Janet Yellen is arguably the most powerful woman in the world.
Yet few Americans have actually heard of her — about 70% of the U.S. population doesn’t know who Yellen is, according to a NBC/WSJ poll from March.
As leader of America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, Yellen has immense influence over global financial markets and the U.S. economy. Trillions of dollars can be lost or gained based on how investors interpret each word that comes out of Yellen’s mouth.
But volatile financial markets are the last thing Yellen wants. In fact, she often speaks in a monotone voice about Fed policy, attempting to avoid words or intonation that might rattle investors.
Yellen has cultivated a calm demeanor since her high school days in Brooklyn, New York, where she was a valedictorian. Along the way, Yellen has impressed many people, and not just for her smarts and her performance under pressure. She has also wowed friends with her cooking skills and her eclectic taste in different kinds of foods.
Yellen is very much in the spotlight now. She and the Fed could make history on Thursday with a move that has the potential to impact millions of Americans and global financial markets.