The IE Women’s Week was led with a number of events ranging from informative to interactive sessions. The week started with its fourth annual Women in Leadership Conference, with this year’s theme Leading Forward. The half-day conference brought together an unprecedented number of students, alumni, faculty, and professionals from across the globe to discuss some of the most important issues affecting women in the workplace and in their personal lives.
The theme of this year’s Women in Business conference was “Leading Forward”. It was therefore no surprise that they would invite someone who personifies this motto with forward-thinking innovation and inspiring leadership as their keynote speaker: the CEO of Twitter Spain, Nathalie Picquot. The talk was moderated by IE’s Exponential Learning Executive President, Teresa Martín-Retortillo.
Nathalie has been working in technological companies for over 20 years, for tech giants such as Google and YouTube before taking over Twitter. Her successful career only makes one want to understand, how someone so seemingly humble and relatable has become a powerhouse in the tech world. Her advice? Pursue the three C’s: follow your heart (Corazón), remain Curious, stay Creative.
In order to follow your heart, she states that you have to “base your answers on advice, common sense, but also your gut feeling”. She urged listeners to never shush what you feel in your gut and you know is right. She followed this by saying that you have to use your heart when working in a team. “Treat them how I want to be treated” is her motto for being a leader of a team. Indeed, empathy is something that seems to be lacking in a lot of leaders, yet Nathalie is innovating how this is a strength rather than a weakness.
In order to remain curious, she had a seemingly simple answer: “do one thing every day that scares you”. Easier said than done, but she urged that it is necessary to live with risk and to recognize your weaknesses and tackle them. She stated that it is normal to have weaknesses, as long as you ensure to find out where you can attain knowledge to make it a strength. Whether that is with ongoing education, or hiring people smarter than you, or as she often does, both.
In order to stay creative, she believes that it is imperative to “have a positive attitude and an open mind”. A part of fulfilling these words is believing that you can adapt to different situations. This includes having confidence when you recognize you do not know something. But it also means to consistently plan for ways to continue evolving and growing.
Teresa and Nathalie gave us a beautiful metaphor to conclude: Remember that your life and your career is like surfing on waves. Sometimes you take a risk and fall in the ocean. But the good thing about the ocean is that you can get back up on your board and try again. You can jump from wave to wave trying out new opportunities. And when you find that wave that works, you can ride it until the end – and then try again.