Three pre-conference workshops were offered on Tuesday, including one given by Christine Jahnke, who shared lessons from her book “The Well-Spoken Woman: Your Guide to Looking and Sounding Your Best.” Christine’s tips on the three V’s, Visual, Voice, and Verbal, were smart and easy to follow. She gave an amazing presentation and empowered all the women in the room to be able to give their own as well.
The official conference opened with a luncheon and an address from Dr. Bernice A. King. She regaled the audience with some heartwarming, inspiring, and soulful stories about her mother and her unwavering vision that really cemented the legacy that is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Without Loretta Scott King, standing beside him both in life and death, Martin would not have become the legendary figure he is today. That afternoon included a performance by poet Azure Antoinette and a plenary session with Benita Mosley, Chief of Sport Performance for the 2012 Olympic Track Team that brought home 29 medals from London (6 more than they had from Beijing). Martha Stewart also gave a live interview discussing her tips for a long, healthy, good, and graceful life. The highlight of the afternoon, in my opinion, was Lisa Bloom. Lisa, a TV news journalist, gave an impassioned speech based off of her book “Think.” She told us how 25% of American women would rather winAmerica’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize and how we still do 1 hour more housework a day than our male counterparts. She riled us up, but she also gave us easy ways to change, like making a chore chart and reading the local newspaper instead of (or at least as well as) US Weekly. Her speech was hard hitting, funny, insightful, and overall the best of the conference. Tuesday concluded with dinner and a performance by Peter Buffet.
After an amazing first day, Wednesday didn’t disappoint. Justine Metz, Valerie Young, and Barbara Annis all gave wonderful presentations about leadership, confidence, and communication. A panel discussion with Selena Rezvani and Carol Frohlinger allowed for some open discussion about negotiation, asking for what you want, and expecting to get it. These high powered New York women treat negotiation as an ongoing process and taught us to always be prepared to state our case, be willing to offer alternatives, and never be discouraged by a “no.” During lunch, Eleanor Clift gave a wonderful recounting of her time in politics and the importance of getting women engaged. Iowa has never sent an elected female to Washington. The only other state that has not is Mississippi. She got me inspired to vote (if not quite to run) in 2014! Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the day concluded with an address by Gloria Steinem entitled, “The Longest Revolution.” She spoke of all she has seen and the progress we have made, but also how we are still in the midst of it. She also reminded us that equal rights for women really goes hand in hand with equal rights for all, all over the world. With that powerful message, the conference concluded. Two days had given us much food for thought, many new connections, and a renewed sense of purpose.
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