How would you define “most powerful women”? Is there a secret ingredient to their success?
Questions like these were top of mind at the recent Fortune Most Powerful Women (MPW) International Summit in London, where I was fortunate to be among several women leaders representing Johnson & Johnson.
Attendees were a veritable who’s who of successful leaders from around the world in business, government, media, philanthropy and the arts—and what I learned from them is that there is no one definition or secret ingredient.
Rather, it’s up to every woman to carve out her own place in the world and find a path or focus area that works best for her.
Two Women Driven to Find Value in Purpose
I didn’t have to look far to find two different examples of this in action.
As a speaker in a session titled “Finding Value in Purpose,” I was joined by two very inspirational businesswomen who have gone about their journeys in diverse ways.
Efrat Peled is chairman and CEO of Arison Investments, which creates business investments that combine financial results with sustainable moral responsibility. Her impressive list of accomplishments includes serving as an advisory committee member to the Israeli government’s National Economic Council, and as a director of the Weizmann Institute, a research organization with a mission of advancing science for the benefit of humanity.
And Hanzade Doğan Boyner, founder and CEO of Hepsiburada.com, heads Turkey’s largest online retailer. She established and leads the award-winning “Dad Send Me To School” campaign, which aims to remove economic and cultural barriers to education for young women in her country.
What was common for both was their commitment to social responsibility—also a key premise of our own Johnson & Johnson Credo.
Defining My Own Purpose-Filled Journey
As for me, well, I don’t regard myself as a “powerful woman”!
I recognize that I have been successful though, and the contributing ingredients are no secret.
For starters, my family is my anchor. I have stood by my mother’s advice not to compromise on my life, which for me meant having the confidence to pursue both my family and work ambitions.
In the process, I have raised two wonderful children, while enjoying a successful career doing a job that I love. This has been made possible by a supportive husband, and a workplace and colleagues who’ve helped me be the best that I can be.
I am also fortunate to have had a few inspirational mentors over the course of my career. Some of the roles I have taken initially took me out of my comfort zone, but I grasped them as opportunities that ultimately enriched my knowledge, experience and network.
So, in my view, the definition of a “powerful woman” isn’t clearly evident in her job title, her work responsibilities or the number of people she manages.
What makes a powerful woman is a combination of personal drive and ambition, and all the additional opportunities and support she is willing to grab and cherish—all while making an impact on the world.
Jane Griffiths is a Company Group Chairman for Janssen, the pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson. She is responsible for this business across the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa region.