Globally, and within South Africa women are not well represented in the top echelons of leadership. Maria Ramos, the current Group Chief Executive of Absa Group Limited, is ranked the 11th most powerful woman internationally as rated by Fortune magazine. A need exists to empower women. By obtaining insights into one woman's success, it may be able to be replicated, to fast track an equitable female representation at executive management levels much sooner than the 40 years currently envisioned. The research methodology is a case study, whilst adopting a qualitative approach through the use of semi structured interview questions. An analysis of Maria Ramos's career within the context of career anchors, gender barriers and enablers that helped her overcome the career barriers were performed. This study has contributed to literature by highlighting that there is no single driver for the ascendance to the top leadership position. There is evidence to suggest that there is a link between career anchors, specifically challenge incorporating the love of complexity and a rise to prominence. Androgynous leadership, positive self perception, social capital and mentoring provided a good foundation.