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How 10 of the most fierce women in the world found success

In Boss Mama, Career, Features, Stories, Work by Nicole Fuge

By Nicole Fuge, MD® Managing Editor

In honour of International Women’s Day and the fierce AF ladies who dominate their space – the badass #BOSSMAMAS, the stay-at-home mums, the mothers taking on the role of both mum and dad, and the women who are just trying to keep it real in this cray-cray world – we see you, we are you.

So just like a pair of jeans fits slightly different on every body… so too does success, and every woman has her own idea of what that means to her and how she’s going to set out and achieve it. To some women, success is climbing the corporate ladder and defying the odds, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a room full of men; to others it’s seeing a lifelong dream to fruition and being a role model for their bebes; and some days success is being able to get your kids out the door on time, with clean clothes on their backs and food in their bellies.

To celebrate EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. YOU. and the ah-mazing job you’re doing, we want to say – don’t give up mama! Keep doing YOU!

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Here’s how 10 of the most fierce women in the world found their success

1 // Susan Wojcicki, CEO YouTube

“Speak up. Don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind or ask for what you want.”

2 //Ita Buttrose, media icon

“Firstly, don’t let people intimidate you. They’ve got the problem not you. You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in your talent and sometimes you have to rock the boat a bit, take a risk, be innovative, think outside of the square, or, if you’ve got a good idea, present it and make sure no one knocks it off and let people see what you can do. Don’t hide your talent… a boss likes staff with ideas, who tells them what they are doing. A good boss admires someone who has a good idea and is prepared to think creatively. I think Australia is so conservative these days, we need all the innovation we can get at the moment, we need creative thinkers, especially female ones.”

3 // Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer Facebook

“I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work. And it’s been reported in the press that ‘Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg’s shoulder,’ which is not exactly what happened. 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.”

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4 // Vera Wang, Designer

“Don’t be afraid to take time to learn. It’s good to work for other people. I worked for others for 20 years. They paid me to learn.”

5 // Turia Pitt, athlete, motivationalist, and author

“It’s one thing to be motivated. It’s another thing entirely to show up day in, day out and apply yourself consistently. If I spent too much time thinking about what my future looked like I would have been overwhelmed. All I could do was focus on things literally one step at a time. When we get our minds working for us, not against us, we do become unstoppable.”

6 // Diane Von Furstenberg, Designer

“The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself…You are the solution! Look for the light, and build around it. You have the keys to your happiness. Let others be negative, your light will shine on them!”

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7 // Bryn Freedman, TED Talks Curator and Co-founder Voices 4 Freedom

“Everyone has a place where they feel they are most authentically themselves or in their element. It’s the place where your heart, gut and brain meet and don’t fight. It is the place where what you are good at meets what you aspire to. You know you are where you are supposed to be and feel you are on the path even when it’s hard. This is where you need to spend a lot of time. Whether it’s in nature, with friends, exploring new places. Go here and stay here often.”

8 // Zoe Ghani, Chief Technology Officer The Iconic

“Know what you want and learn about it. Define the exact areas you want to work in and combine with your unique talents to create a vision for where you want to go. It doesn’t need to be perfect. You just need to figure out the additional skills required and then educate yourself to fill in the gaps by working on pet projects which utilise these skills. For example, if you are interested in design or code or any other area, create your own website, play with new technology, install applications, visit tech meetups – have fun, break things! You can then talk about these projects in an interview as the formal job experience you don’t currently have.”

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9 // Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist

“I sit here profitable, successful, by all definitions of the word. But what really, really, resonates deeply with me is that I live a fantastic lifemy inner life is really intact. I live from the inside out. Everything I have, I have because I let it be fuelled by who I am and what I realise my contributions to the planet could be.”

10 // Jenna Lyons, designer and business personality

“Don’t be afraid to speak up. I find it impossible to understand where a person stands if they don’t join the conversation. Opinions aren’t reserved for those in the corner office. Find your voice, and make sure to balance your input; you should be contributing roughly equal parts complimentary support of others with thoughtful, constructive criticism. And never be afraid to pitch an idea; we all have good ones, and we all have bad ones.”

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