BY RAWAN ALBINA
EXECUTIVE AND LEADERSHIP COACH
The Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women in the world is out! Not too many surprises there except that I was expecting a few of the women to rank higher than they did. So I wondered what goes into the selection process and here is what I found as written by Caroline Howard, Forbes staff: “From a preliminary group of over 250 candidates from around the world, we select the 100 most influential women from eight categories or power bases: billionaires, business, celebrity, finance, media, philanthropy and NGOs, politics and technology. To determine the rank within each category, as well as overall rank on the list of 100, we apply four metrics: money, media presence, spheres of influence and impact.” Of course a lot of details go into this rank determination which I will not cover here. What I find interesting is the story behind these women; how did they get here? What did they do in their life that was so different and what does their personal brand say about them? Let’s take a closer look at a politician, a business woman and a celebrity. To keep the mix interesting I will choose women that everyone can identify with.
#6 HILLARY CLINTON
It seems that fifteen years ago, Hilary Clinton received advice to change her personal brand so she can appeal to a wider public. Over the years she had to adapt her brand many times from Mrs. Clinton, the first lady, in the 1996 Bill Clinton reelection campaign as the American President, whose image could increase her husband’s chances of being re-elected, to her high profile positions as New York state senator and Secretary of State under President Barack Obama during his first term (2009-2012). At the time being, her image is smoother and she is perceived by many as a loyal public servant to her country and to the world at large. Her brand has never been more valuable and this is helping her gain popularity leading up to the US presidency elections in 2016. Will she be the first female president in the USA?
#9 SHERYL SANDBERG
Is the COO of Facebook who took her high profile position and used it to influence women’s leadership around the world. In her book “Lean In”, she encourages women to lean into their power to make a difference. They should stop worrying about being popular, she says, and focus on what really matters: their impact and the profitability of their organizations. She is a very inspiring role model that has an impact not only on people at Facebook but on professionals around the world. She is looked up to and respected by both genders alike. “Sheryl has a unique style that reflects both her competency and her decency. She is neither dogmatic nor apologetic. She beams with confidence without overpowering anyone. Sheryl’s pragmatism is beautifully blended with idealism and that’s what makes her message so compelling”*. Her personal brand is one of an “iron leader with a soft heart.” Her opinions are so publicly accepted and heard that, although she’s not a politician, she actually has an impact on public policy. *As written by Beth Kuhel, founder and President of Get Hired, LLC
#14 OPRAH WINFREY
Is a media personality who rose from humble beginnings and an abusive childhoodto one of the most inspiringentrepreneurs and powerfulcelebrities of all time.Referred to as the Oprah phenomenon, her brand standsfor authenticity, trust, self-development,inspiration andgrowth. She had to make someshrewd financial decisionsalong the way which createdthe media empire she ownstoday. Her genuine approachmeant that everything she endorsed was selling like hot cakes. She helped launch the career of other celebrityhosts like Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz andRachel Rae to name a few.Her Angel Network made a
difference to thousands of girls around the world and her Oprah Magazine just offers a view of the world through her eyes. Any books introduced into her book club top the Amazon best sellers list within days. Over the years, the Oprah brand always remained relevant and at the heart of it was “total authenticity.” Oprah’s personal brand is associated with celebrity, charity, education and successful launches of products that she announced as her favorite things on her shows. People buy because they believe her and trust her choices. All those powerful women are where they are today because of the personal brand they created and nurtured over the years. They have used it to tilt perception into more endorsement, impact and power. Their position on the Forbes list means that they have the ability to shape the future and they are role models we can learn from and teach our daughters about. They are a source of admiration and inspiration.
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