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Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs

Founder, Emerson Collective
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It’s hard to keep track of Laurene Powell Jobs. One day she’s in San Francisco, being interviewed by Kara Swisher at the Lesbians Who Tech & Allies conference. Or she’s having dinner in Los Angeles with Ben Affleck, with whom she collaborates in an effort to promote economic development in Eastern Congo. Or she’s delivering the keynote address at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual dinner in New York, delivering a blistering assault on President Trump and other threats to a thriving media.

Those who know her say that Powell Jobs, 56, has always had a remarkable energy level. But it’s hard not to notice how different her life is from the two decades she spent with her late husband, Apple founder Steve Jobs, and to wonder if Powell Jobs isn’t acting with a hard-earned awareness of life’s brevity. She married Jobs in 1991, spent two decades as his soulmate and anchor, and then found herself, after his death in October 2011, as the recipient of an estimated $20 billion in Apple and Disney stock.

In the nine years since, she has vastly expanded the work and scope of her umbrella organization, Emerson Collective, which helps fund organizations and people working in areas such as education, climate change and immigration. She has become one of the most powerful players in American media, purchasing icons such as Atlantic Media, publisher of The Atlantic, and newer publications such as California Sunday Magazine, while investing in any number of left-leaning news organizations. She spent a reported $500 million to buy into Monumental Sports & Media, owner of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and WNBA’s Washington Mystics, as well as their Capital One Arena.

America has seen wealthy heiresses before (think the Walton family), but none quite like Laurene Powell Jobs; she is, literally, without precedent. And she’s really only just starting.

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