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Most Powerful Women: 10 strange but true facts

by Jessica Shambora

Fortune‘s 12th annual Most Powerful Women in Business list will be online tomorrow. Who are the newcomers? Who dropped off? Who rose in the rankings and who fell? Find out Thursday on

Also, you can catch Pattie co-hosting CNBC’s Squawk Box tomorrow, 8-9 a.m. EST. Joining her on the show: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, Xerox Chairman Anne Mulcahy and bank-industry analyst Meredith Whitney. The upcoming issue of Fortune, by the way, includes first-person career advice from Bartz, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Jeanne Jackson, a MPWomen list alum who this year took a big job at Nike .

Before the big unveiling tomorrow, we’re sharing some strange but true trivia we discovered while researching the 2009 MPWomen candidates:

  • PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, whom we featured on Postcards yesterday, was born on the same day as Microsoft’s Bill Gates: October 28, 1955.
  • Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld–in the news this week for her $16.7 billion bid to buy Cadbury –is an avid Rollerblader.
  • Xerox ‘s new CEO, Ursula Burns, joined the company as an intern in 1980 and never left. She’s also the first black female Fortune 500 CEO and the first woman to be handed the reins of a Fortune 500 company by another woman (Anne Mulcahy).
Courtesy of Anne Sweeney
  • Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group , started painting two years ago, taking lessons from Jill Douglas at the Brentwood Art Center. She’s a fast learner. Right: Sweeney’s painting of her son, Chris, based on a photo taken on Martha’s Vineyard 18 years ago.
  • Ellen Kullman was named CEO of DuPont in January. Among her 60,000 employees is Mike Kullman, her husband. He is DuPont’s director of marketing innovation, reporting to SVP and chief science and technology officer Uma Chowdhry.
  • Colleen Goggins, consumer-group boss at Johnson & Johnson ,  is an avid gardener. She helped establish a community farmers’ market in New Brunswick, N.J., J&J’s home, to give people better access to locally grown produce.
  • Avon President Liz Smith knows how to relax: “I don’t know if it’s an unconscious reaction to living with a household of guys, but when not drafted to play baseball, soccer or football by my sons, I like to sneak off and re-read Jane Austen novels. I’ve had the same set since college and they are my go-to books to chill out.”
  • Procter & Gamble’s Melanie Healey, recently named group president for North America, is a speedboat enthusiast.
  • Google’s Marissa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience, is the youngest person ever to make Fortune’s MPWomen list. That was last year, when she was 33. A decade ago, when she joined the start-up with the goofy name, Mayer gave Google a 2% chance of succeeding.
  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz both blow out their birthday candles on August 28.