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Lagarde on moving past failure
03:15 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time. This month we’re celebrating ‘“Money Women” with a special series looking at the women who control global finance. We start with an in-depth interview with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Foundation (IMF).

Story highlights

Five leading women reveal their greatest career failures

IMF boss, Christine Lagarde, says: 'Learn and move on'

Arianna Huffington and Zaha Hadid say challenges made them stronger

CNN  — 

When other women ask Christine Lagarde about coping with failure – and they often do – the head of the International Monetary Fund doesn’t mince her words.

“Oh get over it. Get over it and move on,” says the fifth most powerful women in the world according to Forbes.

“I’ve failed myself. Twice I tried to enter the National School of Administration in the French system and I failed.”

Legarde might have failed twice, but the 59-year-old is a woman of firsts. She is the first woman to chair the global law firm Baker and McKenzie. The first female finance minister of France. And since 2011, the first woman to lead the IMF.

The mother-of-two’s philosophy is to learn from her failures, adding: “and then you move on.”

“Moving on” is something Lagarde is trying to do now.

Last year magistrates placed Lagarde under formal investigation in regards to a political fraud case, dating back to her days as a French finance minister.

Lagarde is appealing the decision. But how does she cope with the weight of these allegations?

“With strength, with my sense of duty to my country, with the certainty that I made the right choice at the time independently,” she said.

Learn and move on

We asked other women at the top of their fields about the biggest failures of their careers. Like Lagarde, many said set backs can later become sources of great strength.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, columnist, and author

Greek-born American Arianna Huffington is the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.

“My mother would tell me from a very young age never to be afraid of failing,” Huffington told CNN’s Leading Women.