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The face of female leadership throughout time – 75 women leaders

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Business, Education, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Technology
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March is Women’s History Month, the theme is empowerment through education. As I started to consider what I knew about the role of women leaders throughout history, I decided to come up with a list of 75 inspirational female leaders through time, some of these are for fun others are truly admirable women …. Some I knew of, others I got to know while researching this list – ALL are fascinating and brave who have contributed to our history.

Please share this list with your friends, sisters and daughters – and come up with one of your own, the more we know about women, the more we are empowered with “her-story”.

  1. The women in my family who emigrated from Cuba with nothing, and managed our family in exile :)
  2. Asmaa Mahfouz (1987 – ) Egyptian activist, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement
  3. Sheryl Sandberg (1971 – )
  4. Arianna Huffington (1950 – )
  5. Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, Supreme Court (1954 – )
  6. Zaha Hadid, First Woman to Win a Pritzker Prize (1950 – )
  7. Michelle Bachelet (1951 – ) Ms. Michelle Bachelet Under-Secretary-General Executive Director of UN Women, former President of Chile  
  1. Angela Merkel (1954 – ) Chancellor of Germany
  2. Kazuyo Sejima (1956 – ) SANAA Japanese architect 
  3. Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011) Founder of Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace prize
  4. Hillary Clinton (1947 – ) US Secretary of State, former First Lady
  5. Madeleine Albright (1937 – ) Former US Secretary of State, first woman.
  6. Isabel Ayende (1942 – )
  7. Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007)
  8. Mother Theresa (1910 – 1997)
  9. Margarret Thatcher (1925 – )
  10. Gloria Steinem (1934 – )
  11. Sirivamo Bandaranaike (1916-2000) Sri-Lanka, First elected woman prime minister
  12. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers (U.F.W.) (1930
  13. Antonia Coello Novello first Latina Surgeon General of the United States.
  14. Julia Child (1912 – 2004)
  15. Princess Diana (1960 – 1997)
  16. Margaret Mead (1901 – 1979)
  17. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)
  18. Indira Gandhi Prime Minister of India (1917 – 1984)
  19. Golda Meir (1898 -1978)
  20. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, USNR  (1906 – 1992) Computer pioneer
  21. Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)
  22. Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946)  
  23. Valentina Tereshkova (1937 – ) Cosmonaut, first woman in space
  24. Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937?) 
  25. Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) 
  26. Juliette Gordon Low (1860 – 19270 Founder of the Girl Scouts 
  27. Marie LaVeau (1801 – 1881) Voodoo Queen of New Orleans and famous herbalist.
  28. Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
  29. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 – 1896) 
  30. Pocahontas (1594 0 1615) 
  31. Joan of Arc  (1412 – 1431)
  32. Madame Curie (1867 – 1934) The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903
  33. Wilma Mankiller  (1945 – ) First woman to lead the Cherokee Nation
  34. Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906)
  35. Clara Barton (1821-1912) Founder of the Red Cross
  36. Frances Perkins (1882-1965) First woman member of the presidential Cabinet 
  37. Mary Lyon (1797-1849) Founder of Mt. Holyoke College, first college for women in the US
  38. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651 – 1695) Mexican poet, writer
  39. Anne Bonny (1698-1782) Female pirate 
  40. Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793)
  41. Isabella I of Castile Queen of Spain (1451 – 1504)
  42. Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901)
  43. Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 – 1204)
  44. Elizabeth I Queen of England (1533 – 1603)
  45. Queen Sukda of Mandara (Cameroon) (Around 1500)
  46. Regent Dowager Empress Eleni of Ethiopia (1507-1516)
  47. Governor Sayyida al-Hurra of Tetouán (Morocco) (1510-1552 )
  48. Maria Theresa of Hapsburg (1717-1780) Empress of Austria
  49. Queen Regnant Anacaona of the Maguana (early 1500) Taino Tribe Hispanola
  50. Catherine the Great Empress of Russia (1729 – 1796)
  51. Verónica I of Matamba ruler of Ndongoand Matamba (1681-1721)
  52. Lady Isabel Xipaguazin Moctezuma of Tacuba (1525-1550) Mexico
  53. Regent Dowager Duchess Chiara Giorgio of Athenai (1451- 1454) Greece
  54. Female King Atotoztli of Tenochtitlán (1466-1472) Mexico
  55. Princess Regnant Bigum Hatun of Qara Quyünlü (1435-67) Iran/Iraq 
  56. Governor Lucrezia Borgia of Spoleto and Foligno (1480 – 1519) Italy
  57. Queen Regnant Paccha of Quito (Cara) (1487-1488)  (Ecuador)
  58. Empress Theodora  (500 – 548)
  59. Wu Zetian (690 – 705)
  60. Cleopatra (69 – 30 BC)
  61. Makeda, Queen of Sheba (10th century B.C.)
  62. Chieftainess Sharifa Fatima of the Zaydi (Yemen) (1450-1500)
  63. Taoist Priest Empress Zhang in China (1493 – )
  64. Empress Liu (Wu) (318–349)
  65. Kubaba (only queen on the Sumerian King List) (2500-2330 BC)
  66. Sapho (580 – 570)
  67. Esther from the bible
  68. Deborah was one of the Judges of Israel

Do you know another woman leader that I didn’t mention? please let me know in the comment section.


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Some of the Best LISTS of 2011

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Blogs, Business, Design, Education, Events, Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Women in Technology
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In that weird time between Christmas and the start of the next year, I love reviewing the year. My 2011 has been quite remarkable, I accomplished many goals and ticked off a few things on my bucket list, including graduating from Thunderbird in Europe, attending Sundance, visiting India and Germany – and overall, just had a wonderful time of travel, friends, and family throughout. 

Now it’s time to read the Top and Best of lists for the year, and as 2011 winds to an end, and we start to get a peek at 2012, it’s time to review what 2011 brought us…. and some of the lists it has spawned.

Here is a list of some of the Best Of lists of 2011 that I have found… I would LOVE to hear some of yours!

  1. 50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe
  2. 19 Biggest Social Media Moments of 2011
  3. 2011 Top Ten Global Topics
  4. Top Selling DVD’s
  5. 2011 Best Companies to work for
  6. The Best Movies of 2011
  7. The Best Artists of 2011
  8. Top 10 Songs of 2011
  9. The Best Games Of 2011- Awards
  10. The Best of Ted Digital
  11. The Best Cocktails of 2011 and where to drink them
  12. Top Cars of 2011
  13. The Top 10 Marketing Infographics
  14. Best Photos Of The Year 2011
  15. The Best of 2011 by Discovery
  16. 10 Best Commercials of 2011
  17. 2011 Year in Review: Best in art
  18. 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011
  19. 2011 Top Ten TV Shows
  20. The 50 Best Websites of 2011
  21. Best Books Of 2011
  22. 2011 Best Dressed Celebrity Women
  23. Forbes Most Powerful People
  24. Best Of 2011 Pop Culture’s Tastiest bits
  25. Best of 2011 – The Superficial
  26. Forbes Most Powerful Women
  27. The World’s Best Hotels 2011
  28. Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs
  29. The Best Mixtapes of 2011
  30. The Best of 2011: Job Search and Recruiting
  31. The Best of 2011 – AOL
  32. Best of 2011 Brands and Films
  33. Most Admired list of 2011
  34. Top 10 Wines of 2011
  35. 2011 Best Places to live
  36. The Most Viral Fortune 500 Brands

So the Myan calendar ends in 2012. So what? My calendar ends in December. I just buy a new one. ~ Mr. Youngblood Geography teacher

And in 2012, pending that the world won’t end, here are some interesting lists of things to look forward to.

  1. Color of the year 2012 – Tangerine Tango
  2. The Top 10 Franchises for 2012
  3. Where to Invest 2012
  4. 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End?
  5. The List: 2012

Now as I am thinking ahead to 2012, making my resolutions, planning, strategizing and imagining what the year ahead may bring… I wish you all an amazing 2012.

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Can’t we ALL just get along??? The rise of incivility

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Business, Career, Education, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Technology
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Civility in America should be an inalienable right. Americans have a right to defend their names and explain their actions and opinions, but the increasing unruliness in the public square is worrisome and demands attention and new solutions.
~ Jack Leslie, Chairman of Weber Shandwick

This time of year tends to bring out the best and worst in all of us, we are constantly reminded to do good throughout the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving and ending somewhere around New Year’s Day. These holidays remind us that we are ALL humans, sharing this little planet we call earth.  

However, lately I have noted a disturbing trend of incivility, at the workplace and everywhere. Sometimes, the consequences of these acts culminates in injury and the loss of life, as we have witnessed during Black Friday’s most popularized incidents of pepper-spray and blood in the shopping aisles. These type of incidents where not isolated, and in fact there are reports of this happening from coast to coast, one of the worst was in a mall parking lot near Atlanta, GA where two men got into a parking spot altercation and one shot the other dead. 

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Watching this video makes me think of how sharks react during a feeding frenzy.

In fact, according to the study “Civility in America 2011″ conducted by KRC Research, most Americans report they have been victims of incivility (86%). Their most common encounters with rude or disrespectful behavior come while driving (72%) or shopping (65%).

The study also reveals that Americans admit to perpetrating incivility — approximately six in 10 (59%) Americans acknowledge that they themselves have been uncivil.

It’s not only in the shopping mall, but also in professional exchanges that I have noticed ruder language and uncivil behaviors, on occasion leading to violence. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines incivility as “seemingly inconsequential inconsiderate words and deeds that violate conventional workplace conduct.” The study found that 86% of Americans report they have been victims of incivility. The same survey also found that over a third of the respondents believe incivility in the workplace is on the rise.

I have also heard from jobseekers who are experiencing a tremendous amount of incivility from recruiters and employers alike – and it’s not just the unanswered phone calls and questions, it’s just plain rude responses, with a total lack of compassion. Often times people mask their rude behavior by saying something like “it’s my honest opinion” “I’m going to give it to you straight” etc.

Incivility can come from co-workers or the public sector, in the 2009 Institute of Education Science (IES) School Principal Survey on Crime and Safety, approximately 11% of school principals reported that students were verbally abusive to their middle and high school teachers.

The cost of rudeness and incivility

In the 2009 book The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What To Do About It, my former Thunderbird Professor Christine Pearson and Christine Porath say that the problem of incivility in the workplace has been compounded by our increasing tolerance of nasty behavior as a culture.

Surveys by researchers Porath and Erez, indicate that in the workforce, after experiencing rudeness most people lose time and focus, work less and slack off more, and think more about leaving the organization. In addition, 94% of people get even with the rude person or with their organization (88%). 

Does this have a deeper meaning?

The latest scientific research backs up with detailed molecular and cellular mechanisms what June Cleaver (and we) always knew intuitively, that through adolescence, the human brain is molded by the social environment in which a child is reared. A disrespectful, stressful social environment is a neurotoxin for the brain and psyche, and the scars are permanent.
~  Neurobiologist; Author, The Other Brain


  1. Are common courtesy civility, manners, and politeness a thing of the past?
  2. Are Americans becoming ruder as the economy is spiraling downward?
  3. What happened to our society?

According to Neurologist Dr. Douglas Fields – people (and animals) living together in large numbers must develop strict formalized behaviors governing interactions between all individuals in the group, or there will be strife and chaos. …. “The formal “Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am,” is not a showy embellishment in the military; strict respect and formal polite discourse are the hub of the wheel in any effective and cohesive social structure. Stress is a neurotoxin, especially during development of a child’s brain.

During the last 2 years I have traveled extensively, and I am always “shocked” when I encounter a polite culture – it would seem that even the French are far more civil and polite than we are. But it wasn’t always like this, when I was in school we where taught manners and etiquette at a young age, and respect for adults – this is unheard of today – so I hold little hope for the pendulum to swing back any time soon.

So what’s the answer?

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. ~ Mark Twain

Even though our “society” is becoming ruder, I am trying to stay on track leading with kindness, consideration and respect in business – OK, I don’t always succeed. Not only does this feel right to me, and is in line with my core values, but I believe that people who demonstrate decency and kindness have better relationships. In the end, the kind person wins over the people who have a continual “attitude”. 

When people are consistently rude, it’s important to call them out on it. If it entails common courtesy, it’s usually best to deal with it one on one, but if it involves actions potentially perceived as bullying or harassment, it’s a good idea to get human resources, involved.

Take a moment, smile and be kind – it NEVER hurts. 


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Drive more traffic, increase content consumption, and encourage user participation with Gamification

written by Nelly Yusupova
Nelly Yusupova
Topics: Business, Education, Events, Marketing, Technology
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Drive more traffic, increase content consumption, and encourage user participation…Gamification has become a most exciting mainstream technique that marketers rely on.

Gamification is the process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems.

Game dynamics are now entering every aspect of daily life. Good games take players (aka customers) on a journey. Early Gamification techniques only involved adding simple game mechanics like points, badges and leader boards to websites and apps. But, what I discovered at the Gamification Summit in NYC, an incredible 2 day event, is that it is not enough. The gamification journey should give the user something to learn and master, encourages people to stay engaged with your brand and have FUN in the process.

Gamification: Balancing Skill and Challenge

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivations: (what motivates people)

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What I learned (and didn’t) about leading as a woman in Business School

written by Maria Botta
Maria Botta
Topics: Business, Career, Education, Leadership, Mentors & Motivators, Technology
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“We’re looking at a different paradigm of leadership, and it plays naturally to the strengths of women…… The tide has turned. The leadership skills that come naturally to women are now absolutely necessary for companies to continue to thrive.” Regina Sacha, Vice President of Human Resources for FedEx Custom Critical.

What I have learned (and haven’t) about female leadership

As a recent MBA graduate, I can confirm that today – leadership is still taught (almost) exclusively from a male perspective, and most case studies presented in Business schools, are based on male leadership styles.

During our Leadership Development course at Thunderbird, our Professor, Christine Pearson, Ph.D.(a brilliant woman and renown authority), presented the following:

  • Sun Tzu “The Art of War”
  • Niccolò Machiavelli “The Prince” and
  • Jack Welch.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the insights and knowledge from each, and have a better understanding of male leadership from studying them. We were supposed to be reflecting upon leadership and what makes one a great leader, but to my surprise NOT ONE WOMAN was presented! I know the value of understanding male leadership BUT I aspire to be the BEST FEMALE leader possible. I don’t pee standing up and I don’t have testosterone coursing through my veins – I have breasts and I like to wear a skirt, so I don’t want to lead like a man, thank you very much!

When I questioned Professor Pearson, she challenged me to compile my own list of women leaders. I accepted and put together a list of exemplary women leaders who led like WOMEN, below are a few…. and there are many more. But, why don’t we study their leadership? Why should we study Sun Tzu over the leadership of Eleanor of Aquitaine?

Continue Reading “What I learned (and didn’t) about leading as a woman in Business School”

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