Our Superhero Mariela Dabbah - English


They manage, orchestrate, parent, lead and make vital decisions:
Find out what power means to these influential women. It may not be what you expected.
This blog will be about:
Mariela Dabbah
Founder & CEO, The Red Shoe Movement

Mariela is the CEO and founder of the amazing The Red Shoe Movement. 
Red Shoe Movement is leadership development company focused on female talent,
powered by a global community of women and men who support each other for career success.
Their mission is to accelerate female representation at the highest levels of decision-making.
On the one hand they achieve an internal impact in an organization
with their leadership development programs for female talent.
On the other they contribute to an external impact with weekly cultural awareness campaigns such as #RedShoe Tuesday
—The day when they encourage all females to wear red shoes to show their support for womens career advancement.
It’s a fun way to keep up the conversation about gender equality year-round.
For Red Shoe Movement and Mariela, the red shoe means “power with femininity".
We invite every woman to find her own inner red shoe.


How on earth did you manage to get to where you are today?
Where in your life did you find that power?
I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in a pretty macho country,
with a dad who made most of the financial decisions and a mom who took care of every one of our needs (I have two siblings).
But even though at that time women were expected to get married and have children,
my parents allowed me to explore all my interest and supported me in all my undertakings.
From the beginning my dad has been a strong financial supporter of the Red Shoe Movement.
He’s always been an adventurer and risk taker (although he's not an entrepreneur but a surgeon)
and I believe I take after him in that sense.
 But moving to the U.S. as a newly wed, as soon as I graduated from college was a bold move.
I knew very few people and didn’t have a strong network as I would’ve had, had I stayed in Argentina.
So it took a lot of determination, building strong, strategic networks and a dose of good luck.
It also takes being atuned to your dreams as they change through your lifetime.
 How do you manage to stay strong? What's the trick?
As many women, I do struggle with the urge to be liked by everyone.
But as you grow and mature you realize that there are times when you have to make decisions
or go in certain directions that will not be the most popular.
Perhaps you see something others don’t, perhaps it’s what you or your company need at the moment
and it doesn’t perfectly align with what others need.
 Either way, you have to believe in your wisdom and have a couple of great advisors you trust,
so you can consult with them and make sure you see all angles of the situation.
But once you’ve consulted and you gave your decision or idea enough thought, you have the final word.
And you have to know that you maybe wrong and if so, you have to be ready to face the consequences.
Making mistakes is part of the growing process.
For women it’s important to become comfortable with making mistakes and moving on.
What was your childhood dream?
I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote since I was 9 years old. And I was able to find a way to make it a reality.
Even though my first steps in the publishing world have been in the non-fiction genre (and I’m a fiction writer at heart),
as I became better known, I was able to publish my fiction too.
It’s a question of finding the way and taking detours when needed.
If you really want to do it, you’ll do it sooner or later.
Whats the worst decision you've EVER made?
Hahaha… One time I had an opportunity to be on a very famous series that was running on a well-known US cable.
It was about people telling their stories. A friend of mine was one of the producers and he invited me to audition.
I asked him how I should prepare and he said, “just be natural and tell your story how it happened. It’s a powerful one.”
My mistake was to go against my intuition which was to practice how to tell the story,
rehearse it with some colleagues and be able to tell it concisely,
reaching the most critical point quickly as the audition was very short.
I didn’t made it into the series and I was very disappointed.
The lesson I learn was: Always prepare even when you think you know exactly what you’re doing.
Even when others tell you that you don’t need to prepare. Preparation is always the key ingredient of success.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The biggest challenge for women remains attaining equality at all levels and to make progress stick.
We’ve seen advances that quickly become erased.
So it is imperative that this generation and those that follow don’t give up raising awareness
and pushing for much needed changes.
That’s one of the reasons we have created #RedShoeTuesday six years ago.
What woman inspires you and why?
I’m truly inspired by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the President & CEO of Celebrity Cruises.
She’s the only female CEO of a cruise line listed in the New York Stock exchange.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet her and have been working with her and her team for the last couple of years.
She’s a transformational leader who really puts her money where her mouth is.
She’s hired the first North American female Captain of a mega cruise, Kate McCue, for example.
When you see her in action, you realize she stands behind her values.
She’s constantly opening doors for other women and people with diverse backgrounds making everyone feel included.


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