23. Christine M. Day
23. Christine M. Day
CEO, Lululemon Athletica

In the past 13 years, Lululemon has grown from a single shop in Vancouver to the world's leading yoga outfitter with more than $700 million in annual sales. Day joined the company in 2008 after a 20-year career at Starbucks, where she started as Howard Schultz's assistant and wound up running the Asia-Pacific group. Day has brought much-needed corporate discipline to Lululemon, keeping the company focused on its core market of upscale yoga enthusiasts. The company distributes through yoga studios and fitness clubs in all its markets, and enlists local yoga instructors to promote its line of high-tech performance wear. Day herself is a regular yoga practitioner, and her emphasis on maintaining strong ties with the yoga community has helped Lululemon differentiate itself from larger competitors like Nike and Adidas. Authenticity pays: This year Lululemon boasted some of the highest sales per square foot of retail space in the global apparel industry.

By Richard McGill Murphy, contributor @FortuneMagazine - Last updated November 17 2011: 5:58 PM ET
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