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2012 was quite the year for the boss lady.

For the past 12 months, you, me and countless other women in our networks have been talking about the bold accomplishments of fearless women from a variety of backgrounds and professional fields. We witnessed Mellody Hobson take over the board of DreamWorks Animation. We watched Gabby Douglas, Claressa Shields, and several others take home Olympic gold.

Alicia Keys dropped yet another chart-topping project while Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey supercharged their mission to tackle obesity in the African-American community with Black Girls Run! Beverly Bond maintains that Black Girls Rock, and Brandice Henderson is single-handedly bringing diversity to the runway with Harlem’s Fashion Row.

Must Read: The Downsides To Being Your Own Boss

Still, there is one woman who came onto the scene in early April and within an hour had millions of fans. This woman had us all running around claiming to be a “gladiator in a suit.” On a bad day, she made us wish we had a ‘Huck’ – or better yet, a ‘Harrison’, even if only to look at. She even made our more-than-complicated, less-than-perfect personal lives look like a fairytale when compared to her own. I’m talking about Olivia Pope – and for the past few months you have been talking about her too, which is why she is the biggest boss of 2012.

Created by television writer/director/producer extraordinaire, Shonda Rhimes, and played by award-winning actress Kerry Washington, Olivia Pope is a high profile D.C. crisis expert and the main character of ABC’s hit drama, “Scandal.” The series debuted to over seven million viewers and social media feeds and timelines light up each week with chatter before, during and after each episode. The plot is far too layered to even summarize here, but the reasons why Olivia Pope is every boss lady’s boss lady are clear:

  1. She’s quick: One of the most notable traits about Olivia Pope is how quickly she thinks on her feet. Whether you’re a crisis expert in Washington, D.C., or running your own business, or making inroads as a new team member, being able to assess a situation, devise a plan of action and set that plan in motion in a matter of minutes is key especially when the stakes are high. For Olivia Pope, it also helps that she’s able to speak quickly but eloquently and move quickly to position herself in a room or situation. As a boss, people depend on you. Think fast, speak up and show up.
  2. She knows her role: Just because you’re the boss doesn’t always mean you should be in the spotlight. Olivia Pope understands this as a crisis expert. She is on the front lines of running her business and client affairs though she is rarely, if ever, seen on the front lines by the public and in the media. Sure, she conducts press conferences as needed but it’s always in accordance with what’s best for her client. Bosses know how to handle a scene without being seen.
  3. She’s human: I don’t know about you but when her relationship with Fitz was revealed in the first episode I screamed … out of relief! She has the education, she has the career, she has the network and Lord knows she has the wardrobe… but her love life is a struggle. And even in her day-to-day work she doesn’t get it right all the time and is forced to lean on her inner circle and a bottle of red wine. I mean, hallelujah! Bosses are human and therefore imperfect. The boss who understands this and is keenly aware of her own imperfections is the boss who is able to lead from a place of authenticity.

Who was the biggest boss for you in 2012?

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More On Olivia Pope:

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