Today is International Women’s Day. And this year’s theme is ‘Will You #BeBoldForChange?’
So I decided to pick 4 amazing business women, who have each been — and still are — a pioneer in their own field. I then went on to search for some of their messages of wisdom to inspire us to move forward with whatever it is we feel we want to accomplish.
MESSAGES OF WISDOM FROM 4 AMAZING BUSINESS WOMEN
She is Executive Chair for Sun Life Financial’s Quebec operations and Senior VP, Client Solutions for Sun Life Financial Canada. She also sits on the boards of a number of organizations. And she is co-founder of «L’effet A».
In an interview with Canadian Business, Isabelle Hudon says it’s lonely at the top and it’s worth it!
We cannot have it all. We cannot do it all. Maybe you can get a little closer to having it all if you know how to surround yourself with the very best people in your personal and professional life. It’s important to get good and strong people around you. But you have to make choices, and you have to know that you won’t be loved by everyone. It’s lonely at the top, and women tend to want to be loved by everyone.
Why I chose Isabelle Hudon?
Most of all, because of her role in launching and running «L’effet A»! This quite big undertaking has already allowed more than 650 women to participate in what they call the ‘100-day challenge’. I admire her guts and determination in taking such concrete steps to allow her to have a direct impact in helping the cause of women leaders in organizations. This initiative is almost certain to have a domino effect and therefore bring lasting results.
I also celebrate the fact that she has always looked so stylish and elegant. This tells me that she refused to change her office attire to adapt to a men’s world. She always assumed her style and feminity and that sends a positive message to women — You should be able to reach the top while remaining true to who you are. So you don’t have to dress like a man if that’s not your style, and you can wear heels and makeup if you want to.
She is now a counsel for Borden Ladner Gervais. But she also occupied many high-profile positions — she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada and her most impressive role was as the United Nations’ chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.
In an interview with Speak Truth To Power Canada, she revealed this about herself:
I have an intuitive, very profound concern for those who just never had a break. Never. Somebody has to care. … We’re only as good as what we can deliver to those who are perceived as the worst of us.
Every single job that I’ve had in my entire life, I was completely unqualified for… It may seem like an exaggeration, but it’s a way of saying I did a lot of things, which were hard. Each one of them was hard.
Why I chose Louise Arbour?
She made history with the indictment of sitting head of state, Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milošević. She fought for human rights and injustice. It takes such a strong person to accomplish what she has done. Yet when you read articles about her she seems so humble about it all. She truly exemplifies my idea of a role model.
She is in her second term as Managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
Some quotes from a conference she gave at a university in Dubai:
Life is not about corridor thinking. It’s about developing the ability to change.
Lagarde admitted that she still finds it a struggle to prove herself as a woman. This may be self-inflicted because we internalize clichés that abound about women. We then underestimate ourselves, so we over-prepare. We may prepare more than men who are doing the same tasks.
As a former athlete, the development of the brain, heart, soul and body are essential on your journey. It is a combination that comes together. Be driven by yourself and look after yourself and your spirituality, I still do yoga!
In an interview with CNN, she praises her mother’s strength for having raised her and her three brothers as a single mom. And she recognizes that one of the big challenges for women today is still how to harmonize your personal life with your professional life. “Sometimes you do feel guilty about not being able to attend your child’s event at school…My children today are grown up and tell me, fine mother don’t worry we are ok“.
Why I chose Christine Lagarde?
She is the first woman to lead the International Monetary Fund. A role that makes her one of the top leaders in global finance. That makes her one of the most powerful woman in the world.
I don’t think she needs to be introduced…
I like this quote I found in an interview on evancarmichael.com
What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal… The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant – and the success will naturally follow.
Also from an interview at Stanford university, I think these quotes reflect perfectly who Oprah Winfrey is.
You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.
Take the time to actually know who you are, and why you are here. There is a supreme moment for everybody. And you cannot fulfill it unless you have a level of self-awareness to be connected to the inner voice, or the instinct, I call it your emotional GPS system.
Why I chose Oprah Winfrey?
She had her own internationally renowned talk show for 25 seasons. She created her production company Harpo Productions. She became the first Black billionaire. She launched a highly successful monthly magazine – O: The Oprah Magazine. She’s an actor, a producer, a philanthropist. On top of these amazing achievements, when I think of what Oprah Winfrey represents, these words come to mind: empathy, common sense, spirituality, advice, listening, smiling. In short — a beautiful soul.
Hopefully we will each have the courage to find the path to what our own little contribution can be in this world. Will You #BeBoldForChange?