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Top 6 Pieces of Advice From Incredible Female Leaders

Vanessa Childers December 25, 2019

It’s a very particular brand of leadership, building and running companies as women, even as the female-led-business landscape is growing. Speaking of growth, we’re approaching 2020 — and if the “New Year, New You” mantra has gotten you extra motivated as we close out 2019, we’re willing to guess that the “New Decade” is inspiring you for an even more epic consciousness shift. And we’re ready for it!

To help ignite the momentum of the New Roaring Twenties, we caught up with a handful of the speakers slated to inspire at the 2020 World-Changing Women’s Summit in Sonoma (January 29-31), to share their advice to other women-identifying leaders of mission-driven businesses as we head into a new era of “business as usual.”

Trust Your Intuition

“My advice for female leaders of mission-driven businesses is to trust your intuition. Neuroscience tells us today that your instinct or gut feeling is coming from millions of calculations in your brain with a simple output of knowing. Trust the smartest part of yourself in business and reap the rewards, which include inner satisfaction that you and your team are making great choices that create a difference in the world!”

— Cheryl Contee

CEO of Do Big Things
Author of “Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success


Read her speaker highlights from the World-Changing Women Workshop When Women Lead

 her keynote at the 2018 Netroots Nation conference


Cheryl was co-founder of the first tech startup with a black female founder on board in history to be acquired by a NASDAQ-traded company.

Listen Deeply

“As we embark on the journey of a new decade, it’s more important than ever before that women who know how to listen deeply are taking the time to do so. If you see yourself as a World-Changing Woman, it’s because you are in touch with the needs of the world, you heed the wisdom of your own body and intuition — or both. In a society that has over-valued short-term gains at the expense of long-term sustainability, listening in this way is a radical and necessary act.

Right now the future is talking to us. It is asking us to make difficult choices that will inevitably impact future generations, for better or for worse. But there are no right answers that can guarantee our success. There are only answers that feel good because they are truly values-aligned. The best we can do is to believe in our ideals with a fierceness, and trust that they hold the hope of our collective up-leveling. My advice to you, World-Changing Women, is to trust your gut, risk being wrong and voice what you know to be true, even without all the facts. You may be the only one who can.”

LeeAnn Mallorie

Founder & CEO


Read LeeAnn’s thought leadership on dismantling the patriarchy within

Failure Is Inevitable

“I believe that success is the combination of doing meaningful work, getting paid what you’re worth, and working with people whom you respect and who also respect you. An abundance of all three things is the holy grail. It may seem simple, but having all of them at the same time can be incredibly challenging. 

If you’re really putting yourself out there, that path to success will be paved with failures. But failure teaches us so much more than success ever could. So try not to be afraid of it. Just keep your head high and remember that failure is not always an indication of ability or potential. Most often, failure is simply a way of learning how not to do something.

Failure shouldn’t make you feel any less deserving, less worthy, or discredit your previous wins. Failure should make you sharp, more determined, and well-rounded. Failure may be inevitable, but if you are armed with self-awareness and a desire to learn and grow, success is imminent.”

Aniyia L. Williams

Executive Director, Black & Brown Founders
Co-Founder, Zebras Unite
Founder, Tinsel


Watch Aniyia discuss advancing equity in Silicon Valley
Learn about Aniyia on The Moguldum Nation


Aniyia was named one of Conscious Company’s 20 Game-Changing Founders of Color 2019 and

Be a Sponge

“These past few years that I’ve been building TiLT, I’ve learned to embrace the unknown, to not accept no for an answer, and to ask excellent questions. As we’re setting out to change the current state, disrupt decades-old practices, and challenge antiquated and entrenched thinking, it’s taken more grit than I could have ever imagined. To other leaders trying to carve out new space, disrupt a system or simply be excellent, I challenge you to be a sponge and never stop learning, observing, and adjusting. Always remember your ‘why.’ For TiLT, helping to architect a future workplace where my daughter has the same opportunities and advantages as my son is my ‘why.’

Also, don’t underestimate the power of asking for help. TiLT is the outcome of countless pieces of advice, input, mentorship, advocacy, and connections. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to build a startup.

Lastly, to those leaders who have influence over organizational change, I ask that you think outside of the box when it comes to taking care of your employees. Work-life integration is a goal very few employers have created the environment to achieve and it’s an imperative as the current war for talent becomes an armageddon in coming years.”

Jen Henderson

Founder & CEO


Read about how Jen’s company is helping other companies create better parental leave policies


Jen’s company, TILT, was just named in a “Colorado 20 Startups To Watch in 2020” list.

Failure Is The Key to Success

“Imbed your mission into every aspect of your business from HR to finance, culture to product, marketing to R and D. Otherwise, it is just another marketing message

Failure is the key to success — forever. Make sure to scale your failures as your business scales. Bigger business, bigger failures, ad infinitem.

Take time away from your business and for yourself. It’ll help you re-charge and it will allow your team to spread their leadership wings.

And finally, stop being so hard on yourself. Men have mastered this skill and look how far it has gotten them.”

— Missy Park

CEO & Founder

Read about Missy in Forbes on how she created an outdoor brand all about women

Listen to Park’s story on the World-Changing Women Podcast


Missy named her company, Title Nine, after the landmark 1972 legislation that mandated equality in school sports.

You Can’t Google Wisdom

“When you google the word ‘wisdom,’ what you get is only a definition: ‘the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.’

Instead, put down your phone and your computer for periods of time each day. These technologies are important for communication and doing business. However, it is essential for knowing who and what you are, for problem-solving, innovating, and visioning new possibilities and realities that you continually check in on the wisdom that comes from: your internal genius, intuition, and spirit; your Mother Earth, nature, and the elements; and Indigenous and non-indigenous wisdom keepers.

To be the leader of your life, family, business, and community, you need to be present to what is happening inside and around you. Fundamentally, to be wise and act with discernment requires you to listen — to listen with the softest part of your ear and an expanding heart and mind. Listening requires becoming still. Silence is vital to receiving insight from our inner self and from others.

In addition, it is easier to practice being present and listening when you consciously take care of what every human being needs to thrive: breathing, rest, water, nutrition, and supportive community.

In consulting and training hundreds of women leaders and their teams to rise to their potential, they and I continually (re)discover that what they most need is to go inside, to listen to their own wisdom, to recognize and share the gifts that they bring, and consider what they need to thrive in this intimately interconnected Hoop of Life. This is the experience of wisdom that you cannot Google!”

— Anita Sanchez, Ph.D.


Watch Anita discuss the four sacred gifts


Anita is a member of the Transformational Leadership Council with such luminaries as Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson, John Gray, Lisa Nichols, and Lynne Twist.

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