International Women’s Day: 10 Leaders Share Their Advice and Stories

International Women’s Day: 10 Leaders Share Their Advice and Stories

In celebration of International Women’s Day and in the spirit of “each for equal”, we asked 10 leaders to share their advice for the leaders of tomorrow. Here is what they said!


Kelly Van Nelson

Managing Director, Adecco Australia

“Only you can spread your wings and fly.”


You have to lead yourself down the right path first before others will follow. My advice to young leaders I interact with is to never sell themselves short, to know their own worth and to avoid succumbing to imposter syndrome. My constant mantra is, ‘Only you can spread your wings and fly’. I developed a steely inner strength from the knowledge that my destiny is in my own hands. I try not to let anyone clip my wings, including myself. Willpower is my superpower.

One unusual influencer on my life has been Dame Stella Rimington. She is the former Director-General of MI5 and the first and only female to fill this position. She inspired me to use backbone and resilience to overcome the imposter syndrome feeling.


Marcela Zapata Salazar

Director of Spring Professional, Colombia & Ecuador

“I hope to be an inspiration for others.”


My advice for future leaders, whoever they may be, is to be passionate about their work and to become an inspiration for others. They should promote equality by, among other things, highlighting the contribution and leadership of women within the organisation. I try to live by this myself. As one of the heads of Spring Professional in Latin America, I hope to be a leadership example for others. I source my inspiration and energy from my two children who encourage me to work harder and continue to grow professionally every day. In turn, I teach them the value of work and to recognise the effort needed to achieve their goals.


Ranjit de Sousa

Global President of Lee Hecht Harrison, Switzerland

“Fight your corner, always fight your corner!”


The most important thing a company can do to support equality is to value and implement diversity of thought in every context. Ensuring diversity of thought will inevitably lead to more diversity in representation and equality. And this is not limited to your workplace only. Actually, equality starts at home. If you are a role model and advocate for equality in your daily life, you’re very likely to create a much more inclusive environment at work as well. My advice to any future leaders is simple: define yourself first and foremost in terms of the value you create and the impact you have. And fight your corner, always fight your corner!


Joyce Bijl

Regional Sales Head & Program Head of Pontoon, United Arab Emirates

“Be bold and brave!”


I like to lead by example and hope to inspire women to do the best they can. I am very proud to have been recognised by Forbes as one of the top 100 executives in the Middle East in 2017 and 2018. I believe that to make a difference and to succeed, one must be bold and brave. To take all opportunities, even if they are out of your comfort zone. My advice for future leaders is not to wait for that perfect opportunity. If you wait too long and don’t take opportunities when they come along, someone else will!


Laurie Chamberlin

President of Professional Recruitment & Solutions North America, USA

“People should be free to be their true selves.


As a working mother, it is my goal to be my best at work while also being an engaged parent. Nothing is more rewarding than the recognition you get from your own child. My son a few years ago wrote a piece for school in which he said I was the most important person in his life. He wrote about admiring me for working so hard and that it taught him to never give up. I believe our careers should be about education and growth, not perfection at the price of advancement. This also means supporting diversity and equality. People should be free to be their true selves.


Tyra Tutor

President and CEO at TAD PGS, USA

“Always work hard!”


I have always tried to do my best to lead by example. Throughout my entire career with the Adecco Group, I have worked to serve as a mentor to both women and men and I would always invite my colleagues to approach me for guidance. My advice to anyone – and to future leaders especially – is to always work hard. Coupled with a supportive manager, hard work translates into promotions and other opportunities.


Ernesto Lamaina

CEO at Adia, Switzerland

“Equality and diversity are a driver of outstanding business results.


My advice is very simple: diversity and equality bring better business results. People will try and solve problems based on their background and what they have learnt in their life. The more diverse the team, the higher the likelihood that a problem is going to be solved in an innovative way. Therefore, I would always recommend leaders to build teams that are diverse and promote equality. I strongly believe in equality and diversity as driver of outstanding business results.


Frederique Plasson

Director of Operations, Adecco France

“Begin by asking yourself “why not me?”


In my career at the Adecco Group, I’ve grown from being a sales representative to holding senior managerial positions in various departments. I have learnt to believe in myself by daring to take the risk. Along the way, I have tried to support my employees and motivate them by asking: “why not you?” I was fortunate that other leaders put trust in me and believed in my abilities. I always knew I could count on them in case I needed them.


Corinne Ripoche

Global President of Pontoon Solutions, USA

Be yourself and clearly express your ambition and goals.”


As a leader, I place an emphasis on diversity and inclusion as well as development and mentorship. I myself dedicate time to mentor at least one to two women per year. After all, it is my responsibility to be a positive role model. My advice to future leaders would be this: believe in yourself; it begins with finding the self-confidence to drive yourself forward and succeed. Be yourself and clearly express your ambition and goals. Be bold, never compromise and understand that success come with diversity and inclusion.


David Herranz

President of Adecco Staffing, USA

“Push the boundaries!”


If I were to give any advice to future leaders, I would tell them not to create their own boundaries and don’t let the boundaries that have been built by others stand in your way.  Those boundaries only exist if you acknowledge them. So, don’t. Ignore them.


At the Adecco Group, we are proud to be a member of Paradigm for Parity. We are committed to eliminating the gender gap in the corporate leadership by 2030.

Let’s build a new norm in a corporate world in which men and women have equal opportunities.

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