Speaking of Advice: Recent Words To Work, Dream By From Women Leaders
Commencement season seems to bring out the best in advice, most notably from women leaders around the country and the world sharing their wisdom about failure, success and dreams, hopefully inspiring the next generation of women leaders.University of California- Berkeley graduates applauded Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg after she spoke of the difficulties in her personal and professional life since the sudden death of her husband, Dave Goldberg, last year.Karen Blankfeld quotes her in Forbes: “It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”[bctt tweet=“You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive. – Sheryl Sandberg”]People magazine highlighted the best of the graduation talks and also highlighted Sandberg, who said: “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are – and you just might become the very best version of yourself. When tragedy or disappointment strike, know that you have the ability to get through absolutely anything.“According to People, “First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a commencement address at the historically black Jackson State University that focused on race and the graduating class’ ability to affect change. When confronted with systemic racism, the First Lady said, “Lift up your head and do what Barack Obama has always done, as he says, ‘When they go low, I go high.’ That’s the choice Barack and I have made. That’s what’s kept us sane over the years.“The unofficial First Lady of Media, Oprah Winfrey, was featured in People for her Johnson C. Smith graduation address. “Every stumble is not a fall, and every fall does not mean failure,” she said. “Know the next right move when the mistake happens. Because being human means you will make mistakes. And you will make mistakes, because failure is God’s way of moving you in another direction.”Maria Popova, the creator of BrainPickings, offered these gems on comparing yourself to others as a roadblock to your own achievement, leadership and success: “In addition to making you vacate your own experience, your own soul, your own life, in its extreme it breeds resignation. And the most toxic byproduct of this helpless resignation is cynicism — that terrible habit of mind and orientation of spirit in which, out of hopelessness for our own situation, we grow embittered about how things are and about what’s possible in the world. Cynicism is a poverty of curiosity and imagination and ambition.“I saw firsthand Maureen Sammon, president and chief executive officer of HomeServices Mortgage, address the graduates at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. She spoke of what she has learned in her 29 years with Berkshire Hathaway. That’s Warren Buffett’s paragon of a multinational corporation that has grown annually about 14 percent in worth and recently revealed it owns $1 billion in Apple stock alone.“Reach up, reach down and reach out,” she told the crowd.Sammon’s other advice:
- Do your own job first.
- Identify and solve problems.
- Listen and learn from everyone around you.
- Act according to your principles and treat the janitor the same way you treat the CEO
- Be present in your community.
- Be generous with your time on things you are passionate about
- Try not to say no to things even if they scare you.
- Do your homework.
- Twist, turn and bend because you do not know where you will find opportunity.
These directives align with the core principles defined by Take The Lead co-founder and president Gloria Feldt, whose core concepts are to create the infinite pie with three ingredients of vision, courage and discipline. This Take The Lead vision is a key strategy for reaching the mission of leadership parity by 2025.Also last week was “the world’s largest and most comprehensive conference on women’s global equality Women Deliver, the largest meeting of advocates for women and girls in the world since its last occurrence in 2013,” Dayna Evans wrote in New York magazine from Copenhagen, Denmark. “The conference is held every three years (the previous one took place in Malaysia), and it’s no coincidence that this year it found its home in Denmark, which was recently voted the best place in the world to be a woman.”Sports as a way to empower women leaders globally was on the agenda. According to Evans: “One of the more unexpected conversations going on at the Women Deliver conference centers on the need for women’s sports in order to empower women in leadership positions. At two sessions yesterday, sports were used as a tool of agency for women, especially young women who get their first taste of what equality feels like on the field.”Education for women and goals was also a key theme, Evans writes. “Vivian Onano, a Kenyan youth adviser to U.N. Women, said, ‘I’m here today because of my education. It has empowered me, given me a voice, and informed me. We need more young people given access to these basic human rights.’“And putting money where the data needs to be, Melinda Gates announced at the conference a huge contribution to begin to count, analyze and really understand where women leaders stand in the world.“To ensure that women are properly counted, and get appropriate services and recognition, The Gates Foundation is committing $80 million over the next three years to gathering robust and reliable data,” writes Eleanor Goldberg in Huffington Post.Goldberg writes: “’The hard reality is that in too many areas, data still doesn’t exist. And often, where it does exist, it’s sexist,’ the humanitarian said during her address. ‘It misses women and girls entirely, or undercounts and undervalues their economic and social contributions.’”Maria Cirino, co-founder of .406 Ventures in Boston, affirms that notions as she claims women in the field of venture capital are not counted and progress is not measured. She tells the Boston Globe: “Do we have data? No. Are we working toward it? Yes. Do we have a long way to go? Yes. It’s a continual sort of drumbeat.”The Globe’s Scott Kirsner writes: “Wayland angel investor John Landry looked at 22 firms based in Massachusetts that manage more than $20 million each, and found that only 3 percent of the people green-lighting new investments were women. Why is this a big deal?”Because if you are not counted you are invisible.‘“My core point is that it is suppressing innovation,’ says Landry. ‘If 85 percent of consumer purchases are managed by women, it seems like a pretty big misfit if 94 percent of people deciding to invest in new companies, nationwide, are men. It doesn’t make any sense.’”