Eight hundred and fifty young women from 150 schools in the Los Angeles area had gathered in the Gym of Brentwood School for its first ever, Young Women’s Conference, called “It’s Our Turn.”
It was a proud moment for all of us women and especially Brentwood parents to see such a thoughtful and inspirational day unfold before us. Maria Shriver was the honorary chair for the event and the executive committee—the ones who put on the conference—was made of 10 brilliant Brentwood School Girls that had a passion for growth and for tackling some modern-day issues facing girls today.
It goes without saying the discussion panels and the speakers were beyond belief! Yes, just imagine that the fierce and talented Mary J Blige spoke onstage about her journey, her relationships, and her own experiences with work and rejection. She was so gracious, candid, and open-hearted that you couldn’t help but admire this woman for what she has done.
I had the great privilege of being a presenter as well and I when I was in the green room, I ran into her and told her how real and remarkable she was. She smiled at me and said, “Thank you, it means a lot to me.” She wasn’t acting like a larger than life personality, but rather a humble and authentic woman.
A whole host of accomplished women took the stage talking about balancing work and family, about giving back to the community, self-defense and creating boundaries, self-esteem, and bullying.
The big surprise came at the final hour of the event. The surprise guest speaker was blonde donning Chanel sunglasses, a bright red lipstick, a biker leather jacket with studs all over. Any clues? A red silk blouse was tied around her waste that served as a make shift mini skirt and heals that must have been 10 inches high. She came on the stage and the entire gym went wild—there she was—Lady Gaga!
In a world where everything dwindles down to images and sound bites, Lady Gaga sat and talked about her difficulties she faced in being excluded in high school, her own insecurities, and some of the obstacles that have come across her path. Well over a hundred girls stood in line to ask her questions, and I was amazed to see the level of connection and truthfulness she shared with the audience.
As everyone headed out of the conference, all I could hear were the girls chatting among themselves about the incredible day they had all shared. I was thinking to myself how wonderful it would have been for my generation to have had this kind of opportunity to talk about such issues when we were in the midst of our tumultuous, hormonal ride through high school. Indeed “It is Our Turn” was the most appropriate name for the conference for these girls.