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Words of Wisdom from the Top Power Women in the World

Forbes compiled a list of the “Top 100 Power Women in the World.” They assembled it based on each of their net worths, but we know that there is more to each of these ladies than the total of their bank accounts. So, we thought we’d share with you some of the wise and inspirational things each of them has said.

1. Michelle Obama, First lady of the United States

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them because I know who I am.”

2. Irene Rosenfeld, Chief Executive Officer Officer at Kraft

“The experience of honing my competitive skills really gave me a leg up as I came into the business world because women of my generation didn’t necessarily have the experience of being competitive and playing to win.”

3. Oprah Winfrey, Media Personality

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

4. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor

“The question is not whether we are able to change, but whether we are changing fast enough.”

5. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

“Eleanor Roosevelt understood that every one of us every day has choices to make about the kind of person we are and what we wish to become. You can decide to be someone who brings people together or you can fall prey to those who wish to divide us. You can be someone who educates yourself or you can believe that being negative is clever and being cynical is fashionable. You have a choice.”

6. Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive Officer at Pepsi

“If you don’t make mistakes, if you don’t have failures, you’ll never learn. So, in a way, if you haven’t had failures in your life because of mistakes, then hurry up and make a mistake.”

7. Lady Gaga, Singer/Performance Artist

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or how much money you’ve got in your pocket. You have your own destiny and your own life ahead of you.”

8. Gail Kelly, Chief Executive Officer at Westpac

“I sometimes use my Latin background when I talk about satisfaction. Satisfaction isn’t enough. Satisfaction comes from the Latin word satis, meaning enough, and facio, which means to do or make. Well, we’re about doing more.”

9. Beyonce Knowles, Singer/Fashion Designer

“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world.”

10. Ellen DeGeneres, Talk Show Host

“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else’s path, unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path – by all means, you should follow that.”

11. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

“We have so much room for improvement. Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory of how we are taking responsibility.”

12. Angela Braly, Chief Executive Officer Officer at WellPoint

“Women are currently available—ready, willing, and able—to be CEOs of major Fortune 50 or 500 companies. And I expect them to emerge as such.”

13. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security

“Today, we live in a world where change is a certainty and where the pace of that change is growing even faster. Past generations really could not bank on the fact that the world would be all that different four or 40 or 100 years in the future, but we can. And this gives us greater opportunities, to be sure.”

14. Cynthia Caroll, Chief Executive Officer at Anglo American

“Internally, we need to know that there is a high degree of assurance that we are doing the right things in the right way. And this transparency … allows us to put any failure in context, and more readily learn from it, and substantially reduce the chances of repeating it.”

15. Sheila Bair, Chairman at Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

“You just need to bite the bullet sometimes. It takes courage to do that.”

16. Sarah Palin, Politician

“Each of us knows that we have an obligation to care for the old, the young and the sick. We stand strongest when we stand with the weakest among us.”

17. Mary Schapiro, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission

“We can only live in the here and now.”

18. Ellen Kullman, Chief Executive Officer at DuPont

“Invention creates wonder and opportunity. Innovation creates value. Invention can be done by an individual or team. Innovation, in the 21st century, requires collaboration across companies, borders and sectors.”

19. Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice

“I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be good and wise, regardless of their background or life experiences.”

20. Ursula Burns, Chief Executive Officer at Xerox

“You have to first love it and then you’ll be good at it. Relax and go after something that you love.”

21. Angelina Jolie, Actress

“People say that you’re going the wrong when, when it’s simply a way of your own.”

22. Katie Couric, Journalist

“The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades bumps and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. Have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect – nothing is and no one is — and that’s ok.”

23. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services

“A healthy state encourages many voices – and lots of listening.”

24. Anne Lauvergeon, Chief Executive Officer at Areva

“I heard President Obama’s remarkable speech in Prague [and] it reminded me of this sentence of German philosopher Hegel: ‘Human beings make history, but they are not aware of which history they are making.’ I had the feeling that President Obama and us are aware of the history we are willing to make – the history of a safer, more prosperous and more equitable world.”

25. Elena Kagan, Supreme Court Justice

“I have no regrets. I don’t believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard… and achieving as much as I could.”

26. Patricia Woertz, Chief Executive Officer at Archer Daniels Midland Company

“We must not let cynics obscure the vision or dim the passion that so many feel at the prospect of a better way to a better future coming into view.”

27. Melinda Gates, Co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult. It is complicated by the fact that, in most nations, women receive substantially less education than men.”

28. Arianna Huffington, Founder and Editor-in-chief of “The Huffington Post”

“You have to do what you dream of doing, even while you’re afraid.”

29. Madonna, Singer

“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.”

30. Ho Ching, Chief Executive Officer at Temasek Holdings

“May you always exercise your power of one amidst the advantage of many with care, with humanity, and with wisdom.”

31. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

“We live in an age in which the fundamental principles to which we subscribe – liberty, equality, and justice for all – are encountering extraordinary challenges. But it is also an age in which we can join hands with others who hold to those principles and face similar challenges.”

32. Maria Ramos, Chief Executive Officer at Absa Group Banks

“Leave [your ego] outside and get the job done … or it will count against you.”

33. Chelsea Handler, Talk-Show Host/Author

“There’s nothing more important than doing the best you can, even if you feel you can’t.”

34. Tina Brown, Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief of “The Daily Beast”

“Manners are the ability to put someone else at their ease…by turning any answer into another question.”

35. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, First Lady of France

“Have no regrets. I made a lot of mistakes, but every time I made a mistake, I learned something from it.”

36. Lynn Laverty Elsenhans, Chief Executive Officer at Sunoco

“One of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a leader was the need to give up being right. If you’re always advocating your position, you aren’t being open to the ideas of others.”

37. Elizabeth Warren, Special Advisor for the United States Consumer Protection Bureau

“It is now, right here at the beginning, that we have a remarkable chance to put aside misconceptions and preconceptions, whether they are yours or mine. We have a chance to build something better, to pour over the research and data together, and to identify problems and solutions, with or without regulation.”

38. Ana Patricia Botin, Chairman of Banesto Bank

“Timing is important … Everything takes time.”

39. Heidi Klum, Fashion Model

“All the money in the world cannot make you happy, so there has to be a balance.”

40. Meredith Vieira, Television Personality

“Remember to always ask questions … no question is too stupid. You’re not as smart as you think you are. You never will be. There’s always room to learn. Don’t be scared to ask.”

41. Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of England

“Work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth.”

42. Carol Bartz, Chief Executive Officer at Yahoo

“Touch is an extremely important part of the human condition. I also have a big thing about eye contact.”

43. Christine Lagarde, Finance Minister of France

“’Change’ is a politically very heavy word. I make a point not to use it too often, but to practice it as much as I can.”

44. Sallie Krawcheck, President at Bank of America

“Planning is hard – it’s no fun, and it’s painful, not relaxing.”

45. Sarah Jessica Parker, Actress

“When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking.”

46. Diane Sawyer, Journalist

“I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.”

47. Meg Whitman, Former CEO of E-Bay

“You have to be a good communicator. You have to have the ability to connect with people.”

48. Marina Berlusconi, Chair of Mondadori and Finivest Group

“Every freedom has a precise limit.”

49. Stephenie Meyer, Author

“The best four letter word in the world is ‘hope’.”

50. Rachel Maddow, Political Commentator

“Do stuff you will enjoy thinking about and telling stories about for many years to come. Do stuff you will want to brag about.”

51. Carly Fiorina, Former Executive at AT&T

“My mother taught me about the power of inspiration and courage, and she did it with a strength and a passion that I wish could be bottled.”

52. Guler Sabanci, Chairman at Sabanci Holding

“I believe in the goodness of people, of trying to be a good person.”

53. Maria Shriver, Author/Journalist

“Women who want to be perfect only end up feeling bad about themselves. I think that that’s one of the things that I learned from [my mother] was, like, go out. Make a mistake. Have the guts to fail and talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

54. Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of TJX Companies

“Warm weather makes everything exciting.”

55. Serena Williams, Professional Athlete

“Family’s first, and that’s what matters most.”

56. Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of “Vogue”

“As far as I’m concerned, having the right to say ‘I do’ is as fundamental as the right to vote.”

57. Andrea Jung, Chief Executive Officer at Avon

“If you feel like it’s difficult to change, you will probably have a harder time succeeding.”

58. Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia

“Through hard work and education, we can deliver a strong economy and opportunity for all.”

59. Abigail Johnson, President of Fidelity Investments

“We are stronger than we were last year.”

60. Venus Williams, Professional Athlete

“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does- that makes you a winner right there.”

61. Suze Orman, Personal Finance Guru/Author

“A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life.”

62. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland

“Everyone must look beyond short-term national interests. This way we can achieve results that will be visible in our lives.”

63. Marjorie Scardino, Chief Executive Officer at Pearson PLC

“Today’s students need to be able to question, analyze, reason, and think critically to be successful in tomorrow’s challenges.”

64. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland

“The past is still within our living memory – a time when neighbor helped neighbor, sharing what little they had, out of necessity as well as decency.”

65. Annika Falkengren, Chief Executive Officer at SEB

“We must not spread ourselves too thin.”

66. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook

“The thing for people to remember is to really try to embrace change and not try to control it too much. It’s an instinct to hunker down and control things that makes this harder for people.”

67. Cathleen Black, Chairman at Hearst

“Many women are so concerned with being liked and wanting to please that they don’t speak up … for fear they’ll be rejected.”

68. Christina Fernandez, President of Argentina

“You can be sure that all and each one of us who have institutional responsibilities will raise not only our voice but will take concrete action.”

69. Anne Sweeney, Co-chair of Disney Media Networks

“Look at [the world] with an open mind and to walk into it as clear headed as possible and without any preconceived notions of what it is.”

70. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Economic and Planning of the UAE

“While we are proud of our accomplishments as a people and as a nation, it is also important for us that we help the world secure a brighter future for its members.”

71. Chua Sock Koong, Group Chief Executive Officer at Singapore Telecommunications

“We must continue to invest [in] sustained growth for the future.”

72. Gisele Bundchen, Fashion Model

“There is good in everything; it’s just how you choose to look at it. Everything that’s worth it has a price. … There are sacrifices. Life is meant to be a challenge because challenges are what make you grow.”

73. Christiane Amanpour, Journalist

“What we do and say and show really matters.”

74. Sheikha Mozah, First Lady of Qatar

“The desire to innovate is, in fact, an innate human need to shape and improve our environment.”

75. Susan Ivey, Chief Executive Officer at Reynolds American

“This is an opportunity to maximize potential … go for it.”

76. Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan

“The simple power of friendship [can] change the world.”

77. Nancy McKinstry, Chief Executive Officer at Wolters Kluwer

“I learned early on, in my own experience, that you could produce better results if you knew where you were headed and what somebody wanted.”

78. Rachael Ray, Talk-Show Host/Author

“Decide what it is that you are and then stay true to that thing.”

79. Nikki Finke, Founder of “Deadline Hollywood”

“I try to give good career advice. It wasn’t said to me specifically, but I was covering the Reagan administration when Nancy came out with her ‘Just say no’ campaign. So these days, I keep giving people career advice to ‘Just say no.’ Boss asks you to demean yourself writing about a celeb divorce? ‘Just say no.’”

80. Johanna Sigurdardottir, Prime Minister of Iceland

“We are responsible for the welfare of the least of our brethren, those less fortunate than ourselves, for helping to relieve their burdens.”

81. Jing Ulrich, Managing Director/Chairman at J.P. Morgan

“With the world now increasing connected, risk is no longer an isolated phenomenon.”

82. Laura Sen, Chief Executive Officer at BJ’s Wholesale Club

“I don’t look back. What’s the point?”

83. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica

“There are complex issues that require us to prioritize, such as employment or security.”

84. Mary Callahan Erdoes, Chief Executive Officer at J.P. Morgan

“I can still hear the words of wisdom from my mom [one] morning, ‘Don’t take no bullying from nobody.’”

85. Janet L. Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer of “The New York Times”

“Inclusiveness and a healthy sense of anxiousness are values. They are the values of the future.”

86. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

87. Amy Pascal, Co-Chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment

“Trust yourself because you’re the only thing you’ve got.”

88. Tony Burch, Fashion Designer

“There are no rules about what you can and can’t do anymore. Women are more empowered than they have ever been.”

89. Shikha Sharma, Chief Executive Officer at Axis Bank

“Chamomile tea, jasmine tea, tulsi tea and other herbal variants of tea do wonders to our system. The herbs act like medicine in calming and relaxing our mind.”

90. Sun Yafang, Chairman at Huawei Technologies

“The only way for us to survive is to ensure high quality and good service.”

91. Vera Wang, Fashion Designer

“Don’t be afraid to take time to learn. It’s good to work for other people. I worked for others for 20 years. They paid me to learn.”

92. Chanda Kocchar, Chief Executive Officer at ICICI Bank

“There is no substitute for hard work. Even as one gets opportunities, one gets challenges, and hard work is essential for success.”

93. Danica Patrick, Racecar Driver

“I try not to live up to expectation … I just do what I think I can do.”

94. Maha Al-Ghunaim, Co-Founder of Global Investment House

“My advice to women is to emphasize networking … A significant network of relations is a prelude to prominence; not having one will make you a soldier, but never a general.”

95. Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil

“A woman is not just courage; she is also affection.”

96. Donna Karan, Fashion Designer

“I think that with success comes a responsibility to give back. I know it’s a huge undertaking but I love it.”

97. Angela Ahrendts, Chief Executive Officer at Burberry

“The more honest and open you are about yourself, the faster you will connect and cut through the competitive clutter.”

98. Ellen Alemany, Chief Executive Officer at Citizen’s Financial

“When in doubt, follow your gut; it’s most likely [that] you’re doing the right thing.”

99. Martha Stewart, Lifestyle Guru/TV Personality

“The ultimate goal is to be an interesting, useful, wholesome person. If you’re successful on top of that, then you’re way ahead of everybody.”

100. Dominique Senequier, Chief Executive Officer at AXA Private Equity

“Find the best in people by always paying attention to them.”

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