“Expect the unexpected, and whenever possible, be the unexpected.” – Lynda Barry, American cartoonist and author

To succeed in this rapidly changing business world, you have to possess more than simply a good idea. You have to demonstrate drive, and an ability to communicate and magnetize people. This may be why women excel at striking out on their own, making up 1.5 times the new businesses opened in the last few years1. And while the numbers are still disproportionate, women are steadily closing the gap in terms of entering leadership roles in large companies.

Female leaders challenge old assumptions, collaborate effectively, and place emphasis on sustainability. Their companies fare better than their male counterparts in job creation, growth, and worker satisfaction. It’s important that we listen to their insights, and examine the positive trends in the workplace and the market as a result. Let’s take a look at some of these capable and successful businesswomen and what they have to say about work, family, and winning the game.
What do women uniquely bring to the table? Communication, inclusion, responsive leadership, creativity, tenacity, and contagious enthusiasm.
Melinda F. Emerson, nicknamed the SmallBizLady, is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach. She wrote Become Your Own Boss in 12 Monthsand says: “You never lose in business, either you win or you learn.” Love it!

Madame CJ Walker, founder of CJ Walker Manufacturing Co. in 1910, was best known for African American cosmetics. She is considered one of the most successful African American businesswomen in the 20th century2. She relays the real difference in the feminine approach to business: “I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race.”

“When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one year old and a three year old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize,” says Julie Aigner Clark, founder of Baby Einstein, a company that produces edutainment products for babies and small children.

“Be first and be lonely.” Ginni Rometty, Chairwoman and CEO of IBM notes that we have to be unafraid of crossing into new territory, because no matter what field we are in, someone has to be the first to tap on that glass ceiling.

“Our emerging workforce is not interested in command-and-control leadership. They don’t want to do things because I said so; they want to do things because theywant to do them.” Irene Rosenfeld is CEO of Mondelēz International, a snack and confection empire. This quote illustrates perfectly why women achieve success at high levels: because they a responsive and compassionate to their employee experience.

“…right-brain skills such as big-picture thinking, empathy, play, and creativity are key to being successful in the modern business world. As a creative female entrepreneur, this perspective has helped to spark many new, exciting ideas, and has given me more permission to embrace and leverage my natural creative intuition in my work,” says Jennifer Lee, certified coach and founder of Artizen Coaching.

“If you are committed to creating value and if you aren’t afraid of hard times, obstacles become utterly unimportant – a nuisance perhaps; but with no real power. The world respects creation; people will get out of your way,” explains Candice Carpenter, commercial real estate mogul.

It can be said that the workplace and the world only stand to benefit from the unique attributes women have to offer. In connecting with each other and in defining these strengths, we build an atmosphere of healthy growth where our daughters and granddaughters will thrive.

1. http://www.inc.com/lisa-calhoun/30-surprising-facts-about-female-

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame_C.J._Walker_Manufacturing_Compan y

Additional: http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/24/inspiration-success-advice-forbes-woman-entrepreneurs-best-business-books.html http://www.intelligenthq.com/leadership/10-quotes-powerful-women/