I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with my summaries yet! I found this conference so interesting and inspiring and I really wanted to share with you all. Hopefully some of you will relate with some of these astounding individuals and will be even more focused on pursuing your passions and dreams! Here is Part 2…
The next speaker is one of a small percentage of women to run a Fortune 500 company, Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, along with Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America. The topic was empowering women to pursue their careers while balancing family at home as well. Indra warned all of us to be careful of the choices we make, because she had made a lot of sacrifices to get to the place where she is now, such as spending quality time at home while her children were younger. She said that “I don’t believe women help women enough in the workplace” and that “we assume feedback from women is bad when compared to from a man; we should take advice from each other and seek it out.” I thought it was very interesting that she made this observation because I have seen it from both angles in my past internships; some people have been very supportive of each other’s successes, while others are envious… (food for thought! Female power, we should root each other on, not try to bring each other down!)
Listen to Indra explain why women should support each other in the workplace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUfVvF_019Q
Maria Toorpakai Wazir was someone I wasn’t expecting to be interested to hear from, but I actually really enjoyed her talk. She’s a professional squash player in Canada who is originally from Pakistan, but had to disguise her gender while in her home country in order to play. When she was discovered, she and her family received threats because it was considered un-Islamic for a female to play sports without a veil and in shorts. She eventually left Pakistan in order to pursue her passion and is now the 54th in the world in professional squash. Her interview was very powerful for aspiring athletes, especially in advocating for using sports to build bridges and overcoming obstacles.
Listen to Maria’s story of success in the sports arena: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gpHMVLTx_E
The next three speakers work in the technology industry with different focuses: Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure and Enterprise Computing at Flex; Yoky Matsuoka, Technology Leader in Healthcare, Smart Homes, and Robotics and Co-Founder of Google X; and Martine Rothblatt, Chairman and Co-CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation. Dowling explained HealthTap, an app that can bring healthcare to everyone in the world in a cost-effective way, and that “we should take repsonsibility in the fourth revolution to solve problems using technology”. Rothblatt explained that “we spend twice on healthcare in the US than in Europe but we don’t live longer” and that needs to change.
Watch how technology may be the answer to the world’s most pressing problems here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66yhwvXmqHg
I was so excited to see Kerry Washington in person speak at this conference, for she is starring in a new HBO film called Confirmation, about America’s most infamous sexual harassment case that occurred 25 years ago. (BTW, she’s just as poised and well-spoken in person as she is in Scandal, guys!! *fangirling*) She was interviewed with the Executive Producer and Writer Susannah Grant, and Reporter for the Washington Post Sally Quinn. They discussed briefly about Anita Hill and how she was basically forced to talk about her experience in court against a Supreme Court nominee, and as a result had her reputation tarnished and her life turned upside down. Her case opened the doors and “forced [America] to talk about gender, we were forced to talk about race. This is an important conversation, let’s keep having them.” The story is riveting and the three interviewees were all in agreement that Anita Hill was extremely brave for her actions, even though her private life was over from the moment she shared her story. I can’t wait to watch it when it comes out!
Hear the discussion of how Anita Hill’s case changed how America deals with sexual harassment cases: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gClS_k4WmDY