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Being Compelled into Action at the 2nd Annual WIE Symposium

Last Updated on Friday, 21 October 2011 11:32 Written by Donna Karan Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:17

wie2 Being Compelled into Action at the 2nd Annual WIE SymposiumI 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.

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Creating & Collaborating at The Milken Institute Global Conference

Last Updated on Saturday, 7 May 2011 06:58 Written by Urban Zen Friday, 6 May 2011 12:17

dK melkin Creating & Collaborating at The Milken Institute Global ConferenceThis week, Donna Karan joined a crowd of more than 3,000 people in Beverly Hills for the 2011 Milken Institute Global Conference. This inspired conference brings together thought-leaders from all over the world to connect and collaborate to create change – a concept that clearly resonates with Urban Zen. Entrepreneurs, executives, philanthropists, scientists and Nobel laureates all gathered together to create innovative solutions for pressing social, political and economic challenges.

We were delighted that Donna was asked to participate in the conference as a panelist – it was a phenomenal opportunity to raise awareness on the issues that have captured her heart: bringing mind, body and spirit to healthcare, education, and culture preservation. On Tuesday evening, Donna hosted a private conversation with the Milken Institute’s young leaders. It was a lively hour of dynamic discussion with some of the world’s most promising entrepreneurs – all of who were eager to absorb wisdom and advice from Donna’s life story. During the discussion, there was a question and answer opportunity for those in attendance and guests were eager to take advantage of it. Donna was asked questions like: What did you learn from starting out as a sales person? How did you get your job with Anne Klein? Did you ever think you would become the person that you are today? How do you manage being a global entity? How do you create calm?

Donna tackled each question by bringing her lifetime of experience to the table. Most of all, she talked about a lesson she learned from her husband: connecting the dots. She shared how important it is to see the beauty in the connections, to look at how the bigger picture can come to life. She brought everything into the present by sharing her passion for Urban Zen saying, “Urban Zen is the new model for doing business. It’s about connecting the dots between philanthropy and commerce… it’s a sanctuary of wellness and a space to create real change.”

The following day, Donna joined powerhouse philanthropists Lynda Resnick and Kim Wright-Violich for a profoundly motivating panel called, “Channeling Philanthropic Dollars into Effective Action.” The discussion was cerebral, inventive and cutting edge and the whole room was captivated by the forward-thinking that was presented. Donna was able to reiterate her belief in the sustainable, scalable business model of marrying philanthropy and commerce. She talked about the importance of living out your passion and making certain that, “business comes from your heart and your soul.”

Donna also talked about the important role that culture has played in her life and the way it has influenced her as a business person and dedicated philanthropist. She said to the panel that, “My prayer for the next generation is that our cultures are preserved and that our sensitivity and wisdom of cultures endure. My dream is that we can actually learn to care about the person next door. Once you are touched from a humanistic stand point there is hope. There is the possibility of perfection.”

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TED2011

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 06:11 Written by Sonja Nuttall Monday, 7 March 2011 05:59

Ted collage TED2011It’s always a thrilling moment arriving at TED, my favorite conference of the year. The four-day event is truly an intellectual bubble, so full of ideas; it’s a surprise the bubble doesn’t pop. TED was created to bring together leaders from the worlds of technology, entertainment, and design, and it is amazing to see how much larger it has become. The conference showcases thought leaders, who change lives and perspectives in the 18 minutes that they grace the TED stage. TED is always an extraordinary experience, and this year’s TED, in Long Beach, was no exception. 

The conference center was visually stunning. The stage was beautifully designed, the environment was incredible, and as usual, the sessions were brilliant. Speakers from all over the world expanded the minds and stimulated the senses of attendees in sessions named “monumental, beauty, imagination, enchantment.” 

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