There’s no shortage of ambitious women taking charge in their industries today. However, gender inequality is still prevalent in the workforce. We have a lot to learn from the women that worked their way to the top despite the forces against them. Thankfully, these women are willing to share their wisdom.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to take the guidance and mentorship of women that are succeeding the way I want to. So, I’ve curated a list of career advice from successful business women across a spectrum of industries. Here’s what they had to say:
Learn how to be liked.
“People want to do business with someone they like. If people like you, they’re going to want to do business with you. And if they don’t you’re going to have an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome.” – Barbara Corcoran; Real Estate Mogul and Founder / CEO of The Corcoran Group
Be professional and personal.
“I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself—honest about my strengths and weaknesses—and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.” – Sheryl Sandberg; Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
Dress to impress. Duh.
“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” – Coco Chanel; Fashion Designer and Founder of Chanel
Every struggle is an opportunity to thrive.
“My advice is to use your stumbling block as a stepping stone. Take your most challenging assignment by the balls and control it.” – Lunden De’Leon; Founder and CEO of Dirrty Records
You CAN have it all.
“The key to balancing work and family is to be present and focus on what is in front of you—be it a conversation with your kids or husband or working on a business case. Don’t feel guilty about enjoying your work—your kids are getting a great role model in shaping their future happiness.” – Becky Carr; CMO of Foxwoods Resort Casino
Build your army.
“The old boys network is a real thing. Replicate it. Find female and male allies who believe in you, who you believe in and be on each other’s team. You don’t have to be in the same industry or firm but find tribes within tribes. Proactively support and encourage others and be proud to ask them to do the same for you. You are not alone.” – Deborah Frances-White; Comedian and Author
Opportunities will be messy, embrace it.
“While planning for your future is great, the fact is, things change. Opportunities will arise tomorrow that you simply cannot imagine today. If you pass on them because they don’t fit neatly into your current plan or because you’re afraid, you could easily miss your best opportunities for growth… Embrace these opportunities. Conquer them. Learn from them. They will be important investments in your career and the milestones that mark your progress. Nothing scary about that.” – Mary Barra; CEO of General Motors
Speak with poise and power.
“Speak slower; be more executive and more authoritative. When you speak quickly it’s hard to distill big messages and put a good case forward to your customers and your team.” – Helen Sutton; Vice President of Enterprise in Northern Europe at DocuSign
Act like you belong. Always.
“No matter where you’re sitting, whether it’s the CEO’s office or the lowest person on the totem pole’s cubicle, behave like you fit in that space. You have to appear comfortable, because there’s nothing worse than going into a meeting where you are visibly nervous—the other person will start to think that you don’t deserve to be there.” – Shonda Rhimes; TV and Film Producer / Director, Screenwriter and Author
Don’t project, perform.
“Don’t waste your energy on telling people how smart or capable you are, show them. Fly under the radar and never let them see you coming.” – Jen Groover; Entrepreneur, Author and Motivational Speaker
Looking for more advice from fierce females? Look no further. Check out what these successful women had to say about confidence, perseverance and financial success.