In 2019, Lillian Barnard became the first female Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa since the company reinvested in the country in the 1990s.

Her Big Break: Lillian Barnard earned her first leadership role in 2003 at the age of 28.

This changed her career trajectory from sales to leadership. At the time of her promotion to the leadership role, she had about 6 years’ experience in various sales roles within the same company (IBM).

Today, she is a reputable leader in the IT sector, a corporate speaker, mother and the author of “I Hope You Feel Inspired”. Lillian Barnard is passionate about women empowerment, leadership, mentorship, technology and developing the next generation of female leaders. Here are some of her most inspirational quotes.

Lillian Barnard Quotes on Women, Career and Leadership

  • “The challenge for women is that men are seen as the default leaders. Men come in and take charge while women take care.”
  • “Often, no one helps women navigate their way through to the top of the organisation.”
  • “As women, our challenges are not unique. Our challenges are similar.”
  • “Women often lack confidence to ask for the things we want. We often lack the confidence to ask for leadership positions.”
  • “It’s important for women to stay motivated and focused on their career goals.”
  • “Don’t give up on your career ambitions.”
  • “There’s a place in the sun for all of us.”
  • “We should give women a secret script for success.”
  • “Companies have become gender balanced but they are not gender intelligent.”
  • “Being different does make you weak. It just means you bring different skills, strengths and abilities to the table.”
  • “A support structure tell you that it’s okay to be you. It tell you that it’s okay to be authentically female.”
  •  “Often, women do not have enough sponsorship to help them get in and get to the top.”

Lillian Barnard Quotes on Mentors

  • “A good mentor should have the experience and knowledge you need to help you make the necessary career progress.”
  • “They should be trustworthy and enable you to share some of your biggest fears with them without worry.”
  • “They should give you constant feedback and challenge you to go beyond your own boundaries of growth.”

Lillian Barnard Quotes on Mentees

  • “The mentee should drive the relationship. If someone is willing to mentor you, you need to follow-up with them, set up the meetings and schedule the time.”
  • “As a mentee, you need to show up prepared and be respectful of their mentor’s time.”
  • “It’s important to show that you’re willing to grow and learn.”
  • “You need to be ambitious, follow through on the actions and show results.”
  • “Every mentor wants to work with a mentee who shows results.”

More about Lillian Barnard

Between 2013 and 2016, Lillian worked at Vodacom as a chief sales officer and served on its board as a non-executive director. She has also served on the boards of Mango and the Dad-fund non-profit organisation.

In 2011, Lillian also tried her hand at entrepreneurship by starting her own company, LillianB Consulting Services, which she ran for about three years. Prior to that, she worked at IBM across different roles for about 15 years. During her time at IBM, Lillian Barnard and her son (Caleb) travelled extensively and lived in Paris and Switzerland for 7 years.

Lillian Barnard was born around 1975 and her education/ qualifications include a bachelor’s degree (business economics) and an honours degree (business/ managerial economics), both from the University of the Western Cape.

Lillian Barnard on Social Media

The above Lillian Barnard quotes were adapted from her interview with Vodacom. Image Credit: Microsoft