Kristy Campbell blogged for us live from The Women's Conference 2010.
My trip back to my life in Northern California started off without much fanfare. The hotel lobby was quiet as I checked out and caught a cab to the airport. As I took my seat on the plane, the women next to me recognized my shiny silver bag and asked if I had been to The Women’s Conference. When I told her that I had attended, she said she had been there as well and remarked what an amazing experience it had been.
The flight attendant came on to make the general announcements and asked how many on board had been to The Women’s Conference. The plane immediately filled with raised hands and cheers. Much like at the breakout sessions where we were encourage to talk with the women around us, the plane had became of buzz of chatter and laughter. But the best surprise of all was that Minerva Award recipient, Oral Lee Brown, was also on the flight. My section was calling the trip home the “Flight of Empowerment.”
On the short flight back, I rehashed the Conference with the woman next to me. Turns out, Marjorie Auyong Gonzalez is a Minerva contender in her own right. She told me about a program she started with her company to give temporary employment to veterans. She has even come out of retirement to help with the program. As she explained, her company gives veterans salaried positions, housing, and medical benefits in order to give them current work experience and training. They can then update their resumes with current work experience in order to get jobs in the civilian market.
I asked her how the Conference influenced her and she said, “It’s such a great experience to be with so many women who inspire and empower each other. I loved all the speakers but I also really enjoyed all the women I met.”
When we all met up at baggage claim, we chatted with Oral Lee. She told us a cute story about how she didn’t have time to go back to her hotel and change for the awards so she had just worn what she had been in all day. As we laughed together, I introduced myself to a woman next to me who turned out to be Lorrie Sullenberger, the wife of airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed his plane in the Hudson River saving all of the passengers on board. She said she has been coming to The Women’s Conference for years and said how important it is to come home and keep “the message moving forward.” She also told me that she really felt the “Maria Magic” this year and is looking forward to seeing what Maria does next.
I agree. The “Maria Magic” that I experienced at the Conference has empowered me to step out of my comfort zone and to take action. Her message has inspired me to continue to believe in my voice and to keep doing the work that I do. If she can effect this much positive action in women over the course of one weekend, it is incredible to think what she could continue to do. Her own series of Women’s Conferences? Her own empowerment show on Oprah’s new network? President in 2014? Whatever she does, though, I guarantee she will have quite a following of empowered, inspired women.
Kristy Campbell is a writer and actress. Her column, “Saving The World One Teen At A Time,” is at Mommytracked.com, and her thoughts on modern mid-life are offered in her blog, “My Cape Is At The Cleaners: Secrets of an ExSupermom.” You can find her work at www.kristycampbellcreative.com.