A guest post by Grace Killelea.

Some thoughts from successful women CEOs that you can use for inspiration.


“The most important factor in determining whether you will succeed isn’t your gender, it’s you. Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment you can find, and then take control.”

Angela Braly, President and CEO, Wellpoint, Inc.


“I knew from an early age that I wanted to lead a company, I developed a strategic process for my career plan that set the final destination, developed the career track, identified skills to build, took line positions to gain experience, and sought leadership and management training on the job, through special assignments, coaching and networking.”

Denise Morrison, President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company


“In order to lead an organization, you have to be incredibly comfortable in your own skin. And the only way to do that is to be confidant in who you are.”

Gracia Martore, President and CEO, Gannett, Corp.


“Men selectively listen. When that happened, I’d stop the conversation and say, ‘Do you realize I said that 10 minutes ago?’ Women have to take responsibility for the dynamic around them; you can’t just say ‘Woe is me.’”

Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications


Women managers represent 37 percent of the U.S. workforce and just 3 percent of U.S. CEOs. There’s obviously a leak in the talent pipeline.

Women have told me they feel it’s the company’s responsibility to get them into the executive office. A resounding, “NO!” It’s your responsibility.

It’s about confidence – about voice. How many times have you been in a room and you absolutely had the answer but you haven’t said anything because you thought, ‘I could be wrong.’ Your male colleagues don’t have the same hesitation.

High potential women like you are the key to helping us plug the leak in the talent pipeline. The earlier in the process we can do so, the more effective we will be. Take the first step now and create your own inspirational quote. Then follow its tenant all the way…to the executive office.



About the Author:

Grace Killelea is the founder of Half the Sky Leadership for Women (www.halftheskyleadership.com). She has worked with, and mentored, over 800 executive women leaders to fuel the pipeline to the executive office. 

Be a Leader: How To Be A Powerful Woman:

What can we learn from women CEOs: