Women are increasingly assuming leadership roles in the business world, shattering long-held gender stereotypes and proving themselves to be just as capable as men when it comes to leading their own businesses or large corporations.
Breaking down traditional gender barriers in business takes hard work and perseverance. Many women come up against significant obstacles on their way to becoming respected business leaders. Reena Merchant, a member of the User Experience leadership team at Google, says, “Being a woman in tech is challenging at times because there aren’t as many of us in the industry. Due to the cultural fabric, we are often expected to behave in a certain way – have louder voices and a louder presence.
The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that you should never try to be someone you aren’t. You do not need to change in order to succeed. You simply need to have the courage to be yourself. As a woman in the tech industry, what gratifies me the most is that I am able to help evolve the industry toward greater inclusivity.”
Another industry that seems to suffer from gender stereotypes is the cosmetics and aesthetics industry. Tristen Durkin, founder of True Medical Aesthetics, shares, “I am a blonde woman running my own aesthetics clinic, and some people don’t realize that I am intelligent. They tend to greatly underestimate me, which I have learned to brush off and keep doing my own thing. I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where I am today and overcome significant challenges both personally and professionally, but we just keep going, building the vision we see in our heads and our hearts into being.
I use all the resources I have at my disposal and understand my strengths as well as my weaknesses. It’s so important to recognize your weaknesses and work with others who have strengths in those areas so that you can grow together.”
By challenging the status quo and proving their mettle in the business world, unique individuals like Reena and Tristen are not only reshaping our view of what it means to be a successful entrepreneur but also setting an example for women who want to achieve success on their own terms.
Rhonda Swan, CEO of Unstoppable Branding Agency, best-selling author, and live weekly show host, reflects on some of the stereotypes that she has experienced as a female CEO. “If you’re going to run a big company, you have to be a bitch. This is what we are conditioned to believe and the role I found myself playing for many years until I chose to think differently and change the dynamics of my leadership style. Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to be a bitch. Being a leader is stepping up to educate your team and empower others to make their own decisions. When you have A players working with you, you don’t have to control them; you allow them to lead themselves. I run a company that is 85% women; we trust each other and don’t fall into the traps of negativity because we all have a job to do.”
Sophie Zollmann, a bonafide chaos coordinator and founder of SophieZo Next Level Business Support, shares, “Being a woman CEO doesn’t mean you have to look a certain way, act a certain way, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to do what others do, whether they are men OR women. Being yourself is the only way to be. I brought my spiritual, witchy, woo-woo, 80s pop, Harry Potter-loving self to the front of my business and messaging and stepped into who I am as a woman and a leader. I am myself unapologetically and do what works for me. I surround myself with amazing, feminine, powerful women who are leading the way into the new world we are creating.”
The achievements of these women are inspiring other females around the world to pursue their own dreams of success. These accomplishments go beyond simply changing societal perceptions; they also demonstrate that women can shape the future of business for generations to come. Women CEOs are proving that with ambition and determination, anything is possible.