Attending the fourth annual Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center – just a few blocks from my home – was the perfect way to settle back into New York City after several weeks of travel.
This year’s summit built on the momentum created over the last three years and spoke to the incredible community of women as a global collective. It was inspiring to see world leaders – from exceptional executives, to profoundly effective humanitarians, to political and celebrity heavy hitters, to new women of impact – all come together to offer stories and insights from a very personal and solution oriented place.
I, of course, loved seeing women that I have long admired participate in the summit. Hillary Clinton’s speech exemplified the power of women – she stated so perfectly that, “Helping women isn’t just a nice thing to do.” I loved seeing her look so radiant, refreshed and full of life. Hillary captured the feeling of the summit when she said, “There is a powerful current stirring…we need to seize this moment.” I couldn’t agree more… there is something amazing happening amongst women and this moment is ripe.
You know, I’m constantly struck by the strength of the Clinton legacy and I especially felt this seeing Chelsea take the stage after her mother to lead a paneled discussion on future innovators, influencers and entrepreneurs.
I also love, love, loved seeing my dear friend Danielle Saint-Lot - Haiti’s Ambassador-at-Large - on the “How to Build a Woman Leader Panel,” a subject she has an enormous amount of personal experience in.
As the discussions and stories continued on throughout the summit, I was reminded how important women’s bodies are to our sense of self, power and expression. Many panels focused on the unthinkable abuse women have endured and the “battlefields” our bodies often represent. On the Outcry in India panel, journalist Shoma Chaudhury eloquently spoke to this point saying, “Women’s bodies are the battlefield on which destructive ideologies are contested.” However, there were just as many discussions surrounding the freedom we have to show the beauty of our bodies. I was particularly blown away when 18-year-old Michaela DePrince, a child survivor of war-torn Sierra Leone and orphanage abuse, danced on stage saying, “When I dance, I let people see who I really am.” As a designer and woman who has long appreciated the art of a woman’s body, I really connected with this line of conversation.
Overall, what really resonated with me was the abundant potential represented within this community of women. Empowering people to become self-sufficient, to stand tall, seek solutions and to live brave lives of impact. There were many dark topics covered, but the feeling I walked away with was one of light. In the end, it’s all about women raising women to another dimension.