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Five universal factors (basic skills, international exposure, mentoring, role models, and starting early) make a real difference in whether young women in any field achieve success, according to an article by Lucy P. Marcus, chief executive officer, Non-Executive Board Director, professor at Insituto de Empresa Business School, Reuters columnist, and host of In the Board Room With Lucy Marcus. Characteristics such as motivation, natural curiosity, courage, self-management, the ability to rise to a challenge, personal will and fortitude, drive, and flexibility all are important to success.


Wherever a woman is working, basic skills are needed. Public speaking, writing, negotiation, and networking abilities are necessary to success. Started early, these skills are valuable and positively impact career advancement. Developing these basic skills midcareer can still help a woman achieve positions of leadership.


As our work becomes more globally interdependent, international experiences are becoming necessary for success. International experiences allow exposure to other cultures and different ways of thinking. These experiences challenge us and lead us to question our certainties. Successful women are able to think outside the box and look for solutions outside our personal comfort zones. International experiences provide a foundation for both of these characteristics.


Whether women are in their student years or have reached senior career positions, they benefit from having a professional mentor. Even when at the top of their careers, women can stretch to greater depths and interests with the aid of a mentor. Marcus notes that trusted peers can assist a woman in achieving her goals at any stage of her career.


Role models can help women identify and become who we want to be or aspire to roles that we have not thought about before. Seeing women succeeding in different roles broadens our expectations and possibilities. Women benefit from noting and highlighting what other women achieve worldwide.


As nurse educators, we need to start early in encouraging both young women and young men in our profession. Public policy is significant in encouraging careers and education. Never settling, always being driven, and seeking new experiences are the hallmarks of successful men and women all over the world. We need to help our students identify, understand, and develop traits that contribute to success.


Source: Marcus L. Developing women leaders: five essentials. January 1, 2013. Available at: Accessed January 2, 2013.


Submitted by: Robin E. Pattillo, PhD, RN, CNL, News Editor at