We may not have these women on speed-dial, but we can still benefit from their wisdom. All of the women featured, these extraordinary leaders, command their respective fields, so they have the insights into what it takes to be successful. Below are some of their thoughts on life, leadership and success which I trust will inspire you at least as much as they inspire me.
1. Melinda Gates, philanthropist and co-founder, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation
“If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.”
2. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
3. J.K. Rowling, author
"Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default."
4. Anna Wintour, OBE, editor-in-chief American Vogue
"People respond well to those that are sure of what they want."
5. Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo
"Leadership is hard to define, and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader."
6. Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo
"I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ’Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough."
7. Lady Gaga, singer
“I used to walk down the street like I was a super star… I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be – and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.”
8. Malala Yousafzai, campaigner
“My mother always told me, ‘Hide your face, people are looking at you.’ I would reply, it does not matter, I am also looking at them.”
9. Abigail Johnson, president, FMR (parent of Fidelity Investments).
“I demand pretty aggressive goal setting and a commitment to measured progress towards those goals because I don’t like surprises. I don’t even like good surprises.”
10. Michelle Obama, lawyer
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
Women are disrupting traditional male bastions; they’re crashing through ceilings and showing themselves as worthy occupants of some of the most coveted positions in organizations around the world. This is great news: it empowers the rest of us to seize opportunities, armed with our unique talents and the welcome crumbs of wisdom tossed our way by the Sandbergs and the Yousafzais of this world. "Yes we can", is the clarion call from these successful women to the rest of us, and it behoves us, surely, to respond in kind.
What’s your takeaway from these quotes? Share your comments in the box below...