Being a Strong Leader: Inc. Women’s Summit 2016

As women, the leadership role does not always come easy. Though it is far easier today than in the past, an overwhelming majority of leadership positions are still filled by men—especially in the business world.

At the 2016 Inc. Women’s Summit, which took place on November 3 in New York City, powerful female business leaders from across the country gathered to share what they’ve learned, the mistakes they’ve made, and how to take on those leadership roles fearlessly. These are some of the most important lessons they offered.

  1. Don’t let failure hold you back. Every single one of the speakers from the Inc. Women’s Summit shared stories of failure before they reached the pinnacle of their success. Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, split from her long-time boyfriend and thought that their real estate company was over, but instead of wallowing, she turned her half of the business into a multi-million-dollar corporation. Venus Williams didn’t allow her big losses to stop her from getting back on the court, but instead, remembered that being fearless and passionate is what it’s all about. It’s important to remember you will fail, but that’s part of the process.
  2. Use your unique talents to the best of your ability. We all have things we’re good at and things we’re not so good at, but you might as well put your talents to good use and make up the difference with a team of other strong-minded people. Before merging with Northwestern Mutual, entrepreneur Alexa von Tobel had created LearnVest—a one-of-a-kind platform to help families plan for their financial future. Without her unique perspective and experience of being raised by a single mother, she said that she may have never been able to create the program in the first place. Utilize your own exceptional viewpoints on your quest for success.
  3. Be open to change. No successful business reached the pinnacle of their achievements by doing the same thing, over and over without any innovation. Innovation is the key to most things in life, especially leadership. Willingness to listen and keep an open mind is how Venus William’s said she is still able to win matches, despite playing professionally for nearly twenty years. You don’t have to make every change and decision proposed, but it’s important to listen to these suggestions.

For more insight from Inc. Women’s Summit on how to start your own business and build a strong company culture, visit