A week ago, I attended Donna Karan's Women's Inspiration Enterprise conference (WIE), and it could not have come at a more relevant time. I had just finished clerking for a judge and was journeying into the unchartered territory of writing a book before switching legal fields. I was confronting a crossroad in my life and hoped that I would leave the conference inspired.
WIE was broad in topic, ranging from social entrepreneurship, fashion, beauty, human rights, hunger, media, and spirituality. However, there seemed to be a recurrent theme pulsating through each panel, and that was the power of connection. Life coaches Ann Mehr and Jerry Colona reminded us to connect with our breath prior to thinking and doing. Kris Carr encouraged us to have a sacred relationship with ourselves first and foremost. Dr. Jill Biden, Baroness Amos, and Iman encouraged us to connect to the need in Somalia. Documentary filmmaker Abby Disney and former President of Rock the Vote Jehmu Green spoke about connecting to the unheard, whether it be women in combat or undocumented workers in America. Elizabeth Lesser, the founder of Omega, spoke about connecting to other women or, as she referred to it, having “womances.” Donna Karan noted the importance of connecting business and philanthropy. And Deepak Chopra ended the conference by reiterating the need for a “collective consciousness for transformation.”
As women, we spend our lives connecting our paradoxes: yin and yang, ego and spirit; individualism and community; intuition and risk-taking; and patience and ambition. Ultimately, at this point in my journey, I’m experimenting with how to make these connections. And my first mission is currently connecting with my own power. The speakers at WIE reminded me that power is not about our accomplishments, but the ability to overcome difficult circumstances. Many of the women shared stories about their failures, their crazy schedules, or their desire to quit at certain points (or in Kelly Cutrone’s case, “every two weeks). Through mentorship, faith, determination, and ambition, their strength allowed them to transcend these difficulties.
I left WIE feeling not only inspired, but empowered. We all have the tools we need to succeed, we just need to connect to them.