Laurene Powell initially became famous for being the wife of American billionaire businessman and former Apple Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs. She has however built her own popularity over the years, owing to her deep commitment to humanitarian activities. Just like her late husband, Laurene Powell is also a business executive and philanthropist. She has founded and co-founded several life-impacting companies and organizations, especially with regard to education, social justice, and environmental conservation.
Now the widow of the late business magnate, Laurene manages a good part of Steve Jobs’ estate including the Steven P. Jobs Trust but is most popular as the founder and CEO of Emerson Collective.
How Laurene Powell’s Early Life Prepared Her For Wealth
Laurene Powell is an American who was born on the 6th day of November 1963 in West Milford, New Jersey. She lost her father to a plane crash at the age of 3. Following her father’s death, her mother remarried.
Laurene grew up in her birthplace, West Milford alongside her two siblings, Brad and Tracy Powell. On finishing high school, she proceeded to the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences for a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She also earned a B.Sc. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1985.
On completing her studies at Penn, Powell landed a job at Merrill Lynch Global Asset Management Limited in New York City. She later worked for Goldman Sachs for three years. In 1989, she enrolled for her postgraduate studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, receiving her M.B.A in 1991.
Steve Jobs Would Rather Spend His Last Day On Earth With Powell Than At A Business Meeting
The love story of Laurene Powell and Steve Jobs began in 1989 when they first met while studying at Stanford and Steve was there to deliver a speech. Having arrived when the seats were all filled up, Laurene was offered a seat in the reserved area next to Steve and the duo struck up a conversation before Steve took the stage. According to her, she did not know who he was at the time and guessed he might be Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.
Later in the evening, while he was at a parking lot set for a business meeting, he saw the beautiful Laurene and asked himself if that day was his last on earth would he prefer spending it with her or in a meeting. His answer was the former and decided to ask her out. They had their date that night together and the rest became history.
The pair married on the 18th day of March 1991. The wedding, which was a Buddhist ceremony, came off at the Ahwahnee Hotel located in the famous Sierra Nevada mountains’ Yosemite National Park in California. The couple would remain together until the death of Steve Jobs on October 5, 2011, two decades after they got married.
Before they met, Steve has previously dated a woman known as Chrisann Brennan. She was his partner from 1972 to 1977. On the part of Powell, it is not known if she dated anyone before Jobs, but after his death, she dated former Washington D.C mayor, Adrian Fenty who was once married with three kids. The relationship later came to an end and then in 2019, she was said to have started yet another relationship with celebrated chef, Daniel Humm.
She Had Three Kids With Steve Jobs
Laurene Powell and Steve Jobs shared three kids together – Reed, Erin, and Eve. Reed, the first child and son was born in September 1991. Erin, the second child – and first daughter – arrived in 1995. Laurene and Steve finally welcomed Eve in 1998.
Reed’s occupation at the moment is not known, but Erin is an architecture and designer while Eve is an equestrian. In addition to her three biological children, Powell is also a stepmother to Lisa Brennan-Jobs, a daughter from Steve Jobs’ previous relationship born in 1978. Lisa is a writer and journalist.
Powell is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Stanford University as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations. She currently lives in Palo Alto, California with her children.
Laurene Powell Made Her Wealth But Inherited Even More
Laurene Powell has a current net worth of $27 billion. Although she initially had a significant amount of wealth to her name, her husband’s death skyrocketed her worth after she inherited his stake (the Steven P. Jobs Trust) in The Walt Disney Company as well as his shares in Apple Inc.
In addition to her late husband’s assets, Powell manages a number of businesses that contribute to her net worth. She is a co-founder of Terravera, a company that supplies natural foodstuffs to food manufacturing companies across northern California. Laurene, via her Emerson Collective, also acquired majority ownership of The Atlantic magazine. Moreover, the businesswoman recently became one of the major owners of Monumental Sports & Entertainment after purchasing about twenty percent of the company’s shares.
In 2017, she expanded her investment to sports where she acquired a 20 percent stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The company is the parent of Washington Wizards of the NBA and Washington Capitals of the NHL. With that, she is the largest shareholder of the company only after Ted Leonsis.
Adding to Laurene’s wealth are her properties in real estate, including a $16.5 million house on Russian Hill, San Francisco, which she acquired in May 2018. She also owns several cars, two private jets, and a 100 million yacht.
With all that she has to her name, Powell has been among the richest women in the world for quite a while now.
She Is Also Involved In Several Humanitarian Ventures
We have the tools, minds, & motivation to address climate change now. Honored to address the global community leading the effort at #COP22. pic.twitter.com/P21wiCm73l
— Laurene Powell Jobs (@laurenepowell) November 17, 2016
In 1997, Laurene Powell co-founded College Track, a non-profit organization located in East Palo Alto which focuses on increasing the rate at which underprivileged students graduate from high school, enroll in colleges as well as complete their education. Laurene is also one of the founding members of the Climate Leadership Council.
In 2004, she founded Emerson Collective, a private humanitarian organization also based in Palo Alto which focuses on advocating for education and immigration policies reform, social justice, media/journalism, and environmental preservation. The establishment also partners with and supports startups and organizations that work in the above-mentioned areas.
In September 2015, Laurene initiated “XQ: The Super School Project”. The $150 million project which is funded by Emerson Collective is aimed at creating high schools with improved plans and approaches to teaching and learning.
Powell is also a member of the Board of Directors of Conservation International. Laurene also served in the BoD of Achieva as well as on the Advisory Board of Udacity Inc. which are both organizations that assist students. Other institutions that Powell is committed to include NewSchools Venture Fund’s Investment Arm, New America Foundation, ODC San Francisco, Global Fund for Women, CleanFish, KQED (PBS), TPG The Rise Fund, and Ed Voice.