I spent the last year meeting with a diverse array of global women for my 2020 white paper on top tips for business success. I’ll release the full report on March 8th, International Women’s Day. One of the things that struck me the most was how many of the 50 women I interviewed mentioned using their intuition to help them get ahead in business.

There are many definitions and interpretations of the word intuition, but my favorite is the one that Jason Voss uses in his brilliant book, The Intuitive Investor: Intuition is “tuning into the cosmic radio station.”

Voss explains that intuition is not the same as what many people would describe as ‘gut feel’, rather it is “a flash of insight and brilliance brought on by a conscious act of contemplation or inspection.” He goes on to clarify that if one is truly tuning in… “one is applying both process and deliberation, despite the ultimate eureka moment.”

To illustrate how today’s businesswomen are tuning in to their intuition, I’ll share three sneak preview quotes from my forthcoming report.


Christine Bjerke, architect, based in Copenhagen, Denmark
“In my work as an architect I am trained to use my intuition as one of my main tools. Not just when designing a project but also when understanding the brief for the project. There are certain parameters which are often pre-set. In the case of architecture, it can be the necessary dimensions for doors, windows, ceiling heights, etc. But…how is the atmosphere?

To me intuition is one of the essential components for success. Every day we surround ourselves with a reality that is heavily valued from conscious reasoning and what is ‘the right thing to do’. There are certain expectations and ideas of how to reach success depending on who and where we are. But first of all, what is success if we get lost on the way? If we don’t allow for our own personal and more organic intuition to guide us – we might be basing our success on what others think and external reasoning, rather than our own personal investment in what we are working on.”


Paula Glick, Co-Founder of Honeytree Investment Management, Toronto, Canada
“I think about how I make decisions and I have grown increasingly to trust myself. I’ve realized the value of listening to my own voice and taking more of a leadership role. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up. When things feel right, act on it – in business and in life. When I met my husband, I knew on the most substantive level that he was ‘it’. I knew we would be able to grow together in substantial ways throughout our lives. I was so right, and I feel very appreciative of what I have. I trusted myself and it paid off.”


Susana Velez, Founder of Fluffy Stitches, Bangkok, Thailand
“I grew up in Portugal, and even when I was very young there was a certain expectation that I would eventually become a doctor or a lawyer, but I never felt that either of these professions would be my vocation. So, because I really didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, I decided to study something practical: I just wanted to be able to find a job at the end of my degree. This plan has worked well and in my eight years of work since graduating with my MSc in Enterprise Information Systems I’ve had three different jobs that allowed me to travel and live in three different continents.


At some of my jobs I was working on auto pilot. Those were definitely my worst phases. You are just not there. It is so important to be there and mindful of what you are doing. You don’t have to know whether or not it will work out…just be present. Things will just happen. The more I practice this, the better my life gets. See how you feel in the moment, follow your intuition, and try to go in the direction that makes you happy. Being mindful has helped me to understand that my next step will be to set up my own small business.”

How will you tune in to your intuition in 2020? Make it a cosmic year!

Barbara Stewart, CFA is one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance, focusing on real life financial behaviours and providing global insights into how smart women think and communicate. Barbara is an advocate for women, for diversity, and for financial education. In addition to her Rich Thinking® research, Barbara uses her proprietary research skills to work as an Executive Interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their key stakeholders, both women and men. Barbara is a frequent interview guest on TV, radio and print, both financial and general interest. She is a contributor to the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor website. For more information about Barbara’s research, please see www.barbarastewart.ca.