Perspectives from women of impact

Redefining legacy

Women of great wealth are growing in number and influence. In partnership with IMD, we have interviewed 40 women from across the globe.

We found that these women are challenging traditional ideas of wealth and legacy. They believe that wealth brings with it a responsibility to create immediate change; not just to pass money on to future generations.

We profiled 7 influential women who shared their differing approaches to how they enact change. These women are altering society's views on responsible leadership and shaping the future.

Jacqueline Novogratz, USA
Founder and CEO of Acumen

Redefining legacy

The language in the interviews reveals a broad, refreshing view of legacy. They were less concerned with recognition for their achievements, and instead talked of the importance of "just doing the right thing," "leaving the world a little better than when I came," and "leading by example."

Jacqueline is reluctant to talk about the concept of legacy, because it fails to describe motivations or ambitions: "I am uncomfortable with the word legacy. It is individualistic, transactional and too often confuses ends with means. Real legacy is built on the lives you touch, the ideas you nurture, the causes for which you stand. Those are the things that endure.”

She sees women as playing a pivotal role in bringing out the angels: “Women see things more holistically, the bigger picture with its implications. Given today’s complexity and need to see our shared humanity, this is the century for women’s leadership.”

Looking ahead

As we look to the future, these women are a force for change as they redefine the nature of legacy. The impact will be felt across the board: Families will feel an increasing need to ground the next generation in values and integrity; businesses will shift from short-term performance organizations to long-term learning organizations; humble determination will displace assertive dominance as a praised leadership quality; communities will move from a transactional towards a more empathetic mode.