By Ross Kohan
November 1, 2016

Only 21 CEOs on the Fortune 500 list are women—and Ilene Gordon is one of them. She is the chief executive of Ingredion, a food supply giant that services more than 100 countries.

Since she became CEO in 2009, she has been credited with rescuing and transforming the sleepy 100-year-old Illinois-based company. Revenues have surged under her leadership to $5.5 billion, while the stock has quintupled.

Speaking with Fortune’s Susie Gharib at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, Gordon talked about how she got to where she is today: She sought out mentors, she volunteered for demanding assignments, she took risks, and she worked hard.

Most of all, she says, her greatest asset was “never accepting the status quo.” As a science and math graduate from MIT, she credits her “strong analytical background” for helping her to spot new ways to improve the businesses she managed. “I’m one of those people always pushing for change and growth,” Gordon says, “and how do we do better.”


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