Independence. Choice.  Financial Freedom.  Power.  Opportunity. These are just a few of the reasons why I care deeply about the issue of women and leadership. To me it means having a seat at the table, in your own life and in your career. It is about choosing to HAVE a career that you invest hard work, focus and dedication into.

But it is so much more than that. Creating women leaders means we have to look at what happens at the beginning and teach young girls that they can and should have a strong career in a field they like. It is about undoing the princess mentality and the lure of waiting on Prince Charming to make all her lifestyle and financial dreams come true. It is about teaching responsibility, independence and autonomy.

Leadership in women’s lives doesn’t just start in the workplace. It begins with high school and college and the decisions we make and the path we forge. It is when we decide to take a chance, stick our neck out and go for a promotion that we don’t feel fully prepared for. It is when we ask the difficult questions in our relationships, challenging others to bring their best into our lives and for them to become their best in theirs. Leadership is when we find our voice and speak up and advocate for ourselves and for others.

I have had the pleasure of being inspired and in awe of some pretty phenomenal “never take no for an answer” women who were born leaders in their lives. And I have seen women that have been knocked down in life and somehow figured out a way to rise from the ashes of what burned around them. I have seen them overcome the lowest level of self-esteem, poverty and powerlessness by taking one step at a time forward, moving toward opportunity and chance for themselves and for their children.

Women becoming leaders in their lives and in their career can often mean moving out of a victim mentality and situation and into an empowered life. Not only does it mean opportunity for them but for their children. Teaching women to be leaders in their lives has the power to literally change future generations. This is why I invest my time and energy into developing and supporting women leaders – it is work that is transformative.

There is so much more I can say about this issue but instead, I invite you to continue the conversation at the Achieving Extraordinary: Women’s Leadership Conference on November 7th 2014 at the Crest Hollow Country Club, Westbury, NY. Listen to a phenomenal key note speaker and attend dynamic workshops that will inspire and reenergize you. Wrap the day with a networking cocktail party where you can put your full leadership into gear and share your unique wisdom, talents and experience with others. To learn more about the conference, click here now.

I hope to see you there!

Aoifa O’Donnell

Chief Executive Officer