Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders

Spoiler alert: the future is female!

 While I absolutely love celebrating Women’s History Month, I am equally excited when I envision a future where women leaders are just as common – if not more so – than men. Women are not just contributors to change or cogs in the wheels of success. No, we are the driving force behind it.

 Because the future of leadership is undoubtedly female, we have some work to do today to pave the way for them. That starts with preparation and empowerment so today’s young women can begin taking on influential roles earlier in their careers – regardless of what field they are in.

 There are many examples of present-day ladies who are taking charge and showing us all how it’s done. In diverse sectors – technology and science to business and politics – they are demonstrating exceptional capabilities and reshaping the definition of leadership.

 We must acknowledge and support our rising stars. By providing them with the tools they need and the opportunities they seek, we’ll set them on a path to break barriers we didn’t even dare to dream of. We must also lift them up and help tell their stories – because their success will inspire the generations coming up behind them.

 Fighting for Equality

 Malala Yousafzai is one trailblazer who has become an icon for young women worldwide, especially those who have experienced systemic oppression. At an early age, she defied oppressive forces to champion education for girls in Pakistan and survived a politically motivated shooting.

 Yet, she persevered and continued to stand up for gender equality and education. In 2014, at the age of 17, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate up to that time. Talk about an inspiration! Talk about leadership on the world stage!

 Building a Business

 Technology is traditionally a male-dominated industry. But in 2014, Whitney Wolfe Herd decided to solve a problem using technology viewed from a female lens. It paid off when her company, Bumble, went public in 2021 with a $2.2 billion IPO. That made Wolfe Herd the youngest woman to take a company public at the youthful age of 31.

 She was able to revolutionize the dating app scene and became a symbol of empowerment for women entrepreneurs in the process. Her success sends a powerful message that women can lead and innovate in any field they choose – and at any age.

 Politically Speaking

 In politics, figures like Jacinda Ardern are redefining leadership qualities with empathy and inclusivity. Ardern was elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2017 at the age of just 37 and became the nation’s youngest PM in more than 150 years. Running a whole country? THAT is the definition of leadership.

 Not only that, Ardern demonstrated that women lead with compassion and decisiveness and she proved it in the way she handled the nation’s COVID-19 response. She also displayed the admirable qualities of humility and self-awareness when she resigned in 2023, leaving the seat of power of her own volition and on her own terms. Most importantly, she is a guiding light for other young women aspiring to make a global impact.

 Investing in their Future

 If we want to ensure that women continue to rise into leadership, we must invest in them. Educational programs and mentorship initiatives can be designed to target young women who are in the early stages of their careers. Organizations must be encouraged to foster an inclusive environment that encourages female employees to voice their opinions, take on leadership roles, and participate in decision-making processes.

 Mentorship programs and networking endeavors are key to building communities that lift up the leaders of tomorrow. Open dialogue paired with shared experiences and hard-won insights can create a faster on-ramp to a successful track than the previous generations were ever gifted with.

 I would also love to see our educational institutions and the biggest companies actively promote gender diversity and inclusion. Scholarships, internships, and training programs for young women can be the difference between a high-performer and a top-tier executive or entrepreneur. That is especially true of fields in which women are underrepresented.

 It is our collective responsibility to nurture and empower young women early in their careers. By celebrating successes, investing in accelerator programs, and sharing all the lessons we learned on our way up, the road to a more inclusive, diverse, and successful future is paved for every woman who wants to take her shot.

Lisa L. Baker - Certified Personal, Career, Success and Life Coach

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

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