Time’s 100 Influential People & Women’s Leadership Today

For over twenty years, we’ve trained women to recognize and share the unique gifts they bring to leadership. This year, forty of Time’s 100 most influential people are women. Here’s a look at the nine women honored in the category of “leaders,” one of which – Angela Merkcle, is also named Time’s Person of the Year 2015.  What do their stories reveal about women’s leadership today? What commonalities and diversity do you see?

 

1. Christine Lagarde: “Guardian of the global economy”

What she does: 

As Head of the IMF, Christine is responsible for lending to member governments to alleviate and prevent the spread of financial crises. She is largely responsible for stabilizing Greece’s economy and preventing a wider crisis in Europe.

How she does it:

Christine is adept at mitigating risk, as she leads towards a more positive future- with charisma to spare.

2. Angela Merkel: “A leader who acts”

Time’s Person of the Year 2015

What she does:

In response to the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, chancellor of a United Germany Angela Merkel said, “We can handle this, and we will handle this.”  By opening Germany’s borders to 1.1 million Syrian refugees seekers in 2015, she led what Time calls, “The most generous, openhearted gesture of recent history.”

How she does it:

Raised in East Germany, Angela Merkel has been described as having an abundance of patience and realism, as well as strong humanitarian conviction. She leads with decisiveness and clarity.

3. Nikki Haley: “She rises to the challenge” 

What she does:

Governor Nikki Haley has led South Carolina through a tumultuous year- from the hate-filled shootings of the Charleston Nine at Mother Emanuel AME Church, to the removal of the Confederate flag over statehouse grounds, to the police shooting of Walter Scott, to a 1,000 year flood.

How she does it: 

Nikki Haley is described as leading with grace and compassion, responding to crisis with kindness and understanding, and acting with decisiveness and courage, unafraid to shake up broken systems.

4. Tsai Ing-wen: “A new face of democracy”

What she does: 

As Taiwan’s new President, Tsai Ing-wen is working to ignite the economy under the smothering influence of China’s imposed global isolation. She is leading her small island against the opposition of the world’s largest economy.  Yet, unlike Chinese leadership, Ing-wen is a democratically elected leader with a public mandate.

How she does it:

Time profiler Jimmy Lai describes Tsai Ing-wen as possessing “calm that sheathes a core of inner steel.” She leads by connecting with rather than ruling over, highly attuned to what her people want. Tsai Ing-wen represents the ideals of democracy, and proves that democracy can thrive even under the toughest circumstances.

5. Jaha Dukureh: Voicing the unspeakable

What she does: 

Jaha Dukureh has turn victimhood into activism, speaking out against female genital mutilation. She founded Safe Hands for Girls to fight the practice both internationally and in the U.S.  She helped criminalize the transportation of American girls abroad for FGM.

How she does it:

She finds strength from her three children, “I don’t want them to have to face the challenges I did… I don’t want them to have to live in fear. I don’t want any girl to ever feel that way.” Dukureh exhibits great courage, transforming private trauma into public commitment to care for young women across the globe.

6. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: “A beacon of hope”

What she does: 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has fought to bring democracy to Burma. Put on house arrest for 15 years, she sustained herself on Buddhist teachings of love and compassion. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in 2015. Now leading Burma’s first civilian government in more than 50 years, she says, “Democracy still remains a beacon of hope for all of us.”

How she does it: 

President Obama describes Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as possessing “quite dignity,” “soft spoken, with fierce determination.” She represents the power of quiet leadership. With strong belief in her vision, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi leads in service of her people.

7. Hillary Clinton: “Democratic fighter”

What she does: 

Clinton served as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. She cofounded The Clinton Foundation, whose mission statement is “To improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.” Clinton is now the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

How she does it: 

Clinton is described by Time profiler Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar as, “a friend who takes the call… a public servant who listens and acts… a mom who makes sure it gets done right,” with “a spine of steel” and a “work ethic to match America’s.” Clinton’s leadership embodies true grit, a lifelong commitment to service.

8. Queen Máxima: “Envoy for opportunity”

What she does:

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands has taken on global economic empowerment. She works to grant people in developing nations access to financial services to lower their vulnerability and increase their opportunities. In her role as the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Advocate, she’s worked to influence key global decision makers and female rural village leaders alike.

How she does it:

Queen Máxima leads with technical know how, political savvy, and boundless energy. She acts with great empathy for the plight of the economically disempowered, as well as bringing encouragement and support for their futures.

9.  Lori Robinson: Pioneering warrior

What she does:

This year Air Force General Lori Robinson will become the head of the U.S. Northern Command, making her the first woman to serve as combatant commander.

How she does it:

A pioneer, Robinson stands for the strength of women’s leadership.

We love to hear from you. What diversity and commonalities of strengths do you see?  What do these leaders reveal about women’s leadership today? Leave a comment here.