Business Leaders’ Breakthrough Moments

Stephanie Cohen

Chief strategy officer, Goldman Sachs

If your goal is to innovate, then you have to be comfortable with failure. As a manager, that means setting the direction but allowing your people to explore, to try new things, to be creative and ask tough questions. Maybe things get done a bit differently than if you’d been making every single decision, but that’s part of the job description — teach people to think like entrepreneurs, and to own the results. It’s a more engaging way for people to work, it’s inspiring, and I think, ultimately, it leads to better outcomes.

Thasunda Duckett

Chief executive of consumer banking,
JPMorgan Chase

Be your unapologetic, authentic self. Build a brand that makes others want to trust you, partner with you and advocate on your behalf. Make meaningful connections with those around you. That doesn’t just mean looking up the hierarchy. Look to your left and right at your peers and to those who are up-and-coming.

Joelle Emerson

Founder and chief executive, Paradigm

My biggest piece of advice would be, do it! Companies have a significant impact on our world and play a powerful role in shaping our future. They influence what happens in our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities. They affect legal and policy outcomes. And they inform access to opportunity. Now more than ever before, companies have incredible potential to drive positive social change. But it matters who is at the table. When companies are more diverse and inclusive internally, they will drive more positive social change externally. By building more equitable companies, we can create a more equitable world.

Audrey Gelman

Co-founder and chief executive, the Wing

Remember, ‘no’ is a complete sentence. I have found that this is especially challenging for women who are starting their own businesses, given the structural and systemic barriers that we face in our journeys toward success. But saying no is often an act of self-care, and setting limits and boundaries is crucial. If you can’t say no, as a leader, your yes has very little meaning.

Brad Katsuyama

Co-founder and chief executive, IEX

My best advice to “groundbreakers” would be to experience firsthand the problems that they are trying to solve. That experience becomes critical whenever things get more difficult, or you are faced with a very tough decision, or doubt starts to creep in. Having conviction that your company is needed and can solve a problem, big or small, is necessary to succeed and to convince others to join your mission.

Steph Korey

Co-founder and chief executive, Away

If you’re looking to start a business, know that you don’t know everything, and be comfortable with taking calculated risks and embracing mistakes you’ll make along the way. Don’t be afraid of setbacks, because if you’re not failing, you’re probably not meaningfully winning either. You’ll make mistakes, sure, but you should view them as your competitive advantage — these moments will be the biggest opportunities for you and your team to iterate and improve and, ultimately, succeed.

Tom Patterson

Founder and chief executive, Tommy John

The best advice I can give fellow entrepreneurs trying to build a business is to always listen to your gut, the data will only take you so far. As entrepreneurs, we’re confronted with countless decisions every single day that have the power to redefine the business. If you let it, your gut will become your most valuable asset.

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