Being Compelled into Action at the 2nd Annual WIE Symposium
I have to admit; I find the balancing act difficult. At times I struggle with the multi-faceted, deeply layered role of being a woman. It’s a challenge, but I’ve learned that it’s so much easier when I am surrounded by a supportive community. For me, co-hosting the 2nd Annual WIE Symposium with Sarah Brown and Arianna Huffington was exactly this – an amazing group of inspired and inspiring women coming together because we believe that together we can really do something.
The 2-day symposium kicked off with a day of sharing enterprise and entrepreneurial advice. Young women gathered to learn the insights and wisdom of industry experts. Understanding that the world will be positively impacted by female leadership means passing on the lessons learned with the women rising; it’s an amazing thing to have heroines like Nancy Pelosi and Tamara Mellon contributing to the shaping of the women who are becoming the trailblazers of tomorrow.
The enterprise day was followed by a day of inspiration. I was honored to participate in the day and be a part of the energetic community of women. We began with a special breakfast for the White Ribbon Alliance, a coalition committed to the advancement of maternal health. Health care is an issue that resonates with me, and the stories of the midwives working to save the lives of women and children was truly moving. Sarah Brown, patron of the White Ribbon Alliance and WIE co-host, graciously invited Arianna and I to participate in the breakfast. I was thrilled to collaborate with Magalee of Caribbean Craft to create a special paper mache bag to benefit the WRA’s efforts to advance maternal health in Haiti. As I shared earlier, we were also able to collaborate with Paula Coles to create a beautiful white bag made of recycled tee-shirt materials designed to benefit the WRA as well.
After the breakfast, I went right into my first panel of the day where I joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Deborra Lee Jackman, Michelle Ebanks and Lisa Gersh to discuss getting off the sidelines. It was a purpose-filled and powerful thing to hear each woman talk about the pivotal moments in life that propelled them into action, and then to see these stories ignite pivotal moments in the lives of many of the women listening. Together with my fellow panelists, we encouraged time to explore the symposium, meet inspired people and take-in some of the motivating panels of my co-hosts. I was honored to hear Dr. Jill Biden speak about her passions and her belief in the collective power of women and girls. And, I was particularly happy to attend Sarah Brown’s panel, which brought together fearless, strong male leaders who are actively working as advocates for women because I believe, firmly, that we cannot forget about our men.
Another highlight of my day was meeting the extraordinary winners of our Urban Zen WIE Symposium contest. Katie, Jamie, Rita, Kerry and Justine all embody the attributes and attitudes to become incredible leaders paving the way toward real change. I was so inspired by each one of them and I invite you to visit the Urban Zen news page to hear more about their experience at WIE.
I began my day at the symposium with a call to action and closed my day with a call for calm when I hosted my panel, “Mind, Body, Spirit – Finding the Calm in the Chaos.” It was a gift to have women I admire like Elizabeth Lesser, Lisa Oz, Agapi Stassinopoulos, Kris Carr and Colleen Saidman Yee join me on stage to pass on peace, calming and their hopes for the future. I began the panel by asking Colleen to guide the room in a meditation. This simple act shifted the energy and brought everyone together in a deeply connected way. It was beautiful, as was the rest of the panel.
The WIE Symposium was everything it promises to be: women, inspiration and enterprise. The profound effect of listening to other women share their stories, insights, obstacles and triumphs was one of being compelled into action. When someone tells you their truth – offers their humanity – it has an impact. When a community of game-changing women come together and do this, it sets fire to a ripple effect that will undoubtedly change the world.