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Just Jump! Practice Taking Big Leaps

Inspiration from two women who’ve made it their business to help others reach their full potential

“YOU MIGHT FALL OFF THE CLIFF—but you won’t break,” says Reshma Saujani, best-selling author and founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, an organization that aims to close the tech gender gap. Through its programs, Girls Who Code has taught computing skills to nearly 200,000 girls across America, and counting. Saujani, who’s had her share of failures, says, “We have to get in the habit of taking risks and understand that nothing really bad is going to happen to us.” Close friend and fellow social entrepreneur Tiffany Dufu, author of Drop the Ball and founder of the women’s empowerment website The Cru, agrees: “The reason it’s so important for us to take big leaps is because the next generation is watching us.  If we expect our daughters to move forward and thrive, they’re going to have to see us take all kinds of risk.”

At Merrill’s third #WomenInvested event, held in Seattle in May 2019, Saujani (above center) and Dufu (above right) offered practical tips for finding the courage to fail and shared personal stories about the people who inspired them with moderator Jackie VanderBrug (above left), head of Sustainable and Impact Investment Strategy for Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank’s Chief Investment Office. Watching the videos below may give you the inspiration you need to take a risk, find a new path and follow your dreams. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make an impact,” says Saujani. See more videos from our #WomenInvested event series here.

Find Your Purpose

“Purpose is just a commitment inspired by experience,” says Tiffany Dufu, founder of the women’s empowerment website The Cru, whose own life’s work—empowering women and girls—was inspired by her mother.  Her tip:  Explore your own experiences to find where and how you want to make an impact.

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Don’t Let Fear of Failure Stop You

“Women feel they have to be perfect. We aren’t raising our hands for promotion until we’re absolutely ready. And, ladies, it isn’t working,” says Reshma Saujani, best-selling author, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “We’re still less than 20% of the leaders in every single industry. So we’ve got to do something different.”

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Create a Strong Support System

“I am the cumulative investment of a lot of people who’ve poured themselves into me,” says Tiffany Dufu, founder and CEO of the women’s empowerment website The Cru. “The idea that we’re all going to will ourselves into being brave is hogwash. We were never meant to lean in alone. Everybody needs scaffolding.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help, she says, and find ways to support the women you know.

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