As an entrepreneur and content creator eight years in, finding inspiration and creativity for me is a must! It’s how I continue to evolve and grow VJMedia every year. As many of you know, when you work for yourself, YOU are your own motivator, your own self-disciplinarian, and YOU are your own self-delegator. It can be hard to stay focused, stay inspired and scale up, but somehow we find a way. That’s why I often seek out events and conferences, women driven when possible, that give me that refresh and insight that I need to then inject into my own brand.
This year, I came upon an event that not only changed my life; it opened my world up to a new way of thinking about US; the women of the world who are leading the change we want to see for our businesses, our families, our friends, our communities and most importantly for ourselves.
The United State of Women Summit- have you heard of it?
If you are a female entrepreneur, a mom, a community advocate, a critical thinker or a leader of a female focused movement, the USOW summit should not only be on your radar for 2020, you should already be looking into what women will be joining you for the awe inspiring event. After all, it is all about togetherness, camaraderie, action and sheer sisterhood.
The summit this year was held in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium and as you can imagine it was jam-packed with celebrities, inspiring pop-ups from start up brands, and a collective of women thought leaders from across the country. I loved the intimacy of the summit- it allowed me to have a front row seat to see some of my sheroe’s and activists including Tarana Burke of the #METOO movement, actress and activist Tracee Ellis Ross, Senator Kamala Harris, Yara Shahidi and of course our forever First Lady Michelle Obama.
I also had the opportunity to connect with other champions of the female entrepreneurial movements who are fighting for important causes like gender pay equality in the workplace, an end to human sex trafficking and discrimination of all kinds. And let me be the first to tell you (if you haven’t already heard on social media), that the Queen Jane Fonda SLAYED the event. Jane held nothing back as she put white women (yup) on notice for their complicity, which helped to elect Donald Trump.
She gave cold and sometimes uncomfortable facts about how and why privilege has blinded many into thinking that some problems like blatant discrimination by police in communities aren’t their problems. But they are. She went deeper, giving facts about the current U.S. prison system and its blatant racism and laid out the case after case as for why it is a version of modern day slavery that disproportionately affects black and brown men and women compared to their white counterparts. Jane’s speech stuck with me, it IS necessary conversation that needs to be had in order to truly move this country forward.
I’ll let Jane tell you for herself. See video below. (Tip- skip to minute 1:50 for Jane).
Obviously you know that Michelle Obama was one of the main reasons for me attending this year. She was in Miami for a rally in 2016 but I missed her due to a press trip during the same time. I wasn’t about to let that happen again. I made my way to the front of the auditorium to take in her wisdom, knowledge and sheer brilliance. She along with Tracee Ellis Ross spoke about respect, will and how we are molding our young girls and women into adults. She candidly gave example after example of how our words now more than ever, should be purposeful and careful, because the babies are listening!
See for yourself below. (Tarana Burke’s and First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech start at 1:12 and 1:30)
Finally- do you believe that things in your life happen for a reason? Well I do and I believe that I was meant to meet the good folks at Amazon while at USOW women this year. Amazon threw an intimate fireside cocktail to close to summit with two of its developers of ALEXA, yes that ALEXA.
The ladies (Marian and Mita) shared inspiring stories about how they developed the game-changing device and gave their insights on working for a huge brand like Amazon. I particularly took away on nugget of wisdom from Marian as she was speaking about working in a male dominated tech industry such as Amazon and how she overcame it. Marian said, “When building relationships in business, you have to be willing to be misunderstood, but do it anyway. Grow in confidence and people will adapt to you”.
I could go on and on about all of the awe-inspiring moments that happened while at USOWomen this year, but I’ll end here, because VJ has to get back to building and growing VJMedia..
As women, as humans, we are all connected. Find your tribe that you connect with deeply. Find ways to elevate, scale up and grow together. When women support each other, we win together.
And when we win, our communities, our culture, our dreams win too. Truly!
For more, check out my play by play from the event on my Insta-Stories Highlights, click here!
A few important causes and movements that I learned of while at USOW that may be interesting to you:
- #ElleVest and the #DisruptMoney movement (for financial education and empowerment).
- #OneFairWage (for details on how to bridge the gender wage gap).
- #FirstTimeISawmeonTwitter (For dark web searches and technology literacy).
- The Peacemaker Institute (amazing group of women).
- #BossBabe network for scaling up your business.
I hope you find the nuggets above informative and that you can utilize them and you continue to grow and glow up! Shine on fellow lady trailblazers!