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4 Lessons from Women Who Show Strong Leadership Qualities

February 16, 2018

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Women, men, and leaders around the world are fighting for fairness equality for women in business. It's hard work, but it's important and inspiring. It's also important to remember to simply recognize the lessons in life and business that leaders (who also happen to be women) can impart on us. 

From talks about overcoming adversity and entering uncharted territory to create a business, to learning how to start brilliant things based on your failures, these four women share unique, tried-and-true tips for strong leadership, and they share some really inspiring stories in the process. 

Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?

Dame Stephanie Shirley

Dame Stephanie Shirley is the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of, or that's how TED describes her. In her colorful, entertaining talk, she tells the story of herself as a child refugee, how she went by "Steve," and how she channeled her ambition to blow past the expectations of the time to create a successful tech enterprise, philanthropic focus, and family. Plus, she shares some sure-fire ways to identify ambitious women.

"We live our lives forward...I learned that tomorrow's never going to be like today, and certainly nothing like yesterday. And that made me able to cope with change, indeed, eventually to welcome change (though I'm told I'm still very difficult)."

—Stephanie Shirley


Women Entrepreneurs, Example Not Exception

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle brings to our attention to the fact that although women are running all types of firms, they are often overlooked in finance – but, as the World Economic Forum noted, "Smaller gender gaps are directly correlated with increased economic competitiveness. And not one country in all the world has eliminated its economic participation gap – not one."

"It's time for us all to think bigger."

—Gayle Tzemach Lemmon


Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

Sheryl Sandberg

In her talk at TEDWomen, Sheryl Sandberg discusses this problem: women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world; and the bigger problem: women face harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment. Sheryl offers three powerful suggestions for what we as individuals can do to keep women in the workforce and keep them from dropping out before reaching the top

"I think a world where half of our countries and our companies were run by women would be a better world. It's not just because people would know where the women's bathrooms are, even though that would be very helpful. I think it would be a better world."

—Sheryl Sandberg


Harvard Commencement Speech

J.K. Rowling

Failure and imagination are the keys to success. Failure can guide you to understand yourself and your true passion, and imagination gives you the opportunity to use these passions to do good.

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned."

—J.K. Rowling


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Claire McCue Claire McCue is the Manager of Digital Marketing and PR at PSI. She specializes in content marketing for the talent management, leadership, higher education, certification, and licensing industries.