• Words of Wisdom

“If you can’t see a path for leadership within your company, go blaze a trail of your own.”

— Safra Catz, Co-President, Oracle, in an interview with TIME Magazine. She also believes the most significant barrier to female leadership is the actual lack of females in leadership, a view expressed by many participants in AWESOME discussions.

TIME asked Catz and several other women who are among Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women to answer five questions: What is the best and worst decision you ever made? What was your dream job as a kid? What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? What woman inspires you and why? What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

Here are other Words of Wisdom from some of Fortune‘s 50 Most Powerful Women and related comments from AWESOME women.

“There is something to be said for being willing to follow opportunity, even if it’s not what you had planned. There’s merit in that kind of thinking for women.”  Susan Chambers, EVP, Global People Division, Wal-Mart Stores

“Many women lack confidence, even though they are talented and qualified for leadership. Women are spontaneous confessors and tend to disclose their vulnerabilities first…Women need to believe in themselves and be aware of how much they have to offer — and not apologize for it.”  Susan Chambers

“The message I would like to send women is to set their expectations high, be confident in their choices, ask for what they want, and find champions who will support their ambitions.”  Susan Wagner, Vice Chairman, BlackRock.

“I think that the barrier has to do with familiarity. We are used to seeing men lead and so have an immediate confidence and comfort in what they might do, even if they are less qualified for a job. Men display less self-doubt and lead with what seems always like a sense of force and direction.”  Maureen Chiquet, Global CEO, Chanel.

“A real barrier is the lack of a critical mass of talented women leaders as role models and mentors. Also, I think women too often lack confidence in their ability to deliver.”  Isabelle Ealet, Global head of Commodities, Goldman Sachs

AWESOME Symposium panelists and participants have made the point that the growing number of women leaders in supply chain is changing the environment for up-and-coming leaders. As one participant is quoted in Reality Check – Volume One, “So far, in our field, women have achieved success as ‘the exception’ and by navigating a structure and environment developed by men for men.” Yet, one of the trends identified is that women are beginning to exert more influence and becoming more visible in the industry. One reason women want to connect through AWESOME is to maximize that impact.

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