Career journey

Women CEOs Speak found that few women set out to be CEO. More than half of our survey respondents gave no thought to being CEO until someone explicitly told them they had it in them.


Despite women CEOs sharing common traits and drivers, the study found there is no one way to reach the C-suite. These women were challenge seekers and motivated by purpose, but often took different paths to become CEO.


Take a look at our key findings and the career journeys of these leaders.


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"I've got this drive, this competitive drive--but it has nothing to do with being in the spotlight or making a lot of money. It's an inner thing that's saying, 'Can I do it? Can I do it?'."

Foundation and Drive

The right stuff. That's what female CEOs exhibited in their assessment scores, starting with their traits. These traits, along with values and motivators, guided their career decisions.

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Turning Point

The majority of women we interviewed had never thought about becoming CEO. It took someone telling them they had the talent before they
considered the position.

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Experiences and Routes to the Corner Office

There is no one formula that helps women ascend to CEO. Varying experiences and zigzagging career paths can lead there.

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How can can companies foster further success? Take a look at initial recommendations for organizations, allies, and women.

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