To be welcoming. To be unafraid. To be a great leader.

For the first time in 29 years, a woman has been chosen as Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.” This leaves most of us wondering, why such a long wait?

TIME’s Radhika Jones answers: “As I wrote a few years ago, the label of Person of the Year tends to favor people with institutional power. The choice reflects TIME’s view of who affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill. Since 1986 there’ve been four U.S. Presidents in the mix—three of them two-termers, all of them men. Plus a handful of leaders of the Soviet Union (and Russia), also all men. The Pope keeps being a man. And it’s a lot easier to make news from an address like the White House, the Kremlin or the Vatican.”

In a world where great leadership is generally associated with masculine “words” such as strong, powerful, assertive, competitive, and direct, it is great to see that a woman can rise to meet all of these expectations. The notion of what makes a great leader is finally changing, and as a society, we are embracing the value of more feminine traits in the role of leadership- words such as compassion and kindness, inevitably come to mind when reading Time Magazine’s award to Merkel rationale:

“To be welcoming. To be unafraid. To believe that great civilizations build bridges, not walls, and that wars are won both on and off the battlefield. By viewing the refugees as victims to be rescued rather than invaders to be repelled, the woman raised behind the Iron Curtain gambled on freedom. The pastor’s daughter wielded mercy like a weapon. You can agree with her or not, but she is not taking the easy road. Leaders are tested only when people don’t want to follow. For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is TIME’s Person of the Year.”

Hats off to Merkel. And to everyone who understands the value of the feminine perspective in leadership.

Kathleen Barretto