She joined eBay in 1997 and spent a decade as the company CEO. eBay sored through the rise and fall of the dot-com era with huge growth quarter after quarter and year after year. The effort made her one of an elite few females who can call themselves billionaires.
Fortune Magazine repeatedly named Whitman one of the Top 5 most powerful women during her eBay tenure.
Whitman's political involvement stopped at her checkbook until recent years.
She first took to the national political stage in 2008 when she spoke at the Republican National Convention. The speech was in support of then-candidate Sen. John McCain.
That same year she served on the finance team of McCain competitor Mitt Romney. Both Romney and McCain have endorsed Whitman's race for governor.
She announced her run for the state house in September 2009 and has pretty much self-funded the entire campaign. Whitman will have spent at least $50 million of her own money by the time she has an official democratic rival on June 10.
Whitman's campaign has said she is willing to spend as much as $150 million of her own money by the time Californians punch their ballots in November. Most of the cash is going to statewide radio and television ads.
Whitman says her three top priorities as governor would be: job creation, reduced state spending and education reform.
She has been married to Griff Harsh, who is a neurosurgeon-surgeon at Stanford, for nearly 30 years. They have two adult children: Griff and Will.