We all crave words of wisdom from those who made it; those who climbed the top to become leaders in their industry. We want to know their secrets to success. How did they get to where they are? And do we have the potential to do the same?

Women have the most to gain from such advice. There’s no denying that a woman’s road to the C-suite is scattered with a few more hurdles than a man’s. Dilemmas, decisions, even discrimination make women’s advancement to upper management a challenge to say the least.

On March 19th at the Ad Club 2014 Women’s Leadership Forum, five women at the top of Boston’s advertising industry took the stage and shared their tips for success. This enlightening panel discussion was one of the most memorable moments of the half-day conference, not because it featured five of our city’s most powerful women, but because they spoke from the heart.

Their inspiring insights were less about marketing and more about their personal story balancing work and life. They emphasized that success and leadership is possible, but it means making choices. For these women, it’s all about “figuring it out,” being “true to yourself,” and “building a system,” whatever that might mean for you.

Here is a taste of the invaluable words of wisdom they offered:

“People matter. You matter and the people you surround yourself with matter.”– Cindy Stockwell,  EVP, Chief Media Officer, Hill Holliday

“Don’t be afraid to combine home and work. I think that there is some level of blur that happens when you’re really busy, when you have a job that you love, and when you have a family you love and want to spend time with.” – Barbara Goose, President, DigitasLBi

“Ask for what you need…You need to figure out what are the things you need to be your best self at work and be bullish and selfish about it.” – Kristen Cavallo, President, Mullen Boston.

“Trust your gut…one the most valuable tools that I have is my internal compass.” – Lisa Unsworth, CMO, Arnold Worldwide

“Ask. Ask questions, ask yourself, ask others. B. Be brave. Take chances, just do it. Collaborate…reach out…” – Lori Hiltz, CEO, Havas Media, NA.

Watch the video below to hear all of Hiltz’s ABC’s of success, learn how Unsworth invests in herself, and find out which woman is proud to say she has good brains and good boobs.

For a comprehensive recap of this empowering half-day conference, check out 13 Lessons in Leadership & Life from the Ad Club Women’s Leadership Forum.

“View from Up There: 5 Women, 5 Minutes, 5 Insights.”

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