Name: Cara Carleton “Carly” Fiorina
What she does now: Fiorina runs the Unlocking Potential Project, an initiative to bring more women voters into the Republican Party.
What she used to do: Fiorina was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005. She was the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company.
Declared a candidate: May 4, 2015 in an exclusive interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America.”
In her own words: “When I was typing in that little company, and indeed, throughout my career, I needed someone to take a chance on me. When I battled cancer, I needed helping hands. … Everyone needs a helping hand, but no one wants to be trapped in the web of dependence that has been woven over decades in our nation. To fill their potential, people need an education: tools, training, support, and they need a job.” (Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 26, 2015)
Family tree: Fiorina’s father, Joseph Tyree Sneed III, served as a United States Deputy Attorney General under President Richard Nixon. He later served as a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for more than 30 years, and also served on the panel that tapped Kenneth Starr to probe President Bill Clinton’s financial dealings – an investigation that later uncovered the Monica Lewinsky Affair. Fiorina’s mother, Madelon, was an artist. Fiorina has two daughters and two granddaughters, and lives in Virginia with her husband.
Cut her teeth in politics: Serving as an economic advisor to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 Republican presidential bid. She was also the Republican candidate in the 2010 California Senate race, which she lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer by about 10 points.
Education: Fiorina studied philosophy and medieval history as an undergrad at Stanford University. She later received an MBA from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Potential baggage: While Fiorina touts her executive experience with Hewlett-Packard, she left the company on poor terms in 2005 after orchestrating a controversial merger with Compaq, and she remains a polarizing figure in the tech community. Fiorina has since defended her tenure, and said her ouster was the result of boardroom politics and not her record.
How she got her start in business: Fiorina started as a sales representative at AT&T, and would later become head of North American sales. She later oversaw the spin-off of Lucent Technologies from AT&T, and helped revitalize the brand.
Also know for: Framing herself as the anti-Hillary Clinton candidate for the Republican Party – as both the GOP’s sole female candidate, and a dogged critic of Clinton’s record. Additionally, the cover of Clinton’s 2014 memoir “Hard Choices” resembles the cover of Fiorina’s similarly named 2006 memoir “Tough Choices.”
Might have wished for a do-over: Her 2010 Senate campaign released an ad accusing her Republican primary opponent, Tom Campbell, of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing – literally. The spot, now known as the “Demon Sheep” ad, was widely panned. She also left the Senate race with hundreds of thousands in campaign debt.