Whether you’re just getting started in your career or you’re striving to be a great leader, who better to learn from than the most powerful women in the world. From dealing with change and setbacks to having compassion and balance, these strong women have mastered it all! So here are 35 inspirational career quotes and lessons from the world’s most powerful women that will change your career and life for the better! 

1. Angela Merkel quote on never underestimating yourself 

“You could certainly say that I’ve never underestimated myself, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious.” – Angela Merkel

2. Christine Lagarde quote on keeping things in perspective 

You know, when I sit in meetings and things are very tense and people take things extremely seriously and they invest a lot of their ego, I sometimes think to myself, ‘Come on, you know, there’s life and there’s death and there is love.’ And all of that ego business is nonsense compared to that. – Christine Lagarde

3. Kamala Harris On dreaming big 

“To the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way,”

4. Kamala Harris quote on defying expectations 

“There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,'” Harris said during the 2020 Black Girls Lead conference. “They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t you let that burden you.” – Oprah Mag

5. Kamala Harris quote on being the only one in the room

“What I want young women and girls to know is: You are powerful and your voice matters,” Harris told Marie Claire. “You’re going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you’ve had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone. We are all in that room with you applauding you on. Cheering your voice. And just so proud of you. So you use that voice and be strong.”

6. Ursula Von Der Leyen quote on gender equality 

“To me, equality is achieved when men are no longer insulted as wimps if they take care of their baby or their infirm father.” – Politico. EU

7. Melinda Gates on being committed 

I’m wholehearted about whatever I do.  – From  Brainy Quote

 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World's Most Powerful Women - Melinda Gates

8. Melinda Gates quotes on setting your own agenda

“If you don’t set your own agenda, somebody else will.” If I didn’t fill my schedule with things I felt were important, other people would fill my schedule with things they felt were important.” 

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World's Most Powerful Women

9. Melinda Gates on Power

“Being yourself sounds like a saccharine prescription for how to make it in an aggressive culture. But it’s not as sweet as it sounds. It means not acting in a way that’s false just to fit in. It’s expressing your talents, values, and opinions in your style, defending your rights, and never sacrificing your self-respect. That is power.” 

Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

10. Mary Barra on work-life balance 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I actually feel like I come to work stronger when I’ve had a little time on the weekend to step away from it and enjoy my family and other things. I come back energized. If people think they’re going to work 24/7, week in and week out, they’re not bringing their full strength to the table. Mary Barra

11. Mary Barra quote on showing commitment 

If you do every job like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, that’s when you get noticed. Mary Barra

– from Brainy Quote 

 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World's Most Powerful Women

12. Nancy Pelosi quote on opportunities

“There’s plenty of opportunity for everyone, so there’s no reason to worry about somebody else’s success, either saying you couldn’t do this so she’s better than you, or she’s doing it so you can’t. No, she’s doing it so you can.”
Nancy Pelosi

13. Nancy Pelosi quote On confidence 

“If women have confidence in themselves, they will have confidence in other women.”
Nancy Pelosi

14. Abigail Johnson quote on taking advice from others 

Lots of people will give you advice… and depending upon how well they know you, the advice might be valid or not so valid. Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson Quote

15. Abigail Johnson quotes on thinking outside the box and innovation

Don’t assume that the answers are out there in the form of somebody else already doing something. Sometimes they are. But you have to think beyond that.

-Brainy quotes

16. Gail Bourdeaux on leadership and making an impact 

CEOs are often very well paid, but making an impact is worth more than money. In any leadership opportunity, the real focus should be on how you can make a real difference — for your employees, your community, and the world.

 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World's Most Powerful Women - Susan Wojcicki

17. Susan Wojcicki On spotting opportunities 

“Opportunities – the good ones – are messy, confusing, and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.” -from myfrugalbusiness

35 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World’s Most Powerful Women

18. Susan Wojcicki On success 

“Work smart. Get things done. No nonsense. Move fast.”

19. Julie Sweet on taking chances  

Have the confidence to focus on uncharted territory. Take chances. 

20. Ruth Port on being open to changing direction

“My whole life has been about embracing new opportunities that help me.  You should always love what you’re doing, but if you change or your work-life changes, don’t be rigid.  Never think that you are doing everything that you’ll ever be able to do.”

21. Ruth Port on letting go

“If you continue to plow ahead in something that is okay, you will miss the opportunity to do something great.”

 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World's Most Powerful Women

22. Judith McKenna on taking action 

You will get cynicism, and the only way to break through is to keep showing people and take action.

 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World's Most Powerful Women

23. Oprah quote on valuing what you do

When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are. 


24. Oprah on using your talents 

Know what strikes the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world -oprah.com

25. Sheryl Sandberg on taking the initiative

“Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.” – inc.com

26. Sheryl Sandberg quote on stepping up

“Women need to shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that- and I’ll learn by doing it.”

27. Sheryl Sandberg quote on motivation

“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.”

 Inspirational Career Quotes From The World's Most Powerful Women

28. Sheryl Sandberg quote on taking the leap and change

“Let me fall if I must fall. The one I become will catch me.”


29. Stacey Cunningham on success

It’s not about climbing a ladder, it’s about what skills you have. -fortune.com

30. Jacinda Ardern quote on Leadership 

“To me, leadership is not about necessarily being the loudest in the room, but instead being the bridge or the thing that is missing in the discussion and trying to build a consensus from there.”

31. Jacinda Ardern quote on compassion 

“It takes courage and strength to be empathetic, and I’m very proudly an empathetic and compassionate leader. I am trying to chart a different path, and that will attract criticism but I can only be true to myself and the form of leadership I believe in.”

32. Adena Friedman on learning and growth

Always be listening and learning. Adena Friedman – brainy quote

Adena Friedman Quote

33. Adena Friedman on  learning from every opportunity 

Even the mundane task may have something to teach you – especially if it’s a task you haven’t performed before. Adena Friedman


34. Nancy Pelosi on owning your power 

“Be yourself, know your power, have confidence in what you have to contribute.”
Nancy Pelosi

35. Stacey Abrams on dealing with setbacks 

Do not allow setbacks to set you back.