Friday, October 29, 2010

Women Reinventing, Balancing, and Driving Change

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the MORE Magazine Reinvention Convention in New York, and found myself surrounded by hundreds of fabulous women in their prime years looking for inspiration.

Some were launching second careers, some were looking to start a new business, and many were looking to find balance. All were looking to make positive changes and find more meaning in their lives.

Anchoring the day were emcee Lee Woodruff, Good Morning America contributor and author, morning keynote speaker Christiane Amanpour, anchor of ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, and luncheon keynote speaker Anna Quindlen, Pulitzer prize-winning author. These high-powered women had one very significant thing in common – they had made choices to balance family and career.

Reinventing

Lee Woodruff told the story of needing to spring into action when a roadside bomb in Iraq critically wounded her husband, journalist Bob Woodruff. She found herself suddenly the sole breadwinner, with small children to care for and a spouse in a medically induced coma. With humor and grace, Woodruff told the audience how she responded to what life threw her way, and made the necessary life changes.

Balancing

Amanpour told the story of her early career as a journalist, saying that she believed she was able to land a job at CNN largely due to the fact that she was a woman, and that most of her mentors were (by necessity) men. Having had her son at the age of 42 Amanpour genuinely admitted, “I do not believe I would have achieved what I have today had I chosen marriage and children early in my career.”

Driving Change

Quindlen also felt the need to spend more time with her family, and chose to leave journalism in 1995 to become a full-time novelist. Quindlen made her mark by having an opinion, and not being afraid to share her opinion. Quindlen believes that women haven’t yet achieved equality in the workplace, noting that, “We all hit the glass ceiling in different places.” Quindlen talked about the glass ceiling and childcare saying that, “Women who are in a position of power have a moral responsibility to do something about these issues.” She challenged the audience to identify what is seen as “women’s issues” within their own workplace, and to work together with like-minded men to drive change.

I couldn’t agree with her more. What about you?

7 comments:

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm totally onboard with these ideas. My stories feature women protagonists in what I hope is a positive light showing them coping, making their own decisions, and saving themselves rather than waiting to be saved. Women in my family have always been strong and independent. I hope to carry on that tradition.

Colette said...

Carol, I love stories where women are strong and independent. Too often we are portrayed as weak and needing to be saved.

KarenG said...

Great topics! I struggle with balance constantly.

Asra said...

Anna, I totally agree with your idea of existence of glass ceiling... for sure the equality is not there yet.

Colette said...

Balance... glass ceilings... unfortunately these are real issues we all need to address. I think the more we recognize them, the more progress we can make.

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Wow! How fantastic to be at an event with all of these women!

It's nice to get a shot of enthusiasm and confidence when you listen to accomplished women like that. As a fifty year old it's encouraging to know life can bring new challenges and success!

Colette said...

Meg, it was great to be surrounded by accomplished women in their prime -- and not just the speakers! At fifty-two, I felt young!