Earlier this month I attended The Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston. I was asked ahead of time if I’d like to write a blog post. In reviewing the list of impressive keynote speakers, I wasn’t sure what to choose. I decided to wait and see what inspired me. Luckily for me, there were plenty of inspirational speakers.
Linda Cliatt-Wayman shared her experiences as principal of a high school where the prevalence of violence has interfered with education. Guided by her faith, she has dedicated herself to improving the educational experience of children attending Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia. Her love for her students has resulted in a safer learning environment which has in turn fostered academic progress. I was inspired by her selflessness and passion.
Blake Mycoskie encouraged us all to look for opportunities to help others. As the founder of TOMS Shoes, Blake has been able to successfully combine his entrepreneurial abilities with charitable giving in an effective way. Even from the beginning, when he started with just a few pairs of handmade shoes he sold to a small group of family and friends, his intent was to give back to those in need. As his business has grown, he has not lost sight of his original mission of helping others. I was inspired by his generosity and humility.
Robin Roberts warmed our hearts with stories connecting her personal life to her career. Through her experiences with life-threatening diseases as well as worry about her family during Hurricane Katrina, Robin has been willing to share her emotions with her audiences. Although she is a famous television host, it felt like she was chatting with friends over lunch rather than presenting a prepared speech. I was inspired by her genuineness and her fortitude.
Leymah Gbowee spoke of her role as an activist for women’s rights. Listening to her firsthand experiences with war, I was impressed by her courage in the face of such very real danger. She has seen much violence and yet remained committed to the idea of peaceful activism. I was inspired by her bravery and commitment.
As you can see from these examples, there was a wide range of speakers at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Their diverse experiences illustrate that there are many ways to make a difference in this world as well as to inspire others. Although my sphere of influence is not nearly as large as these presenters, my goal is to continually look for opportunities to be a positive force for change and an inspiration for others. I would encourage each of you to not only find opportunities to be inspired, but also to inspire.