It all started with a piece I wrote for the Keith Haring Foundation. I was stunned into action, astounded by how much my talented and benevolent friend managed to accomplish in his very short 31 years on this planet. Twenty years after his death, the charities Keith was so actively involved in are still being supported by his foundation today. That is called making a real difference! I began digging deeper within to start realizing my own purpose in this lifetime. My quest brought me to New York for the spectacular WIE Symposium. My head is still spinning with the sheer volume of information from every possible avenue.
Panels on the future role of women in technology, becoming an entrepreneur, fashion: dressing and addressing, break out sessions for young innovators, telling women’s stories through film. The health, wellness, and spirituality panel, women in advocacy, women leading the way in business, and creative campaigning.
Women, little more than girls themselves, from all over the world sharing stories of unthinkable atrocities and how they are conquering adversity to facilitate change in their communities. Their phenomenal message being, “do not look at us as victims, look at us as the leaders that we are.”
Sarah Brown, wife of England’s former Prime Minister, addressing the Millennium Development Goals on meeting our promises to girls and women everywhere; and the adorable twelve year old girl from South Africa who brought us all to our feet in a standing ovation when she so eloquently shared about how important education is and what it means to her future, and ultimately to all of ours.
A mind-boggling gathering of the worlds most intelligent, creative, successful women mentoring others like me, still finding my way, and searching for how I might make a difference. Arianna Huffington, Glenda Bailey, Sheila C. Johnson, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Nora Ephron, Nancy Meyers, Marianne Williamson, Ashley Judd, Cathie Black, Susan Smith Ellis, June Sarpong MBE, Melinda Gates, Baroness Amos – and that is just a fraction of all the luminaries in attendance. With energy like that all in one place at one time, miracles happen! It was a jaw-dropping day, during which I took copious amounts of notes and over 350 photographs from the front row while clarity began to spark in my mind over an idea I have for helping homeless women and children called “Tweet to Eat.” I’ll write more about that as it develops.
It is such a massive undertaking to process all of the events of the day, let alone describe it in an intelligible, concise manner here for you. Even though words and food are my medium, I am a visual thinker. I use my photographs to spark memories and ideas as the writing flows. That is my process, so I sit here with a lump in my throat, deeply saddened that these photos are lost. I tried, but unfortunately they were irretrievable from the camera’s memory card.
It is way too much information for just one blog anyway. As I slowly digest the magnitude of inspiration I experienced, I’ll continue to hope for my computer (and photos) safe return, and I will share insights with you bit by bit. In the meantime I’ll share one of my personal highlights of the day.
I felt such joy to see Christy Turlington Burns again. We originally met when she was just sixteen years old, shooting Duran Duran’s Notorious video and album cover, and I was heavily pregnant with Tatjana. As always, Christy’s inner beauty manages to outshine her impossibly gorgeous outer beauty. The supermodel, CARE advocate, and founder of EveryMotherCounts.org has directed a documentary on maternal health originally screened at the Tribeca Film Festival last spring, and is set to air during Mother’s Day on Oprah’s new network. ‘No Woman, No Cry’ is an enormous accomplishment inspired by her own personal experience, that will hopefully raise awareness and put an end to the unnecessary maternal mortality rates that soar out of control in so many countries.
It was a poignant moment when Christy threw her arms around me and asked how my daughter is doing after hearing her speak so passionately for women who might not otherwise have a voice. It really hit home that I never once worried about my own pregnancy, because I was fortunate enough to live in a country where advanced medical care is readily available. I am once again reminded of the tremendous blessings in my life, and the extraordinary people who bring them to my attention.