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This week, to celebrate World Book Day and International Women’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to speak to some of the women in the READ TO LEAD community. We asked five of our wonderful female authors to share their wisdom, views on inclusivity and, of course, their favourite book as a child that inspired them the most.

Here is what they had to say:


Rachael O’Meara

Rachael O’Meara is the author of “Pause,” which inspires us with the power of taking a pause and highlights the importance of mindfulness and stress management in modern life. Her book empowers us to recognise the signs of burnout and stress, guiding us through the process of taking meaningful breaks to rediscover our motivations and return with a clearer head and renewed purpose.

The childhood book that inspired her:
“There are so many, but it has to be CS Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles (all of them).”
On creating a more inclusive world for women:
” Keep speaking up and taking a stand for what feels aligned with you. If it doesn’t feel aligned, pause and intentionally shift your behaviour. Everyone else supports women to ensure they are heard and seen.”
Her advice for aspiring young female leaders:
“Keep going! The world needs you, and the feminine power is swinging back into equilibrium, it will take all of us.”

Michelle Tillis Lederman

Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of “The 11 Laws of Likability,” is known for her work on connectivity and communication. As a thought leader in creating effective workplace relationships, Michelle teaches us the importance of relationships and generosity, exploring how likability can influence success and fulfilment in both personal and professional arenas.

The childhood book that inspired her:
“The Giving Tree was my favourite book and still is in many ways. I think it exemplifies the mindsets of relationships first and a generous spirit, which is pretty much what I teach and live by. I believe if we give because we want to, without expectation of anything in return, we add value to others and to the world. It also enables us to ask more easily for what we want.”
On creating a more inclusive world for women:
“I think we all need to be intentional about what is important to us. Think about where and how you, as a woman, want to be included or represented. Then set out to enable that outcome. I believe in the mindset of abundance; the belief that things can be exponentially better than they are and that there is enough to go around. Constant comparisons don’t serve this mental framework.”
Her advice for aspiring young female leaders:
“Keep connecting. Whatever it is you are working on or working toward, you will get there faster, easier and often with a better result because of your relationships. Don’t network for need or for now. Build the relationships you want to, the ones you enjoy. Those will be the ones to support, sustain and elevate you when you need them.”

Erin Lebacqz

Erin Lebacqz specialises in enhancing communication with her book “High-Value Writing: Real Strategies for Real-World Writing.” She teaches the power of writing with intention, demonstrating how well-chosen words can bridge gaps, foster understanding, and connect people more deeply.

Childhood Book Inspiration:
“The poems of Shel Silverstein taught me to be creative and even silly—even when discussing important topics. His poetry does an amazing job with perspective, sharing about people’s inner struggles—and all with a good deal of humour. This made me see that writing can also be used to teach, and to pursue social goals of empathy and understanding as well. We all have shared experiences and can connect on these with humour, grace, and story-telling.”
On creating a more inclusive world for women:
“We are creating a more inclusive world for women by shedding some of yesterday’s myths about gender. Women scientists, business leaders, athletes, activists, and theorists are showing what a new world can look like—one more informed by women’s perspectives and insights. But I also go back to some OG feminism on this one. I don’t think we can have a fully inclusive professional and social world without having more equality in the home. So, I really appreciate programs that help leaders question the status quo and really analyse where our norms and expectations came from. To fully include women, we need to separate from some of the myths still holding our society back.”
Her advice for aspiring young female leaders:
“I read that many girls are raised with a feeling that they need to be “perfect.” How can we take risks if we’re focused on completing a checklist? Risk-taking and saying “Well, I’m just going to go ahead and try it,” has gotten me to where I am today. Women also get held back by conditioned feelings of guilt and social pressure. I got to a point in my past where I’d say to myself, “Would I feel guilty doing this if I were male?” Usually, the answer.”



Amy Morin

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” Amy teaches us how to form healthy habits that set us up for happiness and success. Her work is all about embracing change, facing fears head-on, and training our brains to find joy and achieve our goals.

Childhood Book Inspiration:
“Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.”
On creating a more inclusive world for women:
“I include plenty of female role models in my books, and I pay close attention to the male/female ratio of guests we have on the Mentally Stronger podcast, even though the majority of the pitches we receive are for male guests.”
Her advice for aspiring young female leaders:
“Accept compliments with a “thank you” and don’t be afraid to break a few rules.”

Mandy Hickson

Mandy Hickson is a former RAF Fast-Jet Pilot, keynote speaker and author of ‘An Officer, not a Gentleman’, detailing her groundbreaking journey as a pioneering female fighter pilot. In her book, Mandy teaches us that gender should never define our capabilities or limit our dreams. Every ambition and every passion is achievable with self-belief.

Childhood Book Inspiration:
“First book was Judy Bloom, Tiger Eyes. The reason it inspired me was because it was the first book that I had read that I hadn’t been told I had to read. It made me realise that reading for pleasure was absolutely fantastic, that you could get immersed into another world and hence it became a passion!”
Her advice for aspiring young female leaders:
“Gender should not be something that defines whether you can achieve your goals or not. Every role, every passion, and every pastime should be as inclusive to everyone as possible.”
Her advice for aspiring young female leaders:
“Be yourself-easy to say and not as easy to do. It’s so important to recognise that you bring something hugely important to the table of leadership. Not by trying to change who you are but by being your authentic self.”



Reflecting on the insights and stories shared by our female authors, it’s clear that early literary influences not only shape our imaginations but also guide our paths toward creating more inclusive and understanding environments. Each author brings a unique perspective on leadership, resilience, and the importance of authentic connections, reminding us that our diversity is our strength.

As we celebrate World Book Day and International Women’s Day, let’s carry forward the wisdom shared by these inspirational women. Their journeys inspire us to embrace our own stories, to speak up for inclusivity, and to pursue our passions with determination and authenticity.

Thank you to Rachael, Michelle, Erin, Amy, and Mandy for their contributions and to our READ TO LEAD community for joining us in this celebration of female voices and empowerment.

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