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There’s no ‘I’ in Team….But Should There Be?

There’s no ‘I’ in Team….But Should There Be?

Does a rising tide really lift all boats?  Ask Bacardi Limited’s C-Suite Team.

Last October S.H.E.Summit took place here in New York City.  It attracted over 200 entrepreneurs dedicated to empowering leaders in pursuit of gender equality in the workplace.  S.H.E. Summit founder Claudia Chan, uses the term “macro-movement” to describe the amalgamation of social movements working as a team to ensure women and men are treated fairly.  Chan’s vision is one where leaders in the workplace use their voices to rise up in the face of gender inequality.  And in doing so lift each other up in the process. 

Claim Your Seat at the Table

The most memorable moment at S.H.E. Summit happened during the panel, “Breaking Barriers in Male Dominated Fields.”  It featured Zara Mirza, Head of Creative Excellence for Bacardi Global Brands and her boss, Michael Dolan, CEO of Bacardi Limited.  Mirza described how a fleeting moment signified one of the most important turning points in her career.  At Mirza’s first meeting with the senior leadership she walked into a large board room.  The room featured a ‘u’ shaped table.  She went directly to the far end to take her seat.  

As the new person (woman) on staff she unconsciously elected to set herself off to the side. She figured she should wait until it felt ‘appropriate’ to insert her voice into the conversation.  She didn’t want to seem pushy or presumptuous to her new colleagues.  However, no sooner had she taken her seat when Dolan’s assistant came over and whispered in her ear she was to sit next to him at the top of the ‘u’. To paraphrase Mirza’s retelling of this moment, “Michael opened the door for me but I f**king walked through it and I’ve never looked back.”

The Power of Choice

Dolan is creating a space in which Mirza feels her voice is wanted, desired.  In turn she’s empowered to realize her full potential and he sets a precedent other male leaders in the company as to how they should treat their female colleagues.  Dolan shared with those of us in the audience that day that the choice to create an environment where everyone’s voice is equally valued helps him too.  It helps him maintain a competitively healthy workplace.  It secures Bacardi’s role as an active player in the movement to achieve gender equality in the workplace.  And most importantly, makes him feel thankful that he is able to use his power as a CEO – and as a white man -to help even the playing field.

Having difficulty advocating for yourself?  Start by advocating for others.

Even though you may not be the global CEO of an international brand,  I still think there is immense value to be derived from this story.  Have you ever found it’s easier to extol the virtues of a friend or colleague rather than sharing your own accomplishments?  I certainly have.  Many of our clients feel this way too.  Sometimes it stems from a fear of being boastful.  Or feeling unsure about how to talk about your strengths (hint: Bespoken can help with that!). Or a previous negative experience you had speaking about yourself in public.  

Yet no matter where you are in life, or where you work, look around. I wager you can find at least one place you can use your voice to create space for someone who may be lacking the room in which to find theirs.  Maybe it will be during your next staff meeting.  Or at dinner with friends.  Or at your next family gathering.  Regardless, you will be pleasantly surprised the power to be derived from choosing to be part of the macro-movement and in your own way, in your own time, help all of us trying to move the needle towards a world where all voices have equal weight.

Leadership + Communication: 3 steps to becoming a better leader

Leadership + Communication: 3 steps to becoming a better leader

Is it possible to be a good leader without being a good communicator? Here, we explore the connection between leadership and communication. 

At Bespoken, we are passionate about helping leaders improve professional communication skills. Over the past month, we’ve worked with leaders at AIGLinkedIn and AOL, and in the fields of tech, healthcare and finance. We frequently help leaders at Columbia Business School find their voice and own it. Across the board, it’s impossible to separate good leadership from effective communication skills. Yet, leaders often lack solid communication skills. For others, it can be the one trait preventing them from rising to a leadership role.

Research backs up the connection between leadership and communication. Businesses lose $37 billion per year because of employee misunderstanding. According to another study, the cumulative cost of communication barriers is $26,041 per employee. On the flip side, companies with leaders who are highly effective communicators report 47% higher total returns. And Best Buy found that for every percentage point it boosted employee engagement, individual stores reported a $100,000 annual increase in operating income.

In 2015, we contributed an article to Inc.com about leadership and presentation skills. Of course, how you present yourself as a leader is vital, but we believe that the ability to communicate effectively leads to true organizational growth and change.

Want to be a better leader? Communicate more effectively. Improving communication and presentation skills means changing lifelong behaviors. These changes don’t come overnight, but you will see an instant boost in communication skills by implementing these three tools:

Be Receptive 

Do you know that we spend 70-80% of our waking hours communicating?  We spend 45% of that time listening and yet, the average listener only remembers 25% of what is said. Bad listening leads to mistakes and employee dissatisfaction. Practice active listening: Pay attention, look at the person, ask questions and visualize what they are saying. Not only will you be able to act on the information more efficiently, but when someone feels heard they become more emotionally invested and are more likely to do good work.

Be Present

When someone needs your attention, give it to them. Even if your mind is racing with to-do’s, make yourself physically available by uncrossing your arms, standing (or sitting) up straight, and making eye contact. Bringing your whole self to a conversation will help you more clearly address the issue at hand and prevent other problems from arising.

Be Precise 

Being deliberate and clear in your communication is key. Before a huddle or difficult conversation, really think about what you want to say. Articulate your goal for the conversation in one sentence, then jot down notes and practice it once or twice to be sure the words you choose accurately reflect your goals for the conversation. Remove any grey areas by recording yourself to make sure your words cannot be misinterpreted or taken the wrong way. Adding a minute or two on the front end can save hours of backpedaling on the back end.

Want to change your communication style? Embrace growing pains.

Want to change your communication style? Embrace growing pains.

Working on changing your communication style? Patience + awareness = success.

Last weekend I ran a workshop with my friend Lisa Pertoso, founder of Follow the Fear.  The focus was ways to amplify your voice in the workplace.  We dug into techniques designed to help you advocate for yourself as well as others who may be lacking a voice.  While debriefing an exercise on how to speak from a commanding and rooted place, a participant shared she felt fake speaking that way.  She said the sound of her own voice was forced and unnatural.  I then asked the rest if she seemed forced or unnatural in any way when she had spoken to the group.  Not one single person said ‘yes’.  Everyone expressed quite to the contrary. She seemed confident, in control, and powerful.  All the ways we want to seem when we’re advocating for ourselves.

Find Truth in the Size

This moment from last week’s workshop highlights an important sensation that happens when changing your communication style.  And it’s not only our clients who experience it.  I’ve gone through it as well. A favorite assignment of mine from my days as a drama student is when everyone was assigned a monologue from a role they’d never be cast in.  For example, my teacher gave a strapping guy with a football player-like build one of Juliet’s speeches to Romeo. As a 20 year-old woman, I performed a soliloquy of King Lear’s.  The speech is in the middle of the play as Lear begins his descent into complete madness. Tackling the scene was thrilling and terrifying at the same time (much like public speaking, I think!) because it demanded an immense amount of energy.  It wasn’t until after the assignment was over I realized why my teacher had specifically assigned that piece to me.

Firstly, my teacher was trying to encourage me to make bigger, bolder choices as a performer.  Secondly, and more importantly, he was trying to get me comfortable with a different sensation as the sensation of being ‘big’ was not my usual way on stage.  For those of you looking to change your communication style, awareness of this difference and embracing it is key to your success.  Modifying your performance when public speaking hinges on embracing that it will feel and sound different.  And that this difference isn’t bad, it’s just…different.  As in not the way you’re used to it feeling.

Change takes practice…and time.

We say over and over that communication is a muscle.  And just like a muscle that is not used to working in a certain way, it takes time.  Time to build your confidence in and embrace a new communication style.

To work through unfamiliar sensations as you practice here are few things to try.  Videotape yourself.  Ask a friend to lend an outside eye.  Work with a coach. You could even keep a journal where you track over time how you’re feeling.  Regardless of what you do though be sure to extend yourself a little patience and remember— change takes time.

Embodied Cognition: How to fake it till you make it

Embodied Cognition: How to fake it till you make it

Embodied Cognition is the idea that what you do on the outside affects how you feel on the inside. Popularized by Amy Cuddy, the idea that your body and environment can influence your mind can be life-changing.

At Bespoken, we call this way of working “Outside In”. We know that a physical change which makes you look more confident on the outside can help you feel more powerful on the inside. Even though Cuddy’s Power Posing has come under scrutiny in the last few months, there is still a solid amount of science to back up the idea that our physical environment can instantly change the way the world sees us (and how we see the world). In fact, we’ve seen people transform in just moments by making a few small adjustments.

President Eisenhower used Embodied Cognition. He “firmly determined that my mannerisms and speech in public would always reflect the cheerful certainty of victory… To translate this conviction into tangible results, I adopted a policy of circulating through the whole force to the full limit imposed by physical considerations. I did my best to meet everyone from general to private with a smile, a pat on the back and a definite interest in his problems.”

The status-enhancement theory asserts that people gain influence by acting dominant and confident. Politically, we are seeing daily how a statement made with conviction is taken to be true even when it is completely false. So, how can we use Embodied Cognition to our advantage and fake it till we make it?

Eye contact

The head of TED says eye contact is the first thing speakers should do to engage an audience. When you look into someone’s eyes, their body produces a chemical called phenylethylamine which can stimulate the feeling of being in love. Another study found that eye contact utilizes the same part of your brain as complex reasoning, which is why people often have to look away during conversation when they are thinking. When used as a tool, eye contact can be a litmus test of confidence—it’s a way of jumpstarting an emotional connection.  Practice maintaining eye contact with the person who pours your cup of coffee and work up from there. Using eye contact can be an anchor when communicating and will make you appear more confident and in control.

Speaking on your spine

Pay attention to your posture in different situations. When you’re nervous, are you closed off? When you’re comfortable, are you standing up straighter? If you naturally slump to one side, intentionally find your postural center and get comfortable living there. You will appear more confident standing openly and upright. According to Cuddy, standing in this position for more than 60 seconds increases your testosterone (making you feel more confident) and decreases your cortisol (making you feel less stressed).

Mindful breathing

Telling a nervous person to take a deep breath can be a recipe for disaster. Breathing can quickly become another thing you’re not doing correctly. Anything that adds to the cacophony of thoughts can be unhelpful. The act of simply putting your attention on your breath can be soothing. The trick is to keep reminding yourself to return your attention to the breath without judgment. Practice Meditation Lite—where you simply watch the breath go in and out for ~25 breaths. Breathing intentionally for a short period of time can soothe the sympathetic nervous system (the part activated by stress) and stimulate the opposing parasympathetic reaction (the part that calms us down).  Setting up small wins is sometimes the best approach to changing lifelong behaviors and learning new things.

Code-switching: Connect with Your Audience

Code-switching: Connect with Your Audience

What Is Code-Switching?

Linguists traditionally define code-switching as, “the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation.”  A more contemporarily relevant definition factors in race and identity.  For example, the minds at NPR’s aptly named Code Switch blog offer this framing, “Many of us subtly, reflexively change the way we express ourselves all the time. We’re hop-scotching between different cultural and linguistic spaces and different parts of our own identities — sometimes within a single interaction.”  

President Obama was often cited for his ability to code-switch effectively and flawlessly.  He’d put his audience at ease, making them feel he was just like them by the way he spoke to them.  Without undermining his undeniable position of authority in the exchange.  This video from 2009 shows then President-elect Obama at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a famous eatery in a historically African-American section of Washington D.C.  When the cashier asks President Obama if he needs change from his purchase, Obama replies, “nah, we straight.”  I think it’s fair to say, had President Obama been purchasing refreshment at a restaurant located in a predominantly white neighborhood he may have answered differently.

How can code-switching help me connect with an audience?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when prepping for a public speaking opportunity is, “Who is my audience?”  A clear understanding of your audience is important for a number of reasons.  Not least of which is so you can decide how you should talk to them.  For example, the language and tone I would use when presenting to a group of high school seniors preparing for college interviews would differ markedly from a workshop with high level corporate executives about to speak to investors. With the group of high school students I may find myself peppering my talk with informal qualifiers such as, “Totally” and “Amazing”.  While in a more formal and corporate setting, my grammar would understandably be more formal and precise.  Yet the underlying similarity in both these situations is it’s still my voice. I’m still me.

Using code-switching to your benefit

I like the reasons Somali author, Roda Osman ascribes to code-switching.  She says, “I regularly use code switching for three reasons: lizard brain, fitting in and getting something.”  Lizard brain she defines as something the brain does automatically.  I think the latter two reasons are the most powerful because they involve deliberate choice.  At Bespoken we often say “your power is your choice” and I think it is doubly true when it comes to choosing the words you’ll use to connect with your audience.  The next time you find yourself preparing to speak publicly take the time to reflect on the language you want to use.  It’s another powerful communication tool to have in your back pocket.

Want to have presence? (Hint: It’s about being present)

Want to have presence? (Hint: It’s about being present)

Learn how to harness the power of presence.

Our clients ask us to help them in many different ways. They want to articulate their thoughts, think on their feet, harness nerves when speaking in public, and speak with confidence. But one of their most common requests is that they want to have presence.

People believe that presence is something you’re either born with or you’re not. They believe it can’t be taught. Some fear that if they don’t have it, there’s something wrong with them. They couldn’t be more wrong. We watch our clients improve presence right before our eyes all of the time.

It’s true that presence means something different for each person. Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy describes presence as “the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves.” It’s not as elusive as you think. It’s a tool and a muscle—just like communicating and speaking in public. With practice, anyone can learn how to harness the power of presence.

So, what is presence? 

Presence is the alignment of awareness, intention and action. 

Communicating and speaking in public can be overwhelming for all of us. Throw in the pressure “to have presence” and it can be a recipe for disaster. Anytime something is overwhelming, break it down into smaller pieces. First, work on your awareness: Practice observing yourself and others without judgment. Second, be intentional: Set a specific intention and know what you want to get out of an interaction. And lastly, take action: Practice and rehearse for an upcoming opportunity and go out and do it!

Attention must be paid. 

Before I started my mindfulness practice, I would often miss social cues and important plot points. I realized I was living in my head, listening to my internal soundtrack instead of paying attention to the outside world. Presence is about giving your attention 100% to something outside of yourself—people like attention, so if you pay attention to them, they are more likely to like you.

The danger of multitasking.

We’re way too good at multitasking. We’re checking our phone while speaking to a colleague while editing a blog post. When communicating, multitasking can hurt us more than help us. Unfortunately, doing one thing at a time does not come naturally to us, so we have to practice it. Stick with a task until completion—from the small (looking up that restaurant) to the big (finishing that blog post). Read Tim Urban’s eye-opening series on procrastination here.

It’s about being present. 

We busy ourselves reading books on mindfulness and we beat ourselves up for not meditating. Even when we do make a point of it, we beat ourselves up for not meditating for the full ten minutes and when we do, we beat ourselves up for not being able to “clear our minds” enough. This all defeats the purpose! It took me a few years of meditating to realize that it’s not about getting rid of thoughts or feelings—instead, it’s about fixing and releasing attention without judgment (which—you guessed it—takes practice). Practice being present—being aware of physical sensations like the breath, or those uncomfortable palpitations or sweaty palms—without judgment. If you’re new to meditation, I recommend Headspace or Meditation Lite. And read D.G. Watson’s post on how meditation can help you overcome your fear of public speaking here.

Practice Presence 

It takes work and attention, but practicing these tools will help you improve your presence. Pick one or two activities a day and be truly present (brushing your teeth or washing dishes are good places to start). Pay attention to the way your breath causes your stomach to go in and out when breathing, or the feeling of your feet against the floor or in your shoes. Be genuinely present with the gentleman who pours your morning cup of coffee. When you get distracted (which you inevitably will) return to the interaction or the moment without beating yourself up. Slowly and surely, you will increase your span of presence and the muscle will strengthen.

Most valuable thing Warren Buffett owns?  A degree in public speaking.

Most valuable thing Warren Buffett owns? A degree in public speaking.

What’s the only diploma the 3rd richest person in the world has hanging in his office?  

It’s from Dale Carnegie’s public speaking course issued to one Mr. Warren Buffett in 1951.  Buffett credits it as “the most important degree I have.”  Even at the young age of 20, Buffett was smart enough to understand that it didn’t matter how much of a financial genius he was.  He knew if he didn’t invest in his public speaking skills he wouldn’t be able to share his expertise with others.  And that would mean not achieving the success he envisioned for himself.  What kind of success do you envision for yourself?What role does communication and public speaking play on your path to achieving it?  

So Why Don’t We Invest In Ourselves More?

Why do many of us shy away from investing in our communication skills in a significant way?  I think it’s common for people to think those who excel at speaking in public are just naturally natural. Or that performers are good liars.  Or that some people are just born hardwired with the ability to speak in front of others.  In my opinion, none of these are true.  Communication is a muscle.  And just like any muscle it takes time to build and strengthen.  More than likely the underlying cause why people avoid practicing their public speaking skills is fear of discomfort and the unfamiliar.  So much so that sometimes it takes a goal like wanting to be a millionaire by the age of 35 to push us past whatever’s holding us back and sign up for the public speaking course.

An Investment in your public speaking skills is an investment in yourself.

At Bespoken we believe that developing effective communication skills is something that positively influences all aspects of a person’s life.  The ability to communicate confidently will support you from informal conversations with colleagues all the way to full-scale public presentations.

One way to warm up to the idea of formally practicing your communication skills is by making a list of all the possible opportunities you have to communicate publicly.  It may surprise you how many options there are.  Sharing an idea during a staff meeting.  When you’re having your weekly check-in with your boss.  Taking a potential client out for lunch.  Then, of course, there are the more formal opportunities – presenting or speaking in front of a live audience.  Think about what it would be like if each one of these encounters was rewarding and successful.  It would be pretty great, wouldn’t it?

If you’re reading this article chances are you’re contemplating working with a communication coach or want to improve your communication skills.  Take a moment and be honest with yourself.  If you haven’t taken the plunge already, why is that?  What exactly are you afraid of?   “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”–Aude Lorde.

How to Speak Up (Without Losing Your Voice)

How to Speak Up (Without Losing Your Voice)

How to prevent losing your voice, just when you’re beginning to find it.

Last week, millions of people all over the globe came out to speak up and be heard. Marches around the world gave voice to many people who had never marched before. Some were marching for themselves, but even more marched for their neighbors, wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, and grandmothers. We saw 80-year-old women, groups of tweens and three generations of families. In these tumultuous and terrifying times, millions of people are using their voice. If there’s a silver lining, that’s it. But are you losing your voice (literally or figuratively), just when you’re beginning to find it?

As week one of the new administration came to a close, thousands of you voluntarily went out to JFK on a Saturday night. What is this new reality? Mirah Curzer‘s article, “How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind” struck a chord with many new activists. Self-care has become a necessity and information overload is leading to conscious media breaks to store up and refuel. Many others are struggling to find balance in these changing times and burning out on the regular. Others are literally hoarse with voices that are unable to recover between protests.

As we continue to #resist, here are tools and techniques to sustain and strengthen our voices:

Start meditating: If you don’t already have a mindfulness practice, start one now. You can download an app like Headspace or keep commitment minimal with Meditation Lite (where you simply count breaths in and out). Meditating is about training the mind and fixing and releasing attention—not about getting rid of fears/thoughts/feelings. Practicing presence can help stave off downward media/despair spirals.

Know what you want to say: While you’re endlessly calling your Reps, think about what you want to say. Rather than sticking to a script, have more ownership by articulating the essence of what you want to ask. Be specific and practice saying it a few times while improvising and changing up the words.  Include stories, which change the brain by activating the Trust molecule. Most importantly, make a connection with the person on the other end of the line. Not going great? Luckily you’ll be calling daily so try again tomorrow.

Amplify your voice:  Ever wonder how babies can scream for hours and not lose their voices? Tension builds up over decades and inhibits and strains our vocal cords. If you’re newly protesting and you’re exhausted, you’re doubly at risk for losing your voice. And bottom line: If you don’t have a voice you can’t be heard.

Losing your voice is real, but it can be avoided with preparation. Practice three-dimensional breathing and speaking from your diaphragm. Bring an amplification device, like a bullhorn or cardboard tube. Drink water and stay hydrated to prevent vocal fry and exhaustion. Practice Amplification: Speak out for others and let them speak out for you. (And if you’re in New York City, join us on February 11th and Amplify Your Voice with Bespoken and Lisa Pertoso!)

Take breaks: Declutter your phone, and put it away for a while. Take mindfulness breaks. Practice Square Breathing. Seize opportunities to get out of your head and into your body. Cherish friends. Hug your family. Smile at a stranger and invest in your community. These are strange times, but speaking up and empowering others to do the same is the best way to get through it.

 

 

Hate the sound of your voice? It’s not you, it’s science!

Hate the sound of your voice? It’s not you, it’s science!

Is listening to recordings of your voice unpleasant?

One of the best ways to hone your public speaking skills or presentation skills is to record your voice when you practice.  Listening to the playback helps highlight verbal crutches you may want to eliminate such as, ‘um’, ‘like’, and ‘so’.  It also provides a way to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself: When do I sound the most clear and concise? At what points do I lose focus or lack volume?  When trying to emphasize a particular thought am I straining vocally?  These things become easier to identify and fix when you use a recording of yourself to prepare. Yet many of us would rather eat glass than listen to the recorded sound of our own voice.

It doesn’t even sound like me.

Many of our clients say they don’t like the sound of their own voice.  I often attribute this to previous negative public speaking experiences.  Maybe that failed book report from fourth grade is haunting you.  Or the time you crashed and burned giving the speech at your grandmother’s 75th birthday.  But it turns out bad past experiences are not the primary culprit – science is!

Jonah Bromwich, a reporter for the New York Times recently explored why so many of us find the sound of our own voice off-putting.  Bromwich chatted up John J. Rosowski, a professor and researcher at Harvard Medical School who focuses on the middle ear and William Hartmann, a physics professor at Michigan State University specializing in acoustics and psychoacoustics. (Side bar: how fascinating is the concept of psychoacoustics?  A whole branch of psychology devoted to the “psychological and physiological responses associated with sound”?!?)

Ok, so according to Hartmann, because our vocal cords vibrate when we speak we experience the sound of our own voice internally.  The vibrations of our voice “are conducted through our bones and excite our inner ears directly.”  To make things even wilder, other factors influencing how we sound to ourselves include the interaction of these vibrations with “cerebrospinal fluid, the clear liquid that sits within the brain and spine.”  More science!

Why do I sound so weird to myself?

Here’s the thing: the most typical pathway we experience sound through is external.  Vibrations from the air pass through the “chain of our hearing systems, traversing the outer, middle and inner ear.”  When we hear a recording of ourselves our brain experiences the sound of our own voice through an entirely different channel than it normally does – hence the weirdness.  This just further supports Bespoken’s belief that there are no ‘good’ speakers or ‘bad’ speakers. It also explains why many of our clients shy away from taping themselves when practicing their public speaking and presentation skills.

Now that you know why you dislike the sound of your own voice, and that it’s perfectly natural and normal, you have one less excuse not to utilize this effective and useful tool the next time you’re preparing to speak publicly.

What She Said: A History of Women’s Voices

What She Said: A History of Women’s Voices

As female founders, we believe in the intrinsic power of women’s voices.

Recently, we appeared on the Women, Work and Worth podcast to talk all about women’s confidence (listen to the episode here) and we’re excited to co-host a workshop with Lisa Pertoso of Follow the Fear on February 11th entitled Amplify Your Voice: For Women in the 21st Century Workplace (register here – space is limited!) to help women’s executive presence. In honor of the Women’s March on Washington next weekend, here we pay tribute to women’s voices:


The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving.

Gloria Steinem


There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children

Marianne Williamson


History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

Maya Angelou


It’s impossible not to love someone whose story you’ve heard.

Sister Mary Lou Kownacki


I want to do everything in the world that can be done.

Fanny Kemble



Please use your voice. Refuse to be silenced. Make the work. Turn your rage into action. Find your inspiration. Find your resistance and resilience. Hold it close. Get loud.

Leigh Silverman


Our willingness to learn and engage with our own vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose. The level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

Brene Brown


It’s your life, but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial.

Eleanor Roosevelt


A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts.

Nancy Rathburn



I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.

Lily Tomlin


We have a whole new year ahead of us and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be a little more gentle with each other, and a little more loving, have a little more empathy, and maybe – next year at this time – we’d like each other a little more.

Judy Garland


What is perfection, anyway? It’s the death of creativity, that’s what I think, while change on the other hand, is the cornerstone of new ideas.

Diane Keaton


Real leadership comes from the quiet nudging of an inner voice. It comes from realizing that the time has come to move beyond waiting to doing.

Toni Morrison


You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.

Grace Lee Boggs


Who did we leave off? What are some of your favorite quotes by women you admire? Leave us a comment and let us know.

#TheFutureisFemale