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Developing women leaders has long been a passion of mine.

You could say I was born into that role, as the oldest of five daughters. And it continued into my professional life. Through the years, I’ve made it my priority to serve as a mentor, conduct leadership training for emerging women leaders, and even coach with Girls on the Run. I now serve on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland—an opportunity I’m especially proud to have, because developing women leaders of tomorrow starts with our girls of today.

As we mark International Women’s Day on March 8, I also reflect on all the strong and wise women who have made an impact on my life. Moms, sisters, and aunts. Coaches, colleagues, mentors, bosses, and friends. To each and every one of you, I am grateful.

I’m an optimist, and we’ve made a lot of progress in women’s leadership. The leadership gap between men and women has been slowly closing since 2008.

I’m also a realist. There are still many trails to blaze and lots of work to do. Our progress needs to accelerate. Equal pay. Solving the benefits cliff. More women CEOs. More women in the board room. More women in public service. A woman in the White House.

To spread some inspiration in recognition of International Women’s Day, I’m sharing five of the most motivational TED talks by women leaders. Watch them now, and I guarantee you’ll be ready to pursue your greatest goals. Go get ‘em, ladies.

My Year of Saying Yes to Everything | Shonda Rhimes

As this happens to be my year of “yes,” Shonda Rhimes earns a spot at the top of this list. In her moving talk, she describes the journey through her “year of yes” and explains how she got her “hum” back. If you are feeling stuck, this video is for you.

Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders | Sheryl Sandberg

If you’ve read Lean In, you know Sheryl Sandberg is all about supporting women as they to reach their ambitions. In this video, the Facebook COO looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers three powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite.

3 Lessons on Success from an Arab Business Woman | Leila Hoteit

What can their success teach us about tenacity, competition, priorities and progress? Tracing her career as an engineer, advocate and mother in Abu Dhabi, Leila Hoteit shares three lessons for thriving in the modern world. My favorite tip: join forces, don’t compete. Yes, networking is integral no matter where you are in the world.

Be passionate. Be courageous. Be your best. | Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly.

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head while meeting constituents in her home town of Tucson, Arizona. Her husband, the astronaut Mark Kelly, immediately flew to be by her side. Few people are as optimistic and positive as Gabby, and I have tremendous admiration for her.

Dare to Disagree | Margaret Heffernan

I’ve written before about managing conflict with grace. This is never an easy topic, especially for women. Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.


For more tips on becoming your best leader, download my ebook, Leadership Lessons.


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