One of the great advantages of living in this era is having a wealth of female role models: famous women who have worked hard to overcome obstacles and stereotypes, who can offer valuable advice. For this we are fortunate, as guidance from women to other women is often the most meaningful, in terms of career, family, and life in general.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a luncheon sponsored by Crains New York, honoring the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York City. The program included a round table discussion with five of the honorees, moderated by Mary Ann Tighe, Chief Executive of New York Tri-State Region CB Richard Ellis Inc. The hour-long discussion between Mary Ann, Pamela Brier (President and Chief Executive, Maimonideas Medical Center), Diane von Furstenberg (Chairman and Founder, Diane von Furstenberg Studio), Emily Rafferty (President, The Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Jennifer Raab (President, Hunter College), was fascinating, inspiring, and uplifting. Here are five pieces of advice from the conversation. Consider how this insight might help you achieve your career and life goals.


“When things go wrong, it’s important to remember that the moment is a blip. Life goes on for decades. Look to the longer range.”
Pamela Brier

“The worst advice I ever received was to leave The Met. Follow your gut.”
Emily Rafferty

“Follow your instincts. Sometimes let things go. Don’t think small things are more than what they are.”
Jennifer Raab

“My mother taught me that fear is not an option.”
Diane von Furstenberg

“Being powerful means I can can do something so meaningful to someone, that is so small to me. Like sending someone an email about a job. I can do something that changes someone’s life. That’s the best part about success.”
Diane von Furstenberg

For more advice from a woman with experience, read: An Interview with Dr. Debra Wattenberg