5 Contemporary Female Leaders You Need to Know About

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In a world full of changes and leaders, how are women reshaping the world of leadership? Women leaders are catalysts for change, embodying resilience, empathy, and inclusivity. Despite facing barriers, they excel, showcasing the transformative impact of their leadership. 

Don’t believe us? Here are some examples to change your mind!

1. Hayat Saeed Al Sindi: A Visionary Pioneer

In the heart of Saudi Arabia, amidst a landscape of tradition and change, emerged a beacon of inspiration, Hayat Saeed Al Sindi.

Her story, intricately woven with courage, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to progress, mirrors the ethos of leadership and empowerment that AIESEC stands for.

Her vision extended beyond borders, transcending cultural divides and uniting communities for a shared purpose. Our global network of passionate youth leaders finds resonance in Hayat’s quest for collaboration and understanding on an international scale.

Unlike her peers, Sindi was fortunate to have a family that supported her curiosity for knowledge.
She studied at various prestigious universities in England and the US, earning her doctorate from Cambridge University. And with this, she became the first female to receive one from the Persian Gulf. 

She co-founded a non-profit called “Diagnostics for All,” which helps to diagnose diseases in developing countries, ultimately saving lives.

In 2012, Sindi was selected as one of the Goodwill Ambassadors to encourage education, especially among girls and women. However, her efforts also revolved around inspiring youth to find innovative ideas for the pressing problems around us. Something that continues to be part of her purpose even today. 

2. Mary Barra: Revolutionizing the Automotive Industry

Mary Barra stands out as a beacon of innovation and leadership in the male-dominated automotive manufacturing world.

She shattered the glass ceiling, becoming the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Her journey to the top is a testament to her resilience, determination, and vision for the future.

We believe that Mary Barra is a visionary leader who embodies the values of courage, determination, and innovation. Her story inspires young leaders worldwide to pursue their dreams and break down barriers that stand in their way.

Through her leadership, Mary Barra has transformed General Motors and paved the way for future generations of female leaders in the automotive industry and beyond.

3. Ana Saldarriaga: Developing Young Leaders

In AIESEC, we also have some inspiring women. Take, for example, Ana Saldarriaga.
Saldarriaga was the first Latin American woman to become president of AIESEC International.

In her 7 years in AIESEC, Saldarriaga inspired and impacted well over 50k young people to become the leaders needed in the world.

She was a visionary leader and initiated the cooperation between AIESEC and the United Nations to create more awareness of the current issues in the world.

Post AIESEC, Saldarriaga continued to be a role model in leadership. She joined the World Economic Forum and is now Chief Operating Officer at We Are All Human Foundation, a foundation devoted to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion.

If you want to listen to Saldarriaga, she was even a speaker at TEDx!

4. Gwynne Shotwell: Engineering the Future of Space

In the vast expanse of space exploration, Gwynne Shotwell has emerged as a pioneering force, reshaping our understanding of what is possible in aerospace engineering.

Gwynne’s journey to the forefront of the aerospace industry is a testament to her tenacity, innovation, and leadership. Her vision for the future of space travel has propelled SpaceX to new heights, with groundbreaking achievements such as the first privately funded spacecraft to reach the International Space Station.

Explore, innovate, and collaborate—these characteristics that AIESEC honors in Gwynne Shotwell, a visionary leader. Her tale is an example to young leaders worldwide, urging them to follow their goals and push the boundaries of what is possible.

5. Ana Leonor Fernandes: Raising the Young Leaders of Today

Last but not least, we have Ana Leonor Fernandes, the current president of AIESEC International!

Fernandes served as AIESEC Portugal’s president in 2021-2022, being responsible for developing the youth of Portugal into leaders.

Later, she advanced to become the Network strategist at AIESEC International, overlooking the overall performances in all the regions where AIESEC activates.

We can be sure Fernandes has proven strong leadership qualities since she is now active as AIESEC International’s president. Here, she leads a network of over 10k+ members, responsible for the life-changing experiences you can have if you volunteer, teach, or intern with AIESEC.

Bottom line

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Leaders can be just anyone—even women, despite all the hardships and roadblocks they must overcome. Making them maybe…even stronger leaders.

If you firmly believe that women belong in high leadership positions, you can join us in the Youth Speak Forum, where you can discuss with like-minded people how to accelerate women’s place in the leadership bodies of the world.

We believe so, and the 5 examples above are just a fraction of the long list of women who led and are leading the youth toward greatness.


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