Women Who Make Their Own Rules


Sept13OwnRules (1)

FountainBlue’s September 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Making Their Own Rules. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to be in the midst of brilliance – witnessing and absorbing the enriching, inspiring words of our incomparable panelists, and laughing, nodding and exclaiming as we strive to integrate their wisdom into our day-to-day activities.

Our panelists represented women of backgrounds from humble to privileged, from engineering to legal and marketing, yet they all had much in common:

  • They rose to a level of impact and prestige that directly and indirectly impacts the success of their organizations, their teams and their networks.
  • They started by first knowing themselves, and brought that self-awareness to bear in strategizing career and life decisions.
  • They proved themselves in ways large and small, quantatively and qualitatively, and influenced the success of all they touched in ways unimaginable, sometimes even by themselves.
  • They generously shared their strategies, wisdom, tools, and time with promising others.
  • They succeeded by building relationships and understanding the motivations of those they touch.
  • They constantly strive to improve themselves, leveraging the people and resources around them while also benefiting same.
  • They ARE that beam of light that makes you want to be a better you, and gives all a brighter hope for the future, seeing the best in ourselves, those around us, and the possibilities for all of us.

Below are their top ten kernels of wisdom shared by our panel about women who make their own rules.

Know Yourself

1. Know yourself, your values, and your needs. These are your non-negotiables, so make a stand behind them.
2. Everyone has their own story, their own challenges. Leverage yours to get to where you’d like to go.
3. Know why you’re making your own rule, as it would necessarily mean that you’re breaking an existing rule. Who is making the existing rule? How would your own rule better benefit all stakeholders? What’s the strategy to get the right people to buy into the new rule? How do you best execute, follow-through, correct, etc?

Prove Yourself

4. If you focus on yourself and your own needs first, you will then be in a better position to help others get there too. So, first prove yourself before you aspire to make your own rules. People won’t follow you and let you make your own rules unless they can believe in you, and in the way you would follow through and execute.
5. Mistakes happen – focusing on the learnings will help narrow in on what will work in the short term and the long term. Perseverance and grit and having a tough skin will help you rise above your mistakes and increase the likelihood that you will be able to forge change with your new rule, particularly lasting change. So follow through and make something happen, despite the challenges, the errors, and especially when it’s difficult to do so.
6. Communicate your best practices and your results so that others beyond you and those immediately around you can also benefit. Speak the language of the audience to which you’re communicating – ride that balance between appearing over-confident and arrogant and appearing

Stretch Yourself

7. Embrace the uncomfortable as the best learnings lie there. A good way to embrace the uncomfortable is to welcome and encourage others who-don’t-think-and-act-like-you-do to also make their own rules, provided that it’s also for the greater good.
8. When people see the promise in you, understand why they are giving you that next challenge, determine if it’s the right strategic next-step for you, and create your own rules to get from here to there, on your own terms, in your own way, especially if it makes you uncomfortable to even think about doing so!

Stand and Deliver

9. Humor is a brilliant way to share wisdom and learnings and create bonds between people.

Make It Bigger Than You Are

10. Think well beyond money, title, position, power, and more about making a difference, making your mark on the world on your terms. Doing things for the greater good and communicating why it benefits others and how they can participate will engage the right stakeholders to help change rules, for the betterment of all!

In the end, remember that it’s not a destination, it’s a journey, so strive to make it one full of happiness and learnings. Use our illustrious examples of how you too can share your successes and challenges and help you gain the strength, fortitude, resources and perspective to achieve results benefitting others.


FountainBlue’s September 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Making Their Own Rules. Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at Cadence.

Facilitator Natascha Thomson, MarketingXLerator, Co-Author of 42 Rules for B2B Social Media Marketing Book

Panelist Kamini Dandapani, Director, Software Development, eBay

Panelist Tina Jones, Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources, Cadence Design Systems

Panelist Duy-Loan Le, Senior Fellow, Texas Instruments

Panelist Mona Sabet, Founder, Viblio


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