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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Moody

Elevate Your Career: Inspirational Advice from 34 Leading Female Executives

Updated: Jan 21

In the fast-paced world of business, where every decision counts and every step can shape your trajectory, it's crucial to seek guidance and inspiration from those who have already blazed a trail to success. Today, we have a treat for you - an exclusive peek into the minds of dynamic female executives, leaders who have shattered glass ceilings and redefined what it means to be a powerhouse in their respective fields.

In this article, you'll hear from remarkable women like May Habib, the CEO of Writer, and Claire Coder, the entrepreneur extraordinaire and CEO of Aunt Flow. These are not your run-of-the-mill executives; they are visionaries, trailblazers, and change-makers who are shaping our understanding of female leadership in today’s business world.

Here’s the best part: this isn't your typical corporate advice column. We're presenting direct quotes these women shared when asked: “What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?”

Each of the incredible leaders quoted has been recognized and celebrated by Wednesday Women - a company on a mission to increase the visibility of extraordinary female leaders doing remarkable things around the globe.

So, if you're ready to be inspired, to learn from the best, and to elevate your career to new heights - lucky you! Read on.

Take Charge of your Career Growth

Quote from Abi Williams: "Create the life you want to live and work backwards.  Don't allow the world or system to determine the life you should live. You write the chapters of your book of life."
See more from Abi Williams on LinkedIn at: abiolawilliams
"You have so much more control than we feel like you do. If you have a pain points, you can (and should) initiate a change to resolve it. If you have dreams, you can (and should) initiate a change to achieve them. Don't be a victim of complacency."

"I worked with someone who used to say "Bad news does not improve with age." It's always better to address issues as soon as you can, rather than letting them fester. It's HARD to speak up and have candid conversations, but you are MUCH better off when you do -- you learn about yourself, you gain respect and confidence, and people really like knowing that you're the kind of person that speaks the truth."

- Heather Foeh, Sr Director, Customer Marketing & Communities @ 6sense

Strive to Uplevel and Enhance Your Skills

Amy Volas quote: "Whatever you do, do the work to master your craft. Excellence creates opportunity."
See more from Amy Volas on LinkedIn at: /amyvolas
"Be strategic and choose a job that will give you the most exposure and investment in developing you. Gaining skills early on will allow you to really understand what you are good at and like doing but also give you more opportunities in the long run. Don't get caught up with titles or promotions."

- Krissy Manzano, CEO & Cofounder @ Blueprint Expansion

"Focus on the fundamentals" in professional selling. Know that sales is an admirable profession and have a growth mindset when it comes to learning. Be coachable, and work to make a 1% improvement every day. Just like compound interest making you money, one day you'll have amassed more learning and improvements than you could ever imagine."

"AI is not hard - learn the fundamentals."

- May Habib, Cofounder & CEO @ Writer

"Always be learning. Just because you graduated from school, doesn't mean you're no longer a student. Take classes, read books, listen to podcasts and - most importantly - experiment and learn on the job."

- Kathleen Booth, SVP Marketing & Growth @ Pavilion

Stand out as an Authentic Leader

Quote from GTM leader Emma Lo: "Keep a list of all your accomplishments and impact.  Always think about what value you have brought to the team instead of completing tasks."
See more from Emma Lo on LinkedIn: /emma-lo
"To show up and perform at your best you must find spaces where you can be authentically you. Early in my career, I chose the companies that chose me. I didn’t have the understanding or discernment to recognize when I was walking into a role or company that wasn’t aligned to who I am as an individual. It made going to work many days difficult. I can recall making the decision not to remove my tongue piercing for a job interview and choosing to wear red heels (which at the time both were quite taboo). I recognized that my choice could result in me not getting the job, but I also knew that if I did, it (likely) meant I could show up to work as me, and not ‘work me’. There’s a meme I love that says “I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m sure as hell someone’s shot of tequila.”"

"Let your jobs educate you, but don't marry yourself to them or their outcome. Always stay in alignment with yourself and let your authenticity guide you through your career. Start building your personal brand now."

- Jessie Lizak, Fractional CMO @ BDEX

"Be the most unforgettable person in the room for all the right reasons. Be more confident than you believe you have to be, and don’t let age cause you to dim your light. You are just as good (if not better than) everyone else assembled. If your light is too bright, tell folks to put on some shades."

- Bridgett McGowen, Professional Speaker @ BMH Companies

Make the Most of Career Opportunities and Define Your Career Growth

Quote from Marketing Advisor and Consultant Brianna Doe: "Say yes. Yes to new opportunities that scare you, to projects that intrigue you. And say no. Say no to situations that violate your boundaries or could damage your mental health."
See more from Brianna Doe on LinkedIn: /brianna-doe

"When you are negotiating for your salary - at a new job or your current job - get outside of your own head and relationship with money. Make it about what that means to other women. What I mean by that is if YOU make more, THEY can make more. This is especially true for women leaders. It means YOU can share the story of how you negotiated more and can help other women. It means YOU can start a trend in a company and the industries that "being in range" is not enough - that you're at the top of the range or even above it."

- Hilary Headlee, EVP Sales and Customer Success @ Insight Partners

"Push yourself to take career risks."

- Mita Mallick, Head of Inclusion, Equity, and Impact @ Carta

"Don’t wait for anyone to advance your career for you. You have to own your career like it’s a job—the most *important* job in your life. Growth in your career is like anything else in life: it's uncomfortable and hard until it's easy and second nature. Very few people will ever care about your career unless you do."

- Gaby Israel Grinberg, Co Founder and Chief Experience Officer @ Proofpoint Marketing

Develop Your Self-Understanding as a Leader

Quote from customer growth expert Janice B. Gordon: "Understand your core values, use this as your compass, and learn how to trust your intuition."
See more about Janice B. Gordon on LinkedIn: /janice-b-gordon

"Do everything you can to get access to who you really are as quickly as possible. Looking at your values is a great place to start, and if you want a simple exercise, DM me and I will gladly share it!"

- Ruth Penfold Brown, Founder & Creator @ Bloom

"Start being a great observer of yourself. Notice your upsets and be curious about them. Then start working on how to move through emotions in a healthy way."

- Christine Rogers, President & COO @ Aspireship

"Do most of what gives you energy."

- Nina Elisabeth Carøe, CPO & Cofounder @ Valuebeat

"Deciding who YOU are going to be as a leader is not an easy task, but don't take the easy route of simply pretending to be a leader you are not."

- Stephanie Valenti, COO & Head of Revenue @ Vitalyc Medspa

"It’s okay not to know what you want next."

"Work hard but don't give up what is important to you to do so. Lean into your passions to keep yourself fueled."

"Have and hold boundaries. Trying too hard to please people doesn't garner more respect of you. Don't be overly concerned about being liked. Boundaries make people respect you MORE, not less."

- Lucia Kanter St. Amour, VP San Francisco @ UN Women

Build Relationships and Become an Empathetic Leader

Quote from Resilia CMO Jess Forrester: "“Focus on building relationships more than trying to impress people.”
See more about Jess Forrester on LinkedIn: /jforr
"Listen more than you talk. There is that saying “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” We are supposed to listen 2x more than we speak. When you are early in your professional journey you need to commit to learning and the best way to learn is to listen."

- Kristi Faltorusso, Chief Customer Officer @ Client Success

"Relationships - personal and professional - are everything. Invest time and energy in creating and fostering a wonderful network for friends, mentors and colleagues."

- Mary Shea, Co-Chief Executive Officer @ Mediafly

"Communication, critical thinking, and compassion are more important than any technical skill you can develop. Make sure you work to mature these skills as fast as possible."

"Rally Your Troops-Make sure the great people in your life know you beyond the surface. Send monthly or quarterly updates on what is happening in your business, career and life. That way, when you need help or a favor, they are willing to say yes and keep their ears open to opportunities you would be great for without you ever being in the room."

"Leaning on your manners and humanity will serve you well and help you stand out as you make a name for yourself! Some examples: Show graciousness and appreciation for those that help you along the way, keep in touch and send thank you notes to your colleagues, peers, clients and prospects (yes...even if you don't win the deal!), fall on your sword when you make a mistake and acknowledge how you will learn from it (everyone is human and we should feel safe to make mistakes but taking the initiative to call them out will put your team and leaders at ease.) and, oh yes, did I mention SMYKM?"

Develop Resilience and Grit to Create Future Opportunities at Work

Quote from Aunt Flow CEO and Founder Claire Coder: "Perserverance pays."
See more about Claire Coder on LinkedIn: /clairecoder
"This is a marathon, not a sprint. You don't need to have all of the answers now. Just make the best decisions for yourself with the information you have and KEEP GOING! And never be afraid to advocate for what you deserve."

"Resilience is the most important muscle to build."

"Work ethic is everything, today it stands out even more. Do more than what is asked and when you've done that, ask what else there is to do. It is how I created the career opportunities I did without ever going to university."

Learn From These Executive Women Leaders and Others

Want to hear more advice and stories from extraordinary women leaders around the globe? Follow Wednesday Women on LinkedIn - and be sure to click the bell for updates every week!


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