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Being a woman in the world takes courage — being an innovative leader takes dedication, passion and an unwavering confidence.

Being a woman in the world takes courage — being an innovative leader takes dedication, passion and an unwavering confidence.

That’s exactly what Mercedes-Benz wanted to highlight with their “Emerging Leaders” winners this past autumn. Interestingly, Mercedes has a deep-rooted history with female empowerment — in fact, it’s in the brand’s DNA.

When founder Karl Benz lost motivation when his invention kept failing, his wife, Bertha Benz, took it upon herself to solve the technical issues and take the first Mercedes-Benz on the road.

It comes as no surprise, then that Mercedes wants to continue to honor female leaders today. The winners of their “Emerging Leaders” span across many fields — from doctors serving underprivileged communities and public interest designers to founders and CEOs. These women, aged between 30 and 40 are changing the world — and inspiring others to do the same.

When asked what advice these innovative leaders would give their former selves, here’s what they had to say:

You know who you are. Seek wisdom from others but trust yourself. You got this.

Emily Mills, Founder, How She Hustles

Slow down and enjoy the present moment.

— Karina Kesserwan, Founder & Partner, Kesserwan Arteau Inc.

Believe in yourself, you are stronger than you think.

— Kim Hallwood, Head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC Bank

Trust your instincts, know your self-worth, and take more risks big and small. As a great mentor once told me, “don’t overthink it, just go for it!”

— Genevieve Pinto, Partner, Renewal Funds

Be proud of your ambitions.

— Julie Quenneville, President, McGill University Health Centre Foundation

These women show us that owning your authority in your industry and being proud of your drive will get you far in life, yes, but it will also carve the way for others, create a ripple effect and truly change the world. It really can start with you.