Leadership is the capacity to transform a vision into a reality that inspires others and makes a significant change in the world. Throughout my career, I have met extraordinary leaders from different fields. What I have learned is that none of those outstanding persons followed the same path; their leadership styles are very different. However, they do share certain traits that make them inspiring.
Leadership style is determined by our own values, beliefs and personality. It’s a potential that everyone can develop and an ongoing process of learning. I believe it is a myth to think that people are born with leadership skills, as we are the result of the challenges we face which strengthen our character and resilience. Even our failures contribute to the development of our own leadership abilities.
Leadership is also an enormous responsibility which we can decide to take on or not. Although there are different styles, there are some attributes that inspiring and empowering leaders share
Integrity and strong ethics. The leader’s values match their words and actions. This inspires trust, creating a safe and motivating environment. Leaders who hold high ethical standards show a commitment to fairness, inclusion, and meritocracy. As a result, their teams feel inspired to work under the same standards.
Dedication and Resilience. A leader gives the very best even in demanding situations. They are committed to the vision. Good leadership is about showing the way, not with words, but through example.
Justice and appreciation. Good leadership involves the ability to recognize the achievements of others and nurture their professional and personal development. Leaders make sure their team feels safe during their learning curve. Along with appreciation for good performance, a leader holds individuals accountable for their mistakes within a supportive and reflective environment that allows for learning and progress.
Openness to new ideas and creativity. Collective intelligence and diversity will always outperform individual minds. Promoting innovation and setting an environment where different approaches are heard opens the door to new possibilities where others only see obstacles.
Humbleness. Being a leader is a big responsibility. Your team will respect you because you are just, inspiring, and a good mentor, not because you are arrogant or consider yourself better than others.
Leadership is not a rare gift a few people have, it is a talent that lives within all of us. As such, it is an ability that can be developed.
I would like to arrive at the end of my life knowing that I have planted a seed and have contributed towards building a fairer and more equitable world where women have the same opportunities as men.
Ask yourself what your values and life mission are, and be ready to transmit that vision with commitment and passion. The final trial a leader faces is the legacy they leave, their capacity to motivate others and the will power they inspire in others to continue moving forward.
What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest
Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.
Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.
Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.
Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.
Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.