Husband and wife team, Sara Blakely and Jesse Itzler, were recognized by Babson College’s Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs on Nov. 15. The college reported that the Atlanta residents have contributed significantly to the development of free enterprise throughout the world. They have four children.
Blakely is founder and CEO of SPANX, a women’s lingerie company that revolutionized the way women dress. She was one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the world and featured on the cover of Forbes magazine. In 2013, she signed the Giving Pledge to donate half of her wealth to benefit her larger mission of supporting women.
In 2006, she created the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation to empower women. To date, Blakely and Spanx have donated $25 million to support women through education and entrepreneurship.
A former MTV rapper, Itzler co-founded Marquis Jet, the world’s largest prepaid private jet card company in 2001, which he and his partner sold to Berkshire Hathaway/NetJets. He partnered with Zico coconut water, which they sold to The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. Itzler, a marathon runner, is a part owner of the Atlanta Hawks.
A top business college and world leader in entrepreneurship, Babson is located in Wellesley, Mass. Babson’s Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs falls under the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship. Blank graduated from Babson.
Nominations of world-class entrepreneurs celebrated by Babson total 110 since its inception. Through the academy, members have created millions of jobs around the world.