Northwestern Mutual hosted Inspiring Leaders: The Power of You, a unique panel discussion showcasing inspirational women leaders sharing their experience and advice on their journey to leadership and success. It was held at the gorgeous Boca Raton Resort and Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. Following a great lunch and some time networking with other accomplished women in South Florida, the speakers were introduced.
The panel was moderated by Kimberley Goode, the Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Northwestern Mutual. The women on the panel were Beth Rodenhuis, the Senior Vice President of Field Strategy and Services at Northwestern Mutual, Moira Forbes, the Executive Vice President of Forbes Media and the Publisher of Forbes Woman, and Alexa Von Tobel, the Founder and CEO of LearnVest.
When it comes to defining success, the women all agreed that it is about having a passion and a purpose to make a change in your community. Rather than focusing on accomplishing another’s definition of success, shut out what the world wants and figure out what makes you happy and work towards that. Moira Forbes stressed that success doesn’t happen by accident, stop focusing on what everyone else is doing, and to constantly ask yourself, am I making a difference?
Of course, with all the talk of success there has to be some discussion about frustration and failure. Moira Forbes said that you always have to be aware of yourself and know what your strengths and weaknesses are. She then shared an example of how one of her weaknesses is that she is shy, but she was curious about other people and loved asking questions. She now interviews people as a part of her career, which made her shyness a strength. The discussion on failure ended by emphasizing that mistakes are the most powerful learning tools, and if you aren’t taking risks you aren’t even in the game.
The last question Kimberley Goode asked the members of the panel was: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Alexa said that most regrets are things that she didn’t do, and good or bad, things that happen in the past are a part of learning. She said that she wished she started LearnVest even sooner (she droppped out of Harvard at age 24 to start LearnVest, which raised over $72 million in financing before it was acquired by Northwestern Mutual this past May). Moira reminded us not to be so hard on ourselves when things don’t work out. Everything happens the way it’s supposed to no matter what! Beth said you can do anything, so just figure out what you want to do and how you can accomplish it.