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The motivational quotes inspiring today’s B2B CEOs

Last updated on June 17th, 2015 at 10:43 am

Let’s face it, we all love to be inspired. Motivational mottos help keep us B2B professionals focused on our goals, our ideas. They empower us to succeed in our careers, especially when we’ve lost focus.

So what inspires today’s B2B business leaders? B2Bnn asked some of the top CEOs in the B2B space which quote or motto they regularly turn to when it comes to running the companies they have worked so tirelessly to build.

Ryan Holmes, CEO, Hootsuite

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite
Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite

“They copied all they could follow but they couldn’t copy my mind so I left them sweating and stealing a year and a half behind.” – Rudyard Kipling

Running the world’s most widely used social media relationship platform (10+ million users in more than 175 countries) is no small task. When Ryan Holmes pioneered social media management in 2008 with his startup, Hootsuite, his company was considered the underdog. Competing against giants such as Microsoft and Salesforce, he felt he needed to work twice as hard and be highly innovative to even stand a chance.

Holmes looks to this Kipling quote to remind him to stay on his toes and never lose focus on innovation.

He told B2Bnn: “You always want to be in a place where you’re a year and a half ahead of everyone else. The only way to achieve that is making sure your business is cutting edge and you’re working harder than ever before. You never want to be in the position where your success leads to complacency, and you end up becoming the one copying the next up-and-coming innovator.”

Nicole Guillot, President & CEO, CNW Group


As President and CEO of CNW Group, the leader in the Canadian commercial newswire industry, Nicole Guillot will be the first to admit that she’s not your typical cookie-cutter CEO.

But what has helped her stay focused and rise to the challenge has been her ability to “own what I do.”

And right now, her focus and attention has been on creating a working environment that promotes community and collaboration.

“Give everyone a voice, make sure people are heard, empower them with the right tools to not only do the best job within their business function but willing to take risks and willing to step out of their comfort level,” she says in an interview.

The quote she lives by speaks to the effort of working together so that everyone has an investment in making the company, their clients and, most importantly, themselves succeed as a team.

“No matter what accomplishments you make in life you never make them alone. There’s always someone there to help you.”

Joe Terry, CEO, Corporate Visions

Joe Terry
Joe Terry

“It’s not about finding your limits, it’s about finding out what lies just beyond them.” – Unknown

What motivates the CEO of California-based Corporate Visions, a B2B firm focused on boosting sales team success? Dedication to his employees and the importance of training both your mind and your body to push beyond their limits.

Joe Terry says, “In life as in business, you will face adversity, that adversity creates fatigue and when one is in a fatigued state of mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to operate in your highest good.” He should know: he once played middle linebacker for the Seattle Seahwaks.

He adds, “The human reaction goes to self-preservation, when you are in a leadership position you are making decisions that affect the lives of many people and the connected lives of those people. You cannot afford to make selfish decisions.”

He also competes in IRONMAN triathlons and credits that gruelling physical training for his ability to withstand the demands and stresses put on him as a CEO.

“It’s only when you train your mind and body to push beyond its limits, that you can come to know and understand that beyond those limits is where growth lives.”

Corporate Visions has 130 full-time employees and it is those employees that inspires Terry to work beyond the status quo.

“After a long day, to engage with that one employee in a thoughtful manner, to show you care means everything. That one interaction can make their day, week or career.”

Gloria Roheim McRae, Co-Founder, Chief Strategic Officer, Wedge15

“Design goals with soul” -motivation speaker Danielle LaPorte

For best-selling author, strategist and co-founder of Wedge15, one of Canada’s leading brand and strategy consultancies, Gloria Roheim McRae considers this motto the philosophy in which she governs her company.

Gloria“Business actually for us is like a baby, it’s a living, breathing organism. A lot of our business is run off of emotional intelligence. Even more so than anything more strategic. So when we plan or whenever we’re in doubt and we’re making a choice we always go back to, ‘Are we choosing with soul or are we choosing with logic?’ We’re a soul driven enterprise, and that’s how we relate to our clients.”

And while McRae believes as a business leader you have full control over how you govern yourself and your business, she also thinks, “It’s a delusional thing that we do in business to assume that we can control everything.”

Which is why the idea of meeting the universe halfway is also on the forefront of her mind when it comes to the decisions she makes as a business leader.

“You can plan, you can strategize, you can intend but there are other forces in the business universe, like in every relationship, that are at play. From timing, to market elements, to what your competitors are doing. At the end of the day we’re all still subject to the collective forces that be and I think that’s a really healthy way to look at business.”

Steve Rayson, Director, BuzzSumo

Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo
Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo

“Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

For Steve Rayson, director of BuzzSumo, when it comes to running your business, flexibility is key. That’s why this quote resonates with him, because at the end of the day, stuff happens, and you just have to roll with it.

BuzzSumo, a platform for content marketing that allows users to find and search for what’s popular on any website, launched in March of 2014 and already has customers like Wyatt International and Spotify touting its ease of use and the quality insight it provides.

Boxer Mike Tyson
Boxer Mike Tyson

The Tyson quote also speaks to knowing and outlasting your opponent. “Stay up later than the competition. In my view, the people that win in business are smart people that work harder. There is simply no substitute for hard work, you have to be relentless,” says Rayson.

And at the end of the day, for Rayson, one of the most important things you can do is “hire the very best people you can afford. A good person is worth ten times an average person.”

Flickr photo via Creative Commons


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Kareen Madian
Kareen Madian
Kareen Madian started her business journalism career as an intern at CNBC. As the Web Editor for MoneySense.ca and Senior Web Editor for CanadianBusiness.com she created and produced content on all matters of business related news. Whether it be personal finance, daily market activity or interviews with some of Canada’s top CEOs, Kareen’s desire to make business news exciting and entertaining for her readers is always her top priority. Kareen is based in Toronto, and in her spare time she enjoys helping the Canadian economy by shopping for shoes. Find her on Twitter here


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