Must Read: Leading Women by Nancy D. O’Reilly


As a young, ambitious girl, it is not always easy to make your way to the top in a male-dominated corporate world. However, it has never been a greater time to be a woman. Women have greater equality in law and rights, and more options, now than ever before. “Yet, for many of us, our relationship with power continues to be fraught with insecurity, ambivalence, and confusion”. Exchanging thoughts and strategies on this topic with other powergirls is very helpful. One very motivating collection of essays is “Leading Women – 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life” by Nancy D. O’Reilley. Nancy is not only a leading woman herself, but found 20 other leading women to share their secrets to leadership, business and life. The book is a collection of articles, divided into three parts: mastering our external environment, internal environment, and connecting with others. To give you an idea of what to expect, we collected our favourite phrases.


By Gloria Feldt, Cofounder and president of Take the Lead

“Women currently represent 51% of the population, 57% of college graduates, half the workplace and 54% of voters, but only hold 18% of the top leadership positions across all sectors.”

“…the problem is no longer external barriers and biases holding women back, though those certainly still exist. Women now have the necessary resources and the power to move forward…”

“Power unused is power useless”


By Lois Phillips, PhD, speaker, educator, college administrator, consultant, trainer and coach

“Silence is not golden … when men do all the talking”

“Remember the first time you were surprised to see a woman enter the cockpit and realize that she was the pilot? Attitudes change more slowly than reality.”


By Claire Demken Brown, PhD, Founder and president of Damken Brown and Associates, Inc.

“Especially in male-dominated work environments, women frequently lament that their ideas are not as respected, their opinions are not as valued, their voices are often silenced, and they are more frequently interrupted when compared to similar behaviours of their male colleagues. If women can’t get their voice heard or have their comments taken seriously, then they can’t build on-the-job credibility; without that credibility women cannot be accurately evaluated for promotions and career opportunities that will propel them to the executive suite.”

“Do not let yourselves be silenced. Women, it is time to power up!”


By Lois P. Frankel, PhD, President of Corporate Coaching International

“If ever there was a time in history that cried out for women to lead, that time is now.”

“It is not that women make better leaders. It is that women make different leaders.”

“…stepping fully away from the nice girl massage learned in childhood, and into adulthood, is all it would take for any woman to be a phenomenal leader for this age.”

“Early speakers are seen as more self-confident than later speakers are.”

“Women make the mistake of using far more words than necessary or effective.”


“Many of the behaviours she [Kim Campbell, former prime minister of Canada] spoke of that contributed to her eventual success were what I call feminine skills: inclusion, relational intelligence, deep listening, empathy, intuition, big picture thinking, finding the common ground, and bridge building. These, however, are not skills we usually associate with leadership.”

“Historically, in politics and business, feminine skills have been largely disparaged, demeaned, and marginalized, as touchy-feely, as soft. Nevertheless, in reality, they are anything but soft; they are the exact opposite. These skills are hard to learn; they are difficult and complex skills to acquire and develop.”

“How do we create strong and positive relationships? By employing our feminine skills. Skills such as relational intelligence, emotional intelligence, inclusion, and empathy serve to strengthen our relationships.”

“The result of the McKinsey Global Survey in 2010 `Moving Women to the Top` found 72% of executive believe there is a direct connection between a company´s gender diversity and its financial success”

“We are transforming the meaning of power: from power over others to power used for and with others.”


You can buy the book here.

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