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Success Secrets Of The World’s Most Powerful Women

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How can women cultivate career success? How did some of the world’s most powerful women manage to progress in their careers while also enjoying life outside of work? These are some of many questions I’ve been grappling with lately, thanks to a very exciting invitation to keynote the eleventh annual Sustaining Women in Business (SWB) conference in Melbourne, Australia. The event brings together 400 executive women and men from the corporate and government worlds to consider, learn and discuss how they can thrive professionally and personally. Here’s what I shared with them on Oct. 24 at the Melbourne Convention Center.

Good morning. It is such a pleasure and an honor to be here with you today. And let me tell you, it took some effort. I got on a plane in New York City on Sunday and by some magic of time zones arrived here in Australia on a Tuesday. I think on the return trip, I’ll actually travel backwards in time.

But it’s genuinely a privilege to be in a room with such talented and ambitious women and to share the tidbits I’ve learned in my years at Forbes magazine researching and writing about women’s leadership. My work has allowed me to meet incredible women at all levels of their careers: Those just starting out, filled with both fear and unbridled possibility; those who’ve found some success and are trying not only to sustain it but also kick it into the next gear; and those at the very top, from self-made billionaires to heads of state and major corporate players.

These women traveled different paths—some climbing the traditional corporate ladder, some zigzagging upwards by jumping between companies, some by starting and running their own businesses. No matter the course, there’s always one constant: Each cultivated her own success. Today we must all be entrepreneurs. Whether in or outside the corporate world, each of us must be responsible for our success, champions of our ideas and landscapers of our careers.

Great careers are no longer passed down or handed over. They must be seeded, tended and grown—and you are the gardener. When women take their success into their own hands, when they take ownership of their achievements, development and ambition, there is no limit to what they can accomplish.

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