The Leadership tips from the Fortune Program

Currently I am one of 13 women selected by the US State Department to attend one of its flagship programs with Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women and Vital Voices. I was nominated by the US Consulate in Mumbai and have been in Washington DC since 1 May.

The first week of the program was orientation — understanding the role of mentor/mentee, setting expectations and goals, media and public speaking training, understanding the role of the various partners of the program and how we can leverage the various resources available to us as alumni once we complete the 3.5 weeks.

During the first week we met several powerful women — Ambassadors, Senators, Congresswomen, politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Lots of them had great tips for us, some of which I am sharing here.

  • Keep pushing the boundaries.
  • Have a kind word for women. Give yourself and each other a break. Try not to be hard about holding yourself to the gold standard.
  • Constantly ask yourself “The women who worked under my leadership, where are they now?”
  • Take the time to step back and re-evaluate. Proactively plan for yourself.
  • In a world full of ambiguity, take the bold step and make it happen.
  • Do something that is totally out of your comfort zone. You will be able to better understand yourself and can better handle surprises.
  • Ask yourself — Why not? Look for the positive, go for the unexpected and rely on the network.
  • Live every moment fully. Soak it in. Learn and take it in joyously. Be resilient.
  • Have perseverance. Play the long game.
  • Hone in on your passion. Apply your business skills to that passion.
  • All through your life, look at life as a ladder and reach for the stars. But reach back and help someone else make it to the next rung, especially women.
  • Whatever you do, when you go back, keep up the friendships.
  • Volunteer in your community.
  • Be open to suggestions.
  • Listen, listen, listen.
  • Share what you learn. Talk to others. Give people courage to move on with their lives.
  • Opportunities present themselves when you already have other plans. Be open to those opportunities.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Manage your energy in addition to your time. It will help you sustain your work in the long run.
  • Always keep a good sense of humour.
  • Don’t burn bridges.
  • Never end your day without making someone else feel good about themselves.
  • Own who you are and don’t feel afraid to be different.
  • Be true and mindful about your character. Have your own imprint. You bring your own uniqueness to the table.
  • Make people feel empowered.
  • Take advantage of opportunities. Try new things and experiences. Encourage your team to do the same.
  • Show confidence.
  • Ask yourself what value you are adding.
  • You can’t always give 100% to everything you do. So take the weighted average of your inputs in the various areas of your life. Sometimes 80% + 80% + 80% adds up to more than 100%.
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