Our greatest weakness is lack of self-confidence.
— Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry at the Ball State 2013 Commencement Speech
Angela Ahrendts is an American businesswoman and the senior vice president of retail at Apple Inc.
Before her impressive position at Apple, she was the CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014. Ahrendts was ranked 25th in Forbes’ 2015 list of the most powerful women in the world, 9th most powerful woman in the U.K. in the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour 100 Power List and 29th in Fortune’s 2014 list of the world’s most powerful women in business. She was also a member of the UK’s Prime Minister’s business advisory council until it was disbanded in 2016.
Why is Ahrendts so successful? Her energy and her passion.
What Cook hired her for was not just her retail savvy—after all, Apple’s stores were already the most profitable in the world—but also her leadership. Ahrendts is the kind of person who can conjure passion from people selling scarves, trench coats, or—now—wearable computers disguised as watches. Says Sir John Peace, chairman of Burberry and Standard Chartered: “She motivates people. She inspires people. And she is the sort of person who wants to see things succeed as a team. It’s a rare quality.”
Below she discusses the power of “good energy” and how to harness it in business: