“I am resilient.”
This was the theme of the WHYWHISPER Gala, a fabulous fundraising event for the YWCA of Calgary.
Gloria Steinem was the guest of honour. Her bio is here.
In university days I remember saying I’d love to hear her speak in person one day.
That was over 20 years ago.
She was worth the wait.
Inspiring. Warm. Engaging. Hip. Imperfect. She was all of these and more.
This brilliant, sassy woman is 78 years young. And, she’s ever as sharp as her younger self, the one who stood strong back in 1969 for the women’s movement and the one who continued to stand strong for women ever since.
The diversity in this room was fascinating. Our table of eight had three women in their early 20s, two in their 40s, one in her 50s and two in their 60s.
The 20-somethings shared they take choice for granted; they really didn’t realize all that’s come before them to give them more equality. For the 40- to 60-somethings, the sense I felt was more like, ahhhhh, it feels so good to be at home.
From the moment Gloria took the podium, I took notes to share with you here today.
Here are some brush strokes of her voice and brilliance:
- We all have choices and we all have voices.
- The family is the microcosm of the world.
- Our inner constraints hold us from speaking out.
- Women can see their future. They can plan forward and say, here’s where I want to be in 10 years.
- Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
- There is no act more revolutionary than listening.
- Laugh and learn something every day.
- I love conceptual leaps forward.
- Let’s talk about the issues, bring them to the table and amplify them.
Bring it on, Gloria!
And then when I thought it couldn’t get much better, my province’s premier Alison Redford joined for an informal question and answer following Gloria’s speech.
Alison is Alberta’s first female premier, a mother of a 10-year-old and a strong voice for women in my province.
When asked the advice her 20-year-old self would give her, Premier Redford responded by saying:
“You will move forward like a spiral and not a straight line. You may not always succeed but you need to be resilient through it all. Challenge ideas and have the confidence your opinion matters.”
Yes, my lady Premier!
The night got better, yet.
As people started to leave after the event and my inspiring Premier started to make her way out, I had an opportunity to shake her hand. I said she inspires me. She genuinely smiled and thanked me.
The warm exchange was the icing on the cake of an incredible, unforgettable evening.
My goal was to bring the essence of that experience to you here.
Let me ask you this.
When you read the words from these two leaders – Gloria Steinem and Alison Redford – what’s one message you found particularly inspiring? (Bonus points: And, why?)
Please make a comment below and share your insights.
P.S. Are you ready for 2013? Plan your entire year in ONE DAY, right here.