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So, You're A CEO and They Think You're A Cunt...

Excerpt from article "So, You're a CEO and They Think Youre A Cunt"

A key principle of being a CEO is being an efficient and effective leader. It involves structuring my time and that of my company by upholding standards that ensure optimal results; without compromising the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of myself or my team. This role demands setting a clear vision, strategizing effectively, and communicating openly. Does that mean that I sometimes have to be the "bad guy", to be called "unreasonable", or even sometimes called a "Cunt" or "Shark"? Yes, yes it does.

It is by no means easy, but it is absolutely worth it.

As women in leadership, we don't have the privilege of mediocrity or ambiguity; we must be clear, direct, and accurate to command respect. We must empathize with our team, delegate wisely, and commit to continuous learning and growth. I know that one of the most important assets to my empire is my team members. I believe that if you stand strong for your team, they will help you build to the Gods. The other greatest asset is my ability to unapologetically embrace all that I am, and firmly establish healthy boundaries. Remember, as a leader, your actions not only set the tone for your team, but they also contribute to the larger narrative of women in leadership roles. Despite our relentless efforts and significant accomplishments, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in the uppermost ranks of business. This is not merely a personal challenge we face, but a systemic issue that pervades the corporate landscape. It's a testament to the resilience and tenacity of every woman who dares to lead, to break barriers, and to challenge the status quo.

Only 8% of CEOs At Fortune 500 Companies Are Female

According to, Women currently hold 41 (8%) of CEO positions at fortune 500 companies (Kaplan, 2022). And of that 8%, there are only 5 Black CEOs in the Fortune 500 (as of June 2021). That means 92% of America’s most powerful business leaders are white males.

  • They’re focused on their work.

  • They’re negotiating hard deals and demanding results.

  • They may even be denying promotions, reprimanding sales execs for failing to meet quotas, or sternly notifying an assistant that they’re not operating as expected and are needing to clear out their desk.

They’re doing all of this without the slightest fear of being called a "cunt".

Meanwhile, women in CEO positions are often walking on eggshells. We don’t want to be too firm or react strongly to unacceptable behavior out of fear of being called “emotional” or worse, a "cunt". Personally, I believe it’s time we stopped letting this label hold us back; it’s nothing more than a breakable glass ceiling. It’s time we stopped avoiding these toxic boxes, break through them and own it! CEOs in those powerful companies already know this and are thriving through it all. But, what about the up-and-coming CEOs that are building our own Empires?

Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux giving a keynote at NYFW

First things first, you have to unapologetically embrace all that you are, and establish firm boundaries. These boundaries are not a suggestion or negotiable.

“No.” is a complete sentence.

Secondly, stop saying “I’m sorry.” There’s a time and a place to apologize. It’s one thing to say so when you bump into someone on accident (or if you are wrong about something). However, when someone is crossing the line, you don’t say, “I’m sorry, but could you not do that?” That phrase relays as a question. You are not asking someone’s permission and it's not a suggestion for them to stop. You are firmly telling them, “Stop!”

Lastly, stop modifying your statements. Stop being so afraid of being called a "cunt" and just say what you mean and what you want. Don’t apologize for it, and don’t water it down. When you say what you mean, you’ll be heard, understood, and respected. Darling, say it with your chest, and speak up!

Listen, powerful women, set standards, and stick to them. It’s hard to become a successful business leader if you don’t have a core set of principles to guide you along the way. The most successful women are those that set standards for themselves, their employees, and for their businesses. This can also translate into your personal life. If someone calls you “high maintenance”, you smile and say, “You said healthy standards wrong.” Or, in my case, I always smile and say, “Thank you.” I take it as a compliment. I am not sorry for my standards so I am not going to apologize, explain them, or change them. You can embrace my light…or get out of the way. If I am "too much", they are welcome to go find less. We no longer dim our shine for anyone.

"When you accept low-effort energy, you are setting a precedence for how you want people to treat you."

Now, unfortunately, bold and decisive female leaders are often met with more disdain than respect; that’s not your business nor your problem. As long as you know you are respecting your peers and lifting others up, stick to your gut. Remember you don’t get congratulated for being professional, you only get criticized for being a "cunt". 9 times out of 10, when you are called a "cunt", it’s simply because you are not submitting to the behavior that the other person wants of you.

Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux

By now you are probably wondering what you should do if that’s the penalty for sticking up for what you believe in, especially if you don’t want to rock any boats. You do it anyway! You can be firm and still be respectful. However, if you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect others to respect you?

Darling, we don’t speak doormat nor low effort. You put quality into what you do. Why accept less than you deserve? As the Goddess, Nicki Minaj powerfully said during the NYT (Grigoriadis, 2015) interview,

” I spend time and I spend energy and I spend effort and I spend everything I have, every fiber of my being, to give people quality. So if I turn up to a photo shoot and you got a $50 clothes budget and some sliced pickles on a mother—-in’ board, you know what? No. I am gonna leave. Is that wrong? For wanting more for myself, wanting people to treat me with respect? But you know what? Next time, they know better. But had I accepted the pickle juice, I would be drinking pickle juice right now.”

While many of us are not record-breaking millionaires, yet, we are all deserving of that same respect. When you accept low-effort energy, you are setting a precedence for how you want people to treat you. Stand up and demand respect!

I get it, you don’t want to come off as “emotional” or “another angry black woman”. Let me explain something to you, emotional intelligence is what makes women successful in business. Women have the capacity to tap into these skills to help navigate complex situations, support colleagues, and manage behaviors & expectations. Emotional intelligence also helps us identify and connect with others from a place of empathy and understanding. It is one of the most powerful tools we possess. The key is to balance your heart and head. Too much of one can be toxic to your goals.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, "Do you want to build your Empire?" If the answer is "yes", then do so…but without the fear of being labeled a "cunt" just because someone doesn’t speak your “language”. Remember, you are not intimidating, they are intimidated. Strut with honor and respect, but accept bullshit from no one.

My darlings, I implore you to treat yourself like the luxury Goddess that you are. Be limiting with your energy. As the year closes, we are speaking life into abundance, gratitude, self-love & care. No more holding back. If they say, "but you're a woman..", you say, "exactly!" and OWN IT! We are breaking generational curses and lifting each other up. We are powerfully impacting the world, and not saying "sorry" for it. Be the Birkin Bag of your life! Whether it's business or personal, walk with your head held high. What we permit, will persist. You don't have to be cruel, but you are not a doormat.

Remember, you are above no one, but you are below NO ONE!

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About the Author:

Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux

🌎Global Business Strategist: Building Your Business To Sustainable Profits

🌟 Philanthropist | Empowerment Mentor

A Paradise Company / Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux Inc.

best-selling author, entrepreneur, and thought leader.

   Paradise Rodríguez-Bordeaux, the 2022 Human Rights Activist and the 2023 Innovative Leadership awards recipient, says,   

 "Sustainability is the bare minimum." 

    As an author, mentor, and mental health advocate, she is a passionate advocate for those who have faced adversity and discrimination in life. She has been a philanthropist for more than 15 years, giving back to her community by supporting organizations that provide solutions for poverty alleviation and social justice.  Her work as an innovator in business solutions led to the founding of...  Learn More

"We need to consistently produce effectively efficient solutions. 

This world, the communities, it's all of our responsibility. 

   Leaders HAVE to lead."


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