Career inspiration from 5 empowered women
Happy International Women’s Day!
To celebrate (and to stoke the fires of your ambition), here are five awesome women you should know, and what you can learn from them to help your career.
Aminatou Sow is a digital strategist, co-founder of the Tech LadyMafia (a listserv for women in tech around the world) and co-host of Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast “for long distance besties everywhere” (Cheryl Strayed just named it her new favourite podcast).
What you can learn from her: Getting ahead does not mean stepping over other people to get there. “We’re all competitive people. But being competitive doesn’t mean that you have to screw over people around you. My friend Ann has this concept she calls Shine Theory. It basically means, ‘I don’t shine if you don’t shine.’ And that’s our overarching ethos. We’re all about helping everybody because we realize a lot of people helped us along the way.” – via Elle.
Waneek Horn Miller
I saw Waneek Horn Miller speak at an event leading up to the 2016 Pan Am Games, and she was so inspiring that she immediately made it to the top of my personal list of badass women. A former Olympian and gold medalist for Canada in water polo at the 2011 Pan Am Games, Horn Miller has since retired from competitive sport, but continues to be a force as a motivational speaker, media figure, spokesperson for brands like Manitobah Mukluks and Nike, and IndigenACTION ambassador.
What you can learn from her: Find strength in who you are, and bring it. “We have to not see this diverse population that we live in as something that we have to conform into this mold… we have to reach out to them and see what they can bring as their strengths, and what can they contribute. As a native athlete… I had to figure out how to bring my culture with me into my sport, because the more I tried to conform, the worse player I became.” – via the Lavin Agency.
Julielynn Wong is a “medical maker.” An MD with a master’s in Public Health from Harvard, she’s a passionate advocate for the power of 3D printing to better healthcare. 3D printers make tools and supplies accessible quickly and easily to locations where they might not otherwise make it – including refugee camps and (wait for it) outer space.
What you can learn from her: You never know where you’ll end up (and you’re not limited to the expected). When Wong started medical school, the people around her probably imagined she’d end up in a hospital or clinic. Instead, she then trained in space medicine at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and recently led a project testing 3D printed medical supplies at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah. Who knows – maybe she’ll make it into space herself someday.
Jade Raymond is a major name in the video game industry. She started as a programmer, produced the massively popular Assassin’s Creed, then went on to become the studio head at Ubisoft’s Toronto studio before launching Motive Studios with Electronic Arts last July.
What you can learn from her: Take risks. And – if you’re a manager – create an environment where your team can take risks. “Innovation is important; if the bonus is based 100% on profitability and sales, you aren’t as likely to take creative risks or innovate, because every time you try to innovate or focus on things that are new, some of them might not work out… if your bonus is 100% based on profitability you are more likely to stay with the tried and true route – if Game X is a sequel and the previous game hit that bar, you’re going to do a similar thing but polish a little more.” – via Forbes.
Okay, so this is actually three women (three for one!). case/lang/viers describes itself/themselves as a “one-of-a-kind event.” I would describe them as a musical supergroup made up of three amazing singer-songwriters: Neko Case, kd lang and Laura Viers.
What you can learn from them: Collaborate. All three musicians are successful on their own, but they’ve created something completely different by coming together. Most of us need to be learning and growing to be happy at work, so if you’ve reached some degree of success (whether or not it includes a Grammy), consider reaching out and starting something new, especially working with other smart, talented, successful people. Combine your strengths!