Watching Maria Shriver on the Today Show reminded me what women can do when they feel empowered to be their best selves. Each of the star-studded presenters at the 2010 Women’s Conference in California has followed her inner guidance and overcome doubts to become who she really is. And look what they’ve done with their lives!
Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Laura Bush, Erin Brockovich — the list goes on and on. More importantly, most of the 150 speakers were not household names but instead are women like us who decided to use their voices, to channel their unique powers, to help resolve problems in the world.
Let’s honor other women — and ourselves — by encouraging every woman to see and use her own powers. Don’t get caught up in the BS, the shrill name calling, the obstructionist attitudes. We MUST work together.
As Shriver said, we have too many problems to waste time screaming at each other. Women want to know about the real issues. They are breadwinners, parents, entrepreneurs, caretakers. It’s so important that we find ways to get along, to find common ground.
The stated mission of The Women’s Conference Organization is to create Architects of Change. An Architect of Change is a smart, strong, capable and compassionate leader who sees a problem and seeks to create the solution, be it in her home, her community, her state or our world.
The overarching theme of this year’s conference was “It’s Time.” Proceeds from the conference finance dreams and invest in entrepreneurs, lift people out of poverty, help end the cycle of violence, send young women to college, honor courage, wisdom and strength, and build community centers, playgrounds and gardens.
The website has wonderful resources like this inspiring list.
9 Ways to Be An Architect of Change
1. Find your own unique voice and listen to what it’s saying.
2. Empower a young woman. Become a mentor by connecting with a young woman in your workplace, neighborhood or place of worship. Find small ways to reach out, listen and support her.
3. Act locally to make a difference globally. Make informed choices about what you buy and consume, as well as how you dispose of items. Reduce your carbon footprint, use energy and water responsibly and green your life.
4. Advocate for a cause that you care deeply about. Your time and expertise could help make a difference as a volunteer, counselor or board member.
5. Invest in women entrepreneurs. Join Team Maria in the WE Invest/Kiva partnership to give women the tools to start or expand their own businesses. For as little as $25, you can “Become a lender. Change a life.“
6. Speak up & ask for what you need. If you need to take time off of your job to care for a child or parent, ask for it. Families need more flexible work schedules, better child care policies and changes in family and medical leave. We need to use our voices collectively to improve workplace policies.
7. Engage your children in the world. As a mother, get your children involved at a young age in seeing the world through the eyes of others, respecting diversity, developing empathy and understanding the gift of giving back.
8. Donate to nonprofits that help women. Instead of purchasing a birthday, anniversary or holiday gift for family, friends and colleagues, make a donation in someone’s name to a nonprofit that works on improving the lives of women and girls.
9. Be an informed citizen. Educate yourself about the world you live in, share your knowledge, educate others and ignite a conversation.