january 23, 2015

This week, public + private sector leaders from around the world are gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Each January since its founding in 1971, the non-profit forum has played host for an international conference that sets the agenda on high-stakes fiscal + social issues shaping today's global economy.

In recent years, women have been a big topic of conversation in Davos. Why not tap the talents of the entire population to solve the world's problems?

Yet, very few women weigh in on these conversations. They represented only 15% of all WEF attendees in 2014. This year's numbers aren't much better.

The government and business leaders we're featuring this week are among the vocal minority. They are women who gained international influence by having their say. And, who keep inspiring more female voices to join in the conversation.


"Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come—get up and make them!"

Madam CJ Walker
the pioneering "beauty culturist"


{unforgettable | She invents}

Madam CJ Walker built a world-famous cosmetics brand from $1.50 in startup capital and door-to-door sales of her own hair-care formulas. So, it's safe to say her advice to the 15th Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League wasn't just talk.

Notably, the enterprising inventor was not on the speakers list for the 13th Annual Convention of the economic forum. But that didn't keep her quietly in her seat.

After repeated snubs from conference chair Booker T. Washington, she decided stealing the stage from him was the best way to make her voice heard. The widowed entrepreneur's bold story ~ of "promoting herself" from dollar-a-day washwoman to owner of a thriving manufacturing company ~ was met was wholehearted applause. It also got her invited back for repeat performances where she encouraged other women to follow her lead.

By the end of her career, Madam CJ had become America's first female self-made millionaire. And, empowered countless other women to gain their freedom through financial independence.

"The answer cannot and
will not be zero growth.
Rather, the answer is
greater innovation."

Angela Merkel
the {first female} Federal Chancellor of Germany

angela merkel_newsletter.jpg

{remarkable | She leads}

She doesn't "do" dinner parties. And, she's not known for her charisma. But one glance at Angela Merkel's achievements makes it easy to see why she's deemed the world's most powerful woman...

A former Eastern Bloc research scientist who quickly rose up the ranks of German politics after the Berlin Wall fell. Head of state since 2005 for the nation that boasts Europe's largest economy. Past EU Council President. The G8 Chair who took a lead on the international response to the Financial Crisis.

The supremely qualified Angela is also a World Economic Forum regular. The girl who grew up under Soviet occupation is now a leading advocate for individual freedoms + free markets. Her many special addresses at Davos call for international cooperation. To positively shape globalization, create fair regulatory frameworks + build green economies.

Under Angela's leadership, Germany has invested heavily in green technologies, becoming a model for how good environmental policy can go hand-in-hand with economic growth and job creation. In fact, Germany has more industry-leading sustainable companies than the US, UK and Japan combined.

After a historic re-election to a third term in 2013, Angela's on track to overtake Margaret Thatcher as Europe's longest-serving female leader. Today, German children can grow up wondering if it's possible for men to be chancellors!

"If you're offered a seat
on a rocket ship,
don't ask what seat."

Sheryl Sandberg
the top tech exec

Sheryl Sandberg-newsletter.jpg

{notable | She leads}

Sheryl Sandberg was already a VP at Google when bumping elbows with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the 2008 WEF helped her land a new high-profile gig. In 2012, the Chief Operating Officer of the social media giant was the only woman selected as one of the World Economic Forum's 6 co-chairs.

Today, the high-flying exec uses her influence to make sure others don't miss their rocket ship. Her tips? Lean in. Negotiate. Embrace the ambition to lead.

Sheryl is also doing her part to guarantee she won't be the only woman in the boardroom for long. The founder of LeanIn.org has partnered with millennial mentoring organizations like Levo League and IGNITE ...movements that prove we can build better businesses and a truly equal world at the same time.

Sheryl's work is changing the demographics at the top. And, our ideas about what it means to be there. It's always good to be reminded ~ "Leadership is not bullying and leadership is not aggression. Leadership is the expectation that you use your voice for good. That you can make the world a better place."

Fixing the
quote supply problem.
theme: business and economics


We're looking for {sourced} quotes by women & girls that speak to business and economics. We're hoping to surface fresh thinking on innovation, education + entrepreneurship in our modern world. We want to share ideas that represent the female perspective but engage everyone...

Will you help uncover all the smart, funny, thought-provoking things she has said on the subject? And, fix the quote supply problem?

It's easy to pitch in. Simply ~

  • Register as a Quotabelle member.

  • Submit a sourced quote by a female that relates to the theme.

  • If your quote is picked for the collection, you'll be entered to win a Quotabelle gift

  • Within a week: we'll add a selection of the pithiest things she's said on the subject to the site. And, mail the gift.

We recently asked for quotes about dreams. Among our favorites:




Sharing quotes is a great way to inspire your team or community ~ browse by dreams...

What's she saying now?

"The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality—they get a smaller share of the economic pie and, because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around."

~ Winnie Byanyima, co-chair of this year's World Economic Forum and the executive director of Oxfam International, the anti-poverty charity that just released a study that found the richest 1% will own over half the world's wealth {that is, more than the rest of us combined} by 2016

Equal Cites

The world's population is nearly 50-50 in terms of men and women. But, the voices we hear and see ~ in print, onscreen or over the airwaves ~ are still mostly male.

We help bring balance to public conversations by making women's ideas more visible + shareable. To hear more about the thinking and research behind Quotabelle, visit our beliefs page!

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Beautifully said.

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