimbabwean mentee.

    FORTUNE - Wendy Clark, SVP of Coca-Cola's Global Sparkling Brand Center, is a participant in this year's Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women's Mentoring program, which brings rising-star women from developing countries to the U.S. each year to shadow participants of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Since the program launched in 2006, more than 250 MORE

    - Apr 16, 2014 8:00 AM ET
    Posted in: ,
  • How investing in curiosity pays off big at Discovery

    At cable TV giant Discovery Communications, believing in a Brand Ideal -- and betting big money on it -- has helped quadruple the stock.

    This is Part 4 of a series for by Jim Stengel,  former global CMO of Procter & Gamble and author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies. In today's Guest Post and in two more over the next two Fridays, Jim digs into the best MORE

    - Apr 11, 2014 8:00 AM ET
  • Murdoch talks about wooing DreamWorks chief to Fox

    Is DreamWorks movie boss Stacey Snider headed to 20th Century Fox? If Rupert Murdoch has his way, she will be.

    FORTUNE -- Rupert Murdoch, in an exclusive interview released today in the new issue of Fortune, confirms the rumor churning through Hollywood: He is trying to lure Stacey Snider, the co-chairman and CEO of DreamWorks Studios, to 20th Century Fox.

    "I'm a great admirer of her. And I've had long talks with MORE

    - Apr 10, 2014 3:25 PM ET
  • Rupert Murdoch on his divorce, succession, and his empire's future

    In his first wide-ranging interview in five years, Rupert Murdoch talks about remaking his business, luring back his son Lachlan, divorcing Wendi Deng, and moving beyond a very trying past few years.

    FORTUNE -- "I had a very bad month in January and February. I had a fall in San Francisco. I fell on my head," says Rupert Murdoch in an exclusive interview with Fortune Magazine that covers the gamut of the media titan's MORE

    - Apr 10, 2014 7:33 AM ET
  • How Motorola found a new way to grow

    Motorola Solutions, which played a historic role on D-Day and in the first moonwalk, found new growth by rebuilding around clear ideals that everyone can relate to and be proud of.

    This is Part 3 of a series for by Jim Stengel,  former global CMO of Procter & Gamble and author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies. In today's Guest Post and in four more MORE

    - Apr 4, 2014 8:00 AM ET
  • How women can make the VC money flow

    Masters of the venture capital universe tend to be male and biased toward funding guys with decent business plans and big dreams. How can women entrepreneurs compete?

    Guest Post by Mary Civiello

    FORTUNE -- If you're a woman entrepreneur looking to raise money, chances are high that you're pitching to men. Fewer than 10% of venture capitalists in the U.S. are female, and gender biases prevail. Academic and anecdotal evidence indicates:

    - VCs MORE

    - Apr 2, 2014 8:30 AM ET
  • Method is the new green giant in Chicago

    The fast-growing, eco-friendly company is building an innovative manufacturing plant on Chicago's ripe-for-renewal South Side.

    This is Part 2 of a series for by Jim Stengel,  former global CMO of Procter & Gamble and author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies. In today's Guest Post and in four more over the next four Fridays, Jim digs into the best practices of the best ideal-based companies MORE

    - Mar 28, 2014 8:05 AM ET
Fortune's Most Powerful Women
Fortune's Most Powerful Women For the latest on the most influential women in business, philanthropy, government, and the arts, like us on Facebook.
Guest Posts
Fortune Most Powerful Women Fortune Most Powerful Women The rolodex that redefined power
Profile in The Washington Post
Sheryl Sandberg: Sheryl Sandberg: Don't leave before you leave
COO of Facebook
Wendy Clark Wendy Clark Exec learns firsthand how the homeless live
SVP of the Global Sparkling Brand Center at Coca-Cola
Marissa Mayer's 3 biggest decisions as Yahoo CEO With company stock up over 100% since she began running the company 16 months ago, Mayer reflects on her choices to date. Watch
Chelsea Clinton on running for office: 'I don't know' The vice chairman of the Clinton Foundation talks about her diverse career path and growing up in the spotlight. Watch
MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

Read more

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

Email Pattie Sellers | Welcome to Postcards.
Follow Pattie | email newsletter
Powered by VIP.