Each year, Fortune asks the executives on our Most Powerful Women in Business ranking a series of follow-up questions. Among this year’s queries: “What is the best advice you’ve ever received?”
When recounting these words of wisdom, women usually credit mentors, family members, or colleagues.
“Eric Schmidt once told me not to be so defensive when receiving feedback,” Wojcicki tells Fortune. “I took that to heart and realized how important it is to listen and be receptive to feedback.”
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IBM CEO Ginni Rometty also credits a well-known corporate chief for her most treasured tip: American Express CEO Ken Chenault. She credits Chenault for telling her, “The role of a leader is to paint reality and give hope”—a paraphrase of one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most famous quotes.
But it’s not just Fortune 500 CEOs that give great advice. NBCUniversal chairman Bonnie Hammer credits her favorite advice to her father: “My dad told me, ‘There’s no such word as can’t. If you think you can’t do something, you’re just not trying hard enough.'”
GM CEO Mary Barra, too, says her parents’ wisdom resonated most. “The best advice I ever received came from my parents, who encouraged me to work hard and pursue my early love of math.” It’s a good thing they did; Barra is now the No. 1 Most Powerful Woman in business, running the eighth-largest company in the U.S.