At 17, Faith Newman would take a Greyhound bus from Philadelphia to New York, her Walkman pumping out a personal soundtrack of disco and soul hits. "I'd round the turnpike and see the Twin Towers, singing the lyrics 'searching for a destiny that's mine' from Imagination's 'Just an Illusion,' and dream of conquering the music business," she says. Newman did just that. Hired while still in college as the only female executive at Def Jam, she carved out a distinct career in hip-hop, and as an A&R executive at Sony, she oversaw landmark albums by Nas and Jamiroquai.

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