If you want to be the best, you need to learn from the best.

That’s why it’s so valuable to take the time to find out what advice the people who are already in your field of work might say about how to make your life easier. And, to be honest, many of these pieces of advice are helpful no matter what line of work you’re in. High-ranking women have all had to figure out how to become and stay successful over the years. In doing so, they’ve learned quite a few helpful tidbits for those following in their footsteps.

From business executives to entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar for-profit business execs or world-changing non-profits leaders, all of these impressive women have shared their helpful guidance so we all can learn from their personal ups and downs. Prepare your notebooks, young business leaders. There is plenty of learning to be had.

1…Kat Cole

Do you have what it takes to go from waitressing at a Hooters to running a multi-million dollar company like Kat Cole?

President of Focus Company, the parent company of Cinnabon – she’s willing to hustle and do whatever it takes to learn the job. Her advice is to keep your ego in check when you’re getting feedback on the job.

As she told Business Insider,“A piece of career advice I received when I was incredibly young was that anytime you get criticized, take a moment and assume the criticism is accurate. Assume the person criticizing you is right, just for a moment.”

Cole’s reasoning for assuming the other party’s accurateness has everything to do with keeping your own power. She explained that if you assume they’re correct, you get to consider the criticism with deliberateness like you would any other feedback

A Favorite Kat Cole Quote:

“When we get our sense of self from only one place, when something goes wrong and the inevitable happens, it can crush you emotionally, spiritually and physically. So it’s important not to believe you are defined by one place, one relationship or one thing, and to find ways to keep your sense of self strong.”

2…Jean Brownhill Lauer

Jill Brownhill Lauer is the CEO of the contractor planning and support tech company, Sweeten. Her experience with both traditional and modern business styles means she’s mastered social and business skills on the physical and digital fronts. Her advice focuses on balancing the natural masculine and feminine energies within all of us.

She told Forbes, “My advice to women in tech, and women who want to start their own companies, is to be joyful and passionate – maybe some people will call these ‘feminine’ traits – but don’t allow people to convince you that you are on the wrong path.”

She adds that in order to be successful, especially for women, you need to be willing to embrace and balance natural gender stereotypes. “You need to tap into what might be conventionally perceived as a strong masculine drive but hold on to and highlight what might be conventionally perceived as feminine enthusiasm,” she added.

A Favorite Jean Brownhill Lauer Quote:

“The phrase ‘I can’t’ usually isn’t an option for dealing with tough life situations, at any age, and that was a lesson that I internalized so early on. It’s been the big differentiator for me.”

3…Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba, the actress-turned-businesswoman, founded The Honest Company in 2011. Since then, the company has grown into a net worth of over a billion dollars. For Alba, it’s all about being willing and able to withstand rejection. No matter what is thrown at you, you’ve got to learn from it and move on.

She said, “You’ll never know that something is going to succeed if you don’t try and put yourself out there.

A Favorite Jessica Alba Quote:

“The only way you can measure your success is by reflecting and seeing what you want out of the experience. And the journey is just as much a part of the success you seek out.”

4…Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard has a name that is practically synonymous with powerful women in the business world. While she’s given some really wonderful advice on all sorts of subjects over the years, her most helpful is applicable to both business and life. She thinks it’s more valuable to focus on the positive and enhance that rather than obsessing over the negative things that may be going wrong.

Whitman said, “My advice, having done this a number of times, is to go into an organization and figure out what that company’s doing right, and do more of it. You’ll eventually get to your to-do list and to your fix-it list, but if you come in and just talk about what’s going wrong, you will lose hearts and minds.”

A Favorite Meg Whitman Quote:

“Problems are good, as long as you solve them quickly.”

5…Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg has no problem giving all sorts of sage advice, especially for women in the business world. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Or, at least, she wrote a book on it.

Her best advice also centers around the ability to hear and accept feedback. She explained that she looks for that specific quality in an employee, hoping to find, “Someone who takes feedback well. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”

A Favorite Sheryl Sandberg Quote:

“Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.”

6…Marissa Mayer

The former-Yahoo tech executive Marissa Mayer advocates for getting out of your comfort zone since that’s where real growth can happen. Especially in the constantly changing world of technology and the fast pace it requires new businesses to take, it’d be impossible to prepare for every little bump in the road.

So Mayer says do it before you think you’re ready. “I always did something I was not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

A Favorite Marissa Mayer Quote:

“Work for someone who believes in you, because when they believe in you they’ll invest in you.”

7…Ida Tin

Ida Tin is not only breaking ground for women in the technology and business spheres. She’s also changing the way women approach family planning thanks to her popular menstruation-calculating app, Clue. The Danish entrepreneur and author advises women to be aware of the risks and rewards involved in finding the time and energy to really be successful at business.

And she believes that you can create your own reality, saying, “Know what you want to build, but also about what price you’re willing to pay personally. And know what price you don’t want to pay. I want to see my kids every day, and sometimes it feels like a choice women have to make – start a business or have kids. I don’t accept that.”

It’s appropriate to hear a reminder about taking control of your circumstances from a woman whose app educates and empowers other women to do just that.

A Favorite Ida Tin Quote:

“I don’t want to accept that you can only build big companies out of Silicon Valley.”

8…Safra Catz

Safra Catz is CEO of Oracle, the computer software giant. She, too, straddles the line between emerging technology and being a woman in the business world. Interestingly, she also believes that you need to be open to feedback. In fact, you need to make sure that you’re not just hearing it, but actively listening.

She said, “Listen, think and don’t be afraid to change your position based on new facts.”

A Favorite Safra Catz Quote:

“The most significant barrier to female leadership is the actual lack of females in leadership. The best advice I can give to women is to go out and start something, ideally their own businesses. If you can’t see a path for leadership within your own company, go blaze a trail of your own.”

9…Jacqueline Novogratz

The non-profit Acumen’s founder Jacqueline Novogratz believes that inspiring hope in others is the best way to be successful in this world. Her company’s goal of creating a global community requires an ongoing commitment to seeing and hoping for the best in others.

So her optimistic approach to business is no surprise. She said, “Inspiring hope in a cynical world might be the most radical thing you can possibly do.”

A Favorite Jacqueline Novogratz Quote:

“May each of you live lives of immersion. They won’t necessarily be easy lives. But in the end, it is all that will sustain us.”

10…Lori Greiner

As a Shark Tank investor, Lori Greiner knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. For her, it’s important to separate your personal and professional worlds. And if she could go back and advise her younger self? She’d encourage herself to go for it.

Greiner said, “Go for your dreams. Go to do whatever you want. There’s nothing stopping you. I believe that if there is any goal that you have for your career, for your life, all you have to do is put your mind to it, and then do all the smart things in which to make it happen. I don’t know the word ‘no.’ So I would say be fearless, be driven, be confident and don’t worry about what happens, make it happen.

A Favorite Lori Greiner Quote:

“A brilliant idea doesn’t guarantee a successful invention. Real magic comes from a brilliant idea combined with willpower, tenacity, and a willingness to make mistakes.”

11…Anne Wojcicki

Anne Wojcicki is the co-founder and CEO of one of the hot companies changing the tech and the health industries, 23andMe. Since she and her company are embarking on exciting new biotech waters, they’ve encountered their fair share of challenges along the way. But her advice is to stay true and focused on what you want no matter what may be happening around you.

She shared, “Stick to your vision…If you know where you’re going, the challenges are minimal.”

A Favorite Anne Wojcicki  Quote:

“The challenge in a startup is you hit a lot of turbulence, and you want people who understand that it’s just turbulence and not a crisis.”

12…Susan Wojcicki

Success is a family affair in amongst the Wojcicki sisters. While Anne is at the forefront of the research and biotech world, her sister Susan is the CEO of Google’s YouTube. Susan believes in being blunt and up front about what you think you deserve.

“Whether it’s salary or a promotion or a job, I think it’s important for women to ask for what they think they deserve,” she said.

She also advocates for creating a good work/life balance no matter what you do. “I don’t want to say that you don’t have to work hard; you have to work hard but you need to have balance as well,” Wojcicki explains, adding, “If I’m there at midnight by myself in the office I’m not really having so many great ideas anymore.”

A Favorite Susan Wojcicki Quote:

“Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. ‘Here, open it, it’s perfect. You’ll love it.’ Opportunities — the good ones — are messy, confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.”

13…Elle Kaplan

As the founder and CEO of a money management firm that manages over $100 million in assets, Elle Kaplan knows a thing or two about risk. She also has an intuitive understanding of how you can use money to grow more money. She even joked with Marie Claire about the first time she watched Mary Poppins, and how she was confused at financial strategy for feeding the birds.

She said, “The children want their tuppence to feed the birds. But I thought they should have left their tuppence in a bank earning interest. They could have bought a ton more birdseed that way.”

Her best advice about becoming a business success is specifically geared towards women. She believes they should learn everything they can about their finances and how to invest. And, they should change their perspective on what it means to save money.

She said, “I don’t want women looking for spare change or not buying the latte. I want them thinking like moguls and investing. It’s not about clipping coupons, it’s not a mentality of deprivation, it’s redefining luxury. And the only way you get an investment account is by starting.”

Her own money savvy combined with her incredible work ethic helped her become the business success she is today. She even launched an inspiring lifestyle brand called Love the Hustle to help like-minded women find, educate, and support each other.

A Favorite Elle Kaplan Quote:

“Who you surround yourself with can have a major impact on your life trajectory.”

Henry Sapiecha


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