The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Finding and Spreading Inspiration

By: Sarah Cottle

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright famously said, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women," and I think these words have stuck with me as I've made my journey to become a leader.

I've always held firm to my belief that women can achieve any goal they set. For sure, women face some unique challenges. As a minority, the journey can feel tiring and lonely for those who make it. That's why I've always looked to other women leaders during my career for inspiration and energy.

Seeing the traits they carried — determination, charisma, and that pioneering spirit — always reinforced my belief that I could succeed. Now, as a leader myself, I value authenticity and kindness, and I try to help others who aspire to build their own careers.

“I'm inspired by people who work hard and operate with integrity, whatever the role they play in an organization.”

It's easy to focus on inspiring through success, but failure plays a big part, too — especially how you handle and recover from failure. It's inevitable in the business world that you're going to fail at something. Building resilience early is critical, otherwise failure can shatter your confidence.

I look at people — entrepreneurs, especially — who have taken that risk and seen failure, and pull inspiration from that. I want to make sure the people I'm trying to help know that I’ve made mistakes too. That way they can see that the road to success isn't a straight one, but is bumpy and winding.

Something I've realized over time is that inspiration can come from so many different spots. I'm inspired by people who work hard and operate with integrity whatever the role they play in an organization. Keeping an open mind to new approaches and new styles allows you to absorb the best from a wide range of people with different skills.

My children in particular provide me with inspiration. As they learn something, I try to see it again through their eyes and understand their curiosity. They make me laugh and they make me proud, and I want them to feel proud of me — what more inspiration do I need?

Managing Director, APAC Head of Global Research & Design, S&P Dow Jones
Executive VP, Public Affairs, S&P Global
Executive Managing Director, Risk Services, S&P Global Market
MD and Head of Product Management, S&P Dow Jones