Behind every woman is a great...woman. Here's mine.

1. Margaret Thatcher – Britain's first female prime minister made her first bid for public office only two years after graduating college. Seemingly disenchanted on the future of women in politics, Thatcher once said, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime,” during a 1973 television appearance. The “Iron Lady” proved herself wrong a year later by becoming a dominant force in her political party using courage, insight and the power of persuasion. Her campaign readiness quote, “I have a woman’s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves,” led to historical success. The woman inspired me to march out of step. If Margaret Thatcher could claim her place in the world, than so would I. Jacqueline Kennedy  daughter, wife, mother, first lady, career woman, icon, a woman of intrigue and glamour. Dubbed “The Kennedy Blessing,” we were blessed in a way never before her tenure as First lady. Jackie captured our imagination with her love and protection of all things beautiful. A most horrible tragedy—witnessing the death of her husband—was handled with a majesty that we will never forget. Being widowed a second time, Jackie emerged as American’s most famous working woman. Her enduring legacy lies in the choices she made during her life, handling happiness and heartache, incredible celebrity and wealth, and public demands with a remarkable discipline derived from an over-flowing well of self-knowledge and acceptance. She never apologized, looked back or second guessed. I saw confidence and no fear - whether it was real or not. Survival even if it meant being misunderstood.

3. Karen Horney  influential psychoanalyst was the first critic of Freud’s ideas about women’s neurosis. She was, writes biographer, Susan Quinn, “simply incapable of accepting someone else’s version (Freud) of her own experience, what she once called, ‘the delicate vibrations of my soul.’” After having to justify her actions for going to medical school to family, Dr. Horney went on to pioneer a feminine psychology that provided a new way of thinking about women. Horney proved that culture encouraged women to be dependent on men for love, prestige, wealth, care, and protection. She compared the husband-wife relationship to a parent-child relationship, stressing that self-awareness is a part of becoming a better, stronger, richer human being. As a psychologist, I, too, disagree with Freud’s theories. I never let a man tell me what I am feeling or experiencing.

4. The Virgin Mary – in her role of teacher and leader, the Mother of Jesus continues to inspire architects, poets, and painters as a vision for unconditional love. As a child, I grew up in a Catholic home where the stories about Jesus gave my young life a sense of calm. Always encouraged to “seek,” has led me to the divine feminine that exists in all women. Gradually I came to discover my value and purpose in life—true religion—by working with other women. The Virgin Mary had a pivotal role in Jesus’ life as a woman of great understanding, faith and strength. As a mother, I am motivated everyday to show forgiveness, generosity and compassion to my daughters and to bring these teaching to a community of women worldwide.

5. Lucille Ball – the queen of comedy, was an actress, model, showgirl, radio, screen and television star who was also a sharp business woman. Her production company, Desilu, (co-owned with Desi Arnaz), bought RKO studios in 1958—the very lot where they once worked together on the “I Love Lucy” series. Her wild attraction was not only living and succeeding in a man’s world, but making people laugh. She was the first woman inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. After a career spanning 50 years, she did at 77 years young. A sign next to CBS Studios at Television City in California read: "They needed a laugh in Heaven. Goodbye Lucy". I discovered the secret to influencing people – make them laugh and feel good about themselves.

6. Maria Montessori – founder of the renowned educational Montessori Method, graduated from the medical school of the University of Rome in 1896, and was the first woman to practice medicine in Italy. She became a staunch advocate of child development after discovering its role in the formation of Man. At thirteen she attended an all-boy technical school; as an adult she devoted her life to educating children with special needs. Her first notable success was to have several of her 8 year old students apply to take the State examinations for reading and writing. The "defective" children not only passed, but had above-average scores, an achievement described as "the first Montessori miracle." Dr. Montessori’s life encouraged me to persevere and refuse to take no for an answer.

7. Condoleezza Rice – The first African-American women to hold the office of U.S. Secretary of State, Stanford lecturer (political science), and an accomplished pianist, Rice began playing the piano at age three. She has performed at diplomatic events at embassies, (i.e. for Queen Elizabeth II) and has shared the public stage with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. (Her favorite band is Led Zeppelin.) She followed in her father’s footsteps when she changed her political affiliation from Democrat to Republican, saying, "My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.” Rice taught me that influence is not loud and boastful.

8. Coco Channel – It’s difficult to overstate how much Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel revolutionized the fashion world in her extraordinary lifetime. Her influential designs freed women from corsets and long skirts; her style defined the essence of the modern, liberated woman. Catherine Leterrier, the costume designer on the recent movie “Coco before Chanel” has this to say about the icon: “What is very modern about Chanel is that she worked on herself. In her days, the famous couturiers were not good-looking. She was a star that everybody wanted to copy and look like. She was her own muse. She had the genius of that.” That self-inspiration—and the little black dress—will live on forever for me.

9. Wilma Flintstone – a strong-willed, level-headed person in her marriage, Wilma, like Alice Kramden in the 1950s television series The Honeymooners (on whom her character was based), would also often be the one to bail out her husband when one of his schemes landed him in trouble. Wilma worked as a cigarette girl/waitress at a resort, became a homemaker, volunteered for women's organizations in Bedrock, gave birth, met celebrities, and (when Pebbles was a teenager), gained employment as a newspaper reporter. With an empty nest, Wilma started a successful catering business before becoming a grandmother. Wilma showed me that life is simply a gentle progression from one experience to the next.

10. Dorothy Pribula – the most central figure in my life was also my best friend, mentor, teacher and the wisest, kindest, most loving woman I knew. She grew up on a farm in northern North Dakota with 6 brothers and sisters – and parents who worked and played hard. She loved telling the stories about the ride to school in a sleigh – hovering under the old quilts to keep warm. My mother taught me the wisest thing I could do for me – and MY children - was practice self-permission. I started early giving myself permission to take risks, share feelings and stand up for what was right. Everything valued and dear to me I learned from her. Thanks, Mom!

Which 10 women influenced your life? Comment below and let me know.


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From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina