Shari Arison: Powerful Businesswoman and Philanthropist

Israeli-American businesswoman Shari Arison
Israeli-American businesswoman Shari Arison

Shari Arison was born in New York City in 1957. She spent her youth between Israel and the United States and eventually served in the Israel Defense Forces, IDF. When her father passed away she inherited 35 percent of his estate, which was substantial, as he was the founder and owner of Carnival Corporation, the cruise ship company. She has been recognized as the “richest woman in the Middle East” and the 392nd richest person in the world, by Forbes. The magazine also ranked Arison as the world’s 64th most powerful woman, alongside Hilary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth and Lady Gaga.

Arison is the owner and director of the Arison Group, which includes Bank Hapoalim, the largest bank in Israel. The Group also controls a global real estate company and the primary salt manufacturer in Israel.

The Ted Arison Family Foundation, named in honor of Arison’s father, is her primary vehicle for her generous philanthropy. So far, the foundation has given over $260 million to a variety of social, educational, youth, health, sports and cultural causes in Israel.

One of Arison’s endeavors that she is most well-known for is her founding of Israel’s “Good Deeds Day.” Established about 10 years ago, with about 7,000 participants, this year it is expected there will be over 370,000 people involved in 5,200 separate projects throughout 191 municipalities, 81 of which are Arab towns, throughout Israel.

In 2012 Arison launched International Good Deeds Day, with events planned in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC, and in 50 countries.

Arison believes that women in the board room should remain women, and not try and mimic their male counterparts.

“Too often women try to be men at work and I think that’s a mistake. Women are very insightful and have great intuition. If they would use the compassion and love they have as mothers and bring that into the workforce and the world that would be a huge contribution.”

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