May 10, 2016

Beyonce said it best when she sang, “Who run the world? Girls.”

Women increasingly inhabit top-ranking roles in traditionally male-dominated industries, lead the international mission for girls’ education and advance the conversations on topics like wage equality.

The following quotes are words of inspiration by some of the smartest, most talented leaders in the world, from Melinda Gates to Malala Yousafzai.

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

 – Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States

“On my own I will just create, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, I’ll create something else. I don’t have any limitations on what I think I could do or be.”

 – Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul

“What’s the thing you love, and that you’re so incredibly passionate about that if you got fired you’d still want to do it?”

 – Elizabeth Holmes, CEO, Theranos.

“No matter how senior you get in an organization, no matter how well you’re perceived to be doing, your job is never done.”

 – Abigail Johnson, President and CEO, Fidelity Investments

“The mere fact of being able to call your job your passion is success in my eyes.”

 – Alicia Vikander, Award-Winning Actress

“I think the truth of the matter is, people who end up as ‘first’ don’t actually set out to be first. They set out to do something they love and it just so happens that they are the first to do it.”

 – Condoleezza Rice, Former U.S. Secretary of State

“If you have an idea, you have to believe in yourself or no one else will.”

 – Sarah Michelle Gellar, Entrepreneur and Actress

“The way you tell your story to yourself matters.”

 – Amy Cuddy, Researcher at Harvard Business School and Author of ‘Presence’

“I tell my daughters to have their voice in this world, and it became clear I needed to role-model that.”

 – Melinda Gates, Co-Founder, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“I don’t follow trends or try to compete with anyone. Everything I do stems from following my passion and my love for design.”

 – Guo Pei, Fashion Designer

“What I do for my work is exactly what I would do if nobody paid me.”

 – Gretchen Rubin, Author of “The Happiness Project”

“Buckle up, and know that it’s going to be a tremendous amount of work, but embrace it.”

 – Tory Burch, Fashion Designer

“Run to the fire; don’t hide from it.”

 – Meg Whitman, CEO and President, HP

“I did not have the most experience in the industry or the most money, but I cared the most.”

 – Sara Blakely, Founder, Spanx

“So I am 63 and I am not yet done. So what is your excuse? I never went to a University and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly.”

 – Folorunsho Alakija, Vice Chair, Famfa Oil

“There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success… but if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going… you’ll know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there.”

 – Taylor Swift, Award-Winning Musician

“[My mother] told me that fear was not an option. I was always told that women are stronger, so I believed it.”

 – Diane Von Furstenberg, Fashion Designer

“I am proud of my position as a boss, as a person that runs my own company. I’m an entrepreneur. … I don’t want to shy away from it. I actually want to kind of grab it by its balls.”

 – Katy Perry, Award-Winning Musician

“Getting past those labels, for me, pretty much really easy because I define myself.”

 – Serena Williams, Athlete

“Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.”

 – Beyonce, Award-Winning Musician

“I had two options. One was to remain silent and never to speak and then to be killed by the terrorists. The second option was to speak up for my rights and then die. And I chose the second one.”

 – Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

 – Gloria Steinem, Journalist and Activist

“I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”

 – Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo

“When we’re growing up there are all sorts of people telling us what to do when really what we need is space to work out who to be.”

 – Ellen Page, Award-Winning Actress

“If we march the long road to freedom in hatred, what we find at the end is not freedom but another prison.”

 – Aung San Suu Kyi, President, National League for Democracy in Myanmar