Attending the 2011 TEDxWomen conference offered a powerful platform to experience the fearlessness of women. After participating in the conference last year, I welcomed the opportunity to attend and absorb as much as I could from the amazing women who took the stage to share their insights on the topics of resilience, relationships, rebirth and reimagine.
What always moves me about the structure of the TED conferences is the intimacy and connectivity of it – I loved the brilliant curation of women and the complex subject matter. Hearing the individual stories of such a diverse group of women at this year’s TEDxWomen truly shed a light on how much we have to learn from our shared experiences. In fact, this beautiful eighth grade student named Claire Sannini particularly moved me. Claire was a speaker on the resilience panel and shared her personal and painful story of not fitting in, being excluded from the “popular cliques,” and finding her own voice. I know this story well – as a child, I certainly didn’t feel like I belonged, but it was also this discomfort that sent me on the journey of discovering my own power. Claire’s story really brought it home for me.
Of course I loved seeing some of my friends share their stories on the TEDxWomen stage; women like Pat Mitchel, Jill Iscol, Barbra Streisand, Dr. Oz, Jane Fonda and the amazing Gloria Steinem. It is just so clear to me that we have an unprecedented level of wisdom within our own culture to share and to learn from.
One of my favorite parts of the day was the intimate dinner hosted by Marie Claire Magazine. It was the perfect opportunity to continue the conversations of the day with some of the extraordinary women who had lent their voices to the TED talks earlier in the day. I was humbled and honored to participate in a paneled conversation with Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire Magazine. We focused on my passion for Haiti and the measurable growth we’ve seen with our Haitian Artisan Project. It was so funny; I forgot that they were video taping me! I mean it’s Haiti – I can talk forever! But, the truth is that too few people are telling the story of the beauty of Haiti and I love being able to shine on light on it; it resonates with people, it really does. I even ended up selling one of our papier-mache bags off of my arm to a woman at the dinner! I loved it; I am always happy to send someone home with a little piece of Haiti.
I walked away from TEDxWomen feeling excited and hopeful. These conversations are pivotal and I know this is just the beginning.