Celebrating IWD: 20 Leadership Quotes from the World’s Top Female CEOs
On International Women’s Day we celebrate the many and varied achievements of women in marketing and business across the world. Women are a driving force in our industry and are highly represented in the marketing sector, as reflected in the fact that here at BSSA 67% of the associates are women. The high level of representation in the sector perhaps protects us from some gender inequity issues in our day-to-day workplace experiences, but we have not lost sight of the fact that true gender equality is yet to be realized anywhere in the world.
Traditional brick-and-mortar companies have a low percentage of female CEOs, with figures in the U.S. reaching just under 5% for the Fortune 500 list and only 6.3% for the current S&P 500. The situation persists despite corporate and societal efforts to progress towards gender parity, harassment-free workplaces, and pay and promotion equality. With the hope the gender gap will be breached soon, today we proudly celebrate the great women in our sector as we inspire them to be their best selves.
We have gathered leadership quotes from 20 of the most extraordinary female CEOs of the world who have inspired, motivated, and empowered those around them and hopefully, their words can do the same for you.
1. Estee Lauder – Founder
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”
2. Gail Blanke – President of Lifedesigns
“Walt Disney told his crew to ‘build the castle first when constructing Disney World, knowing that vision would continue to serve as motivation throughout the project. Oftentimes when people fail to achieve what they want in life, it’s because their vision isn’t strong enough.”
3. Robin Chase – Founder of ZipCar
“I have never been motivated by money.”
4. Anita Roddick – Founder of The Body Shop
“Whatever you do, be different. If you’re different, you will stand out.”
5. Virginia Rometty – CEO of IBM
“I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.”
6. Ann Handley – CCO of MarketingProfs
“Be an amateur. Not everything you do has to be good, especially at first.”
7. Mary T. Barra – CEO of General Motors
“Don’t confuse progress with winning.”
8. Alaina Percival – CEO of Women Who Code
“I realized that if I was willing to step up and be in the spotlight, I’d be able to make everyone else around me much more powerful as well.”
9. Leah Busque – Founder of TaskRabbit
“I wake up every morning and think to myself, ‘How far can I push the company forward in the next 24 hours.”
10. Marissa Mayer – Former President of Yahoo!
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
11. Virginia M. Rometty – CMO of IBM
“Don’t let others define you. Define yourself.”
12. Denise M. Morrison – CEO of Campbell Soup Co.
“You can lead the change or be a victim of change.”
13. Meg Whitman – CEO of Quibi
“The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of a mistake.”
14. Alexandra Chong – CEO and founder of Lulu
“Build something you’re passionate about. As an entrepreneur, you have to have the passion and drive to stay the course.”
15. Ellen J. Kullman – CEO of DuPont
“With kids, they don’t do what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Organizations don’t necessarily, either. You’ve got to listen. You’ve got to learn how to influence.”
16. Irene B. Rosenfeld – CEO of Mondelez International, Inc.
“Our emerging workforce is not interested in command and control leadership. They don’t want to do things because l said so, they want to do things because they want to do them.”
17. Lynn Good – CEO of Duke Energy
“Effectiveness comes from those qualitative things that give you the ability to network, communicate and lead people toward an outcome they can’t see.
18. Sara Blakely – Founder of Spanx
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”
19. Coco Chanel – Founder of Chanel
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
20. Indra Nooyi – CEO of 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.”
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BBSA – Anna Stella, Marketing Expert & CEO