Diane Hendricks: A Journey of Resilience and Triumph
Women In Business

Diane Hendricks: A Journey of Resilience and Triumph

Early Life and Challenges

Diane Hendricks, a remarkable figure in American business, was born into a conservative agricultural family in Osseo, Wisconsin. As the fourth of nine sisters, she shouldered significant responsibilities from a young age, tending to her family’s dairy farm. Despite societal norms dictating traditional gender roles, Diane harbored aspirations beyond the agricultural life.

Diane Hendricks: A Journey of Resilience and Triumph

Facing Adversity and Making Tough Choices

At just 17 years old, Diane confronted the challenges of young motherhood, giving birth to her first child. Forced to leave school, she moved to Janesville, Wisconsin, and married the father of her child, only to find herself a single mother three years later after a divorce. Determined to provide for her family, Diane took on unconventional work, including a stint as a Playboy Bunny, embodying the resilience and resourcefulness that would define her journey.

Seizing Opportunities and Building a Legacy

Undeterred by setbacks, Diane ventured into real estate, quickly establishing herself as a savvy entrepreneur in southern Wisconsin. At 22, she crossed paths with Ken Hendricks, a roofing contractor, whom she married in 1976. Together, they embarked on a transformative journey, acquiring and renovating hundreds of properties, laying the foundation for their future success.

In 1982, Diane and Ken co-founded ABC Supply Co. Inc., a pioneering wholesaler of building supplies and the largest distributor of roofing materials in the United States. Following Ken’s passing in 2007, Diane assumed the role of chairman and sole owner, steering the company to unprecedented heights.

Leadership and Impact

Beyond her role at ABC Supply, Diane’s influence extends across various industries as the chairman of Hendricks Holding Co., Inc. (HHC), overseeing a diverse portfolio spanning recycling, real estate development, manufacturing, and distribution. She also chairs NorthStar Medical Technologies LLC, a leader in medical imaging radioisotopes.

A Legacy of Success

Diane’s visionary leadership and unwavering determination have propelled her to extraordinary heights, reflected in her staggering net worth of $15 billion, making her the richest self-made woman in the United States. With ABC Supply boasting sales revenue of $14.7 billion in 2021, Diane Hendricks’ legacy as a trailblazer and titan of industry continues to inspire generations.


Diane Hendricks’ journey exemplifies the power of resilience, grit, and tenacity in overcoming adversity and achieving unparalleled success. From humble beginnings to global prominence, her story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, reminding us that with unwavering determination, anything is possible.


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