“We have to recover the art of making ourselves central,” said Gloria Steinem addressing more than 6,500 women at the 6th annual Massachusetts Conference for Women earlier this month. The keynote speakers included the renowned Gloria Steinem, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Elizabeth Lesser, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Christy Turlington Burns and Tory Johnson. The focus was on women assuming their place as resilient leaders and daring to change the prevailing models of government and power.
Steinem said, “There is always one true inner voice. Trust it.” She spoke passionately about women struggling to enhance their self-esteem and to create a “Revolution From Within,” the title of one of her best-selling books. Changing the planet in a positive direction means changing ourselves internally and then bringing our true greatness to influence the lives of others. We must combine our uniqueness with unity.
Steinem, an author, speaker, advocate, and political tour de force who for two decades led a social revolution against injustice, quoted Albert Einstein: “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” Steinem spoke of the difference between strength and force, guidance versus domination, and empowerment versus fear. Steinem challenged women to balance the needs of children and the stewardship of the earth.
“Your Time is Now” – Keynotes Explore Conference Theme
“Now is the time for women to lead around the globe,” according to Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Women all over the world are rebounding and finding their sense of purpose individually and collectively. Lesser said, “When you hear the word leader, hear your name.” She urged attendees to show the world a new way of leading and not perpetuate the status quo: “We must lead with intention, so that we can correct the path.”
Historically, domination and control around warfare and keeping women from making decisions set the tone for governing globally. What if women contributed to the body of leadership ideas? What if women became more comfortable using their voices and innate powers?
There is suffering around the world that needs healing. We cannot approach the mending of the world using the same strategies that have consistently failed. The voices of women need to be included in the conversation. We need to more fully integrate women in leadership roles and find new ways to solve old problems. We as women need to assume this responsibility.
Judge Glenda Hatchett said, “We need less fretting and more doing and being fearlessly resilient.” She dared the audience to live their lives with purpose and passion. Judge Hatchett said, “No one gets your story and what it took for you to get here like you do.” We have a story to tell and work to get done. Women can deliver a new way of leadership that draws upon strength and inclusion rather than domination.
Victoria Reggie Kennedy, a powerful voice and advocate for issues that affect the lives of women, children and families, said, “Be fearlessly resilient… to discover what you want and go get it.” Her work on issues such as homelessness, economic opportunity, health care, education, domestic violence, and involvement in the political process have contributed to positive changes in Massachusetts and nationally.
The Massachusetts Conference for Women continues to grow, educate and exhilarate women from the Boston area. The lead for the conference was: “YOUR TIME IS NOW! To be fearlessly resilient. To rebound with purpose and power. To lead with intention. To discover what you want—and go get it!”
What will you do this year to lead your life with intention?