Wonder Women: At World Wrestling Entertainment, women are a driving force behind the company's success
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a booming, half-billion-dollar public company that built its brand around stars like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. So when WWE executives tell you something, you tend to listen. Not because they could reduce you to a pool of whimpering pain in a matter of seconds, but because they have the performance track record to back up what they say.
There are two things WWE wants you to know. First, the operative word is "entertainment," not "wrestling." Second, watch how you refer to the talent. They're not wrestlers; the men are "superstars" and the women "divas."
If you find that surprising, here's another revelation: to a large degree WWE is run by a few women. Sure, chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, the very public face of WWE, still sits atop the organizational chart. But it's estrogen rather than testosterone that wafts through the executive offices. Three women in particular — Donna Goldsmith, chief operating officer; Michelle Wilson, executive vice president of marketing; and Stephanie McMahon, executive vice president of creative development and operations — are the day-to-day drivers behind this $500 million-plus marketing engine.
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