See What You Can Be – meet Trailblazing Women
We all need role models to inspire us, show us the way and show us what we can be. Research shows this is especially true for women entrepreneurs and other minority founders, for whom the leadership and entrepreneurial journey is usually harder than for their white male counterparts.
Very often, we don’t see enough female role models in the startup, financial or main press and in 2012, I started my journey to meet and document the leadership stories of exceptional women from around the world. What first started as a simple blog, soon became its own Trailblazing Women Series on the Huffpost, where I shared over 60 personal interviews with outstanding women role models.
Why did I start this series? Because I didn’t see enough of them and wanted to shine the spotlight on incredible women role models, to inspire other women and minorities and show the great men out there, that we count. Boy do we count! Such was the success of the series, that I had (and still have) PR agencies contacting me every week to feature one of their clients in the series. Then, in January 2018, Huffpost shut down their contributor platform and I decided to move the Trailblazing Women series to Medium.
A different kind of Leadership — sharing their true voices
I spoke to over 100 international trailblazing leaders from different sectors, trailblazing women entrepreneurs and trailblazing women investors, and still enjoy interviewing many new ones on our InvestHer podcast.
What emerged, was a picture of exceptional leaders, who for the most part, spent most of their time getting great things done, instead of vying for newspaper headlines. I was honoured to have a personal conversation with each and every one of them, and when it came to editing the final versions before publishing, I gave each woman leader the opportunity to change anything they wanted in the text. I wanted their interview to be a legacy piece, one they’d be proud to show their grandchildren and future generations, about who they were as a woman leader, at that particular moment in their lives. Trailblazers, and proud to be one.
“It’s their true voice speaking, captured at a moment in time of their leadership journey. You get to know these incredible women in a more personal way.” — Anne Ravanona
Each woman I interviewed truly touched my heart in one way or another. There was always one message she shared, that really resonated with me, such that even today, when I just look at one of the photos, I remember a key thing she said that touched me. Such is the power of their stories, which I hope, will inspire you too!
The amazing thing that I found, was when I asked them all what they would say to their younger selves, the vast majority of them said ‘have more confidence, believe in yourself’, showing that imposter syndrome and the confidence gap are truly alive and well. But not only that. They have achieved great things and plan on achieving more great things in the coming years. Their uplifting messages are here to share with all future women leaders and the great men who support them.
International Role Models
From the outset, I wanted to put the spotlight on diverse, international women from different backgrounds, sectors and countries, as you’ll see in this first selection of Trailblazing Women below. I still need to get more diversity and am working on it, I promise!
Meet some of these amazing women here!
Moving forward, I plan to publish a new interview of a Trailblazing woman every week, so make sure you come back regularly to meet the latest woman.
Know a great woman I should absolutely feature in this series? Then ping me an email at email@example.com telling me who and why I should feature her and I’ll be happy to take a look.
I have an 18 year old daughter and 15 year old son and the future is bright for both of them. I can only hope to be a Trailblazing Role Model in their eyes too, to show them that women leaders can do anything we set our mind to. We all need to See What We Can Be. I hope you enjoy this series and meeting these incredible women. I know it was a true honour and highlight of my personal life to get to know them all.
Enjoy, and look forward to hearing from you soon!
XXX Anne Ravanona