About 20 percent of U.S. businesses are run by women, employing more than 10 million workers and generating $1.8 trillion in annual receipts, according to the Small Business Administration.

While women are still underrepresented as entrepreneurs and business owners, these numbers are significantly higher than they were a decade ago. The number of female-owned firms increased by six percent between 2014 and 2016, while the number of firms owned by minority women grew 14 percent, according to the SBA. 

In honor of the many inspiring female business leaders in the United States, here are 10 powerful and educational quotes from female CEOs.

  1. Melissa Butler (The Lip Bar): “If I would’ve known that it was okay to not know, I would’ve allowed myself to be a little bit more vulnerable to ask the questions that would have allowed me to scale faster.”
  2. Katie Anderson (Save Water Co.): “The percent of women entrepreneurs is increasing. And I felt excited about that and the reason for that is that is because I really view entrepreneurship as a really big opportunity to have a voice. Go on impulse. Listen to what is most true for you, and act from there.”
  3. Sara Blakely (Spanx): “I made a conscious decision not to tell anyone in my life. Now I tell people—don’t tell anyone your idea until you have invested enough of yourself in it that you are not going to turn back. When a person has an idea at that conception moment, it is the most vulnerable—one negative comment could knock you off course.”
  4. Thasunda Brown Duckett (TIAA former CEO of Chase Consumer Banking): “We have to give ourselves permission to fall down and to have missteps and set-backs in order to grow and be unapologetic about our journey.”
  5. Karen S. Lynch (CVS Health): “We learned during the pandemic that when we work together, we can conquer the impossible.”
  6. Katie Fang (Schoolinks and Forbes “30 under 30”): “Doing what’s right is not convenient, and it takes courage to go against the status quo.”
  7. Whitney Wolfe Herd (Bumble): “How does a queen bee behave? However she wants to. But please don’t wait for someone to hold the door open for you when your arms work perfectly fine — do it yourself.”
  8. Cindy Y. Lo (Red Velvet Events): “Challenge yourself and your team to hold high standards for your events and appropriately invest — your attendees are counting on it. Your business depends on it too.”
  9. Sharon Mays (Babygreens): “I created Baby Greens because everyone deserves good food and good service. Everyone decided that it’s okay for us to get bad food and mediocre service and we’ll keep coming back. People are paying their hard-earned money for this food, so it should be good. Just because you might be a person who has limited time or limited money, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a delicious meal and a giant smile.”
  10. Monica Peraza (Alegreea): “Working on your self-esteem is essential. Recognize ego, don’t let it blind you and learn to see things objectively. Being a leader is a position of great responsibility and personal work is a catalyst to become a better leader.”