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I Like the Way You Work It: Words From Successful Businesswomen

Famous business women

Have you ever just thought you can’t do it? You can’t get up for work in the morning, you’re not good enough to apply for that job you want, and you can’t do a lot of other things.

It’s easy for us to slip into a habit of throwing ourselves a pity party every now and then. As good as it feels to eat a whole tub of peanut butter ice cream, you still have to wake up facing the aftermath of it – that feeling of guilt that we all know too well.

We have to be active in our quest for accomplishment, and we have to keep finding motivation. It’s easier said than done, so here at GenTwenty we have compiled some expert words of advice from some of the world’s most successful and influential women.

Sheryl Sandberg

“Feeling confident – or pretending that you feel confident – is necessary to reach for opportunities. It’s a cliché, but opportunities are rarely offered; they’re seized.”

Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most influential businesswomen at the moment. The current Chief Operating Officer of Facebook is ranked at number six on the Forbes Power Women list and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in 2013, with the title “Don’t hate her because she’s successful.” She worked at Google while it was still a startup, and her position at Facebook propelled her into tech genius fame. Her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, encourages young women to approach their work attitude with a completely different perspective. Her vision is to motivate women to achieve more, and to strive to better themselves.

“I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.”

Ivanka Trump

“Sure, my parents cast a big shadow. Sure, their accomplishments can seem intimidating. But I never shrank from the standards they set. Instead, I’ve pushed myself even harder to fill all the spaces where their big shadows might not yet reach, to harness some of their power and influence and use it to propel myself forward in life.”

Despite being an heiress to a real estate empire, Ivanka Trump was not content to glide through life on her father’s success. She graduated from Wharton School of Business with a degree in economics, and in her book, The Trump Card, she explains how hard she had to work to prove her worth in order to work her way up in her father’s company.

Ivanka is now the Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at The Trump Organization and has extended her brand into her own fashion and lifestyle entrepreneurial pursuits, which include her own fine jewelry, handbag, and shoe lines, while being the mother to two young children.  Despite her golden pedigree and “It” Girl looks, she has distinguished herself as a vibrant and intelligent businesswoman.

“People underestimate me, and that’s fine. I prefer to go into negotiations being underestimated.”

Diane von Furstenberg

“The biggest mistake a woman can make is not to be herself in public or private.”

Diane von Furstenberg gained fame and a high profile in the fashion industry when she created the wrap dress, which is now a staple in the industry. The designer burst onto the scene after her divorce in 1972. She sold over a million wrap dresses in two years. It quickly became the most popular dress among working women due to its easy-to-wear design and versatile look; it has since become so iconic in the fashion industry that it is on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

She is also the director of a philanthropic group known as The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, a private non-profit organization that provides support to various organizations such as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Women for Women International. The designer is also a mother, and a sponsor of the DVF Awards — which honor women who have shown commitment to women’s issues and have displayed strength and leadership.

“I wanted to be an independent woman, a woman who could pay for her bills, a woman who could run her own life – and I became that woman.”

The Co-Founders and Editors

“No matter how much you love your job, devoting every single moment of your life to work will take a toll on you. Even if it’s a 20-minute walk, coffee with a friend, or catching up on a favorite TV show, be sure to give yourself a little time for you.” – Danielle Moss, The Everygirl Co-Founder

Some of the most successful businesswomen have yet to be fully recognized, including bloggers, graphic designers, and editors of some of our favorite websites. describes itself as the “ultimate online resource helping shape the creative, career-driven woman to experience her life better lived.”

It has become an online treasure trove of lifestyle and wellness pieces, home and décor articles, and career advice. The website was included on the Forbes list of ‘Top 100 Websites for Women” less than four months after its launch, and has continued to grow in popularity. It also houses an online store with prints and iPhone cases emblazoned with inspirational quotes such as, “Stop making excuses and just do things.”

“Be good to yourself. Find work you’re passionate about because you’re going to spend a good chunk of your life doing it. Be good to the people you love and the people you don’t. And never stop believing in yourself.” – Alaina Kaczmarski, The Everygirl Co-Founder

Whenever you feel the need to curl up with a jar of Nutella and avoid being productive, that’s okay, and it’s also okay to be afraid, as Arianna Huffington once put it, “Being fearless doesn’t mean living a life devoid of fear, but living a life in which our fears don’t hold us back.”

Remember how far women have come, and no matter what you aspire to be, whether it’s a high-end fashion designer, a magazine editor, or the CEO of an exciting new start-up company, take advice from the mouths of your heroes, and that includes your parents. Build your empire from the ground up, and be someone for other little girls to be proud of.

Like this? You may also love: Lessons From Powerful Women

About the Author

Shelley Phillips

Shelley holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Swansea University, Wales. She enjoys keeping up with a critiquing TV shows, blogging, American politics, and baking snicker doodles. She hopes to one day work as a journalist.


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