I had an inspiring and rewiring time at Emerging Women in Boulder, Colorado, last year, so you can imagine how excited I was that this year’s event was going to be held in New York City—my hometown!—this October 9-12.

I am still reeling from last night’s incredible kickoff. Let me share some of the highlights with you:

Chantal Pierrat
Chantal Pierrat

“It’s not breadth, it’s depth. That’s what I see women bringing to the fold. The future is intimacy.”

I’m proud to call Chantal Pierrat, the founder of Emerging Women, a friend. What a bright light! Usually the audience is slow to warm up at conferences, but we were with her from the moment she stepped on the stage. And how could we not be? She shared her personal story of emerging, of becoming manifest. She then presented the first four points in her feminist manifesto, what only she could get away with calling her “Feminista Manifista”:

  • This wave of feminism is not based on gender—it’s a human rights issue. What’s good for women is good for men, too.
  • We support the development of women as women, women as leaders, and women as a collective.
  • It has to become less about the doing and more about the being.
  • Respect the power of connection. We’re moving from the “I” phase to the “we” phase.
Annette Richardson
Annette Richardson

“May we feel connected, enlightened, and empowered throughout this conference and beyond.”

Annette Richardson gave the first part of the convocation. Talk about a résumé! She is a Senior Advisor to the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP). She implements global multi-stakeholder advocacy and outreach campaigns in support of the UN Secretary-General’s global development priorities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, toward 2015 and beyond. To say I’m looking forward to hearing more from her this weekend would be an understatement.

Dominique Christina
Dominique Christina

“In the beginning there was the word and the word was woman. Listen.”

Dominique Christina concluded the convocation with an amazing poem about her grandmother—but really about all of the women who create, reflect, and motivate us. Every line of the poem was a gem I wanted to hold up to the light, like this one: “She kept a wilderness in her bones.”

Dominique is a writer, performer, educator, and activist. She won the 2012 Women of the World Slam and the 2011 National Poetry Slam. Her work is influenced by her family’s legacy in the civil rights movement. She has toured across the country, opening for Cornel West, and performing for the families of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till in Washington, DC, at the Shiloh Baptist Church. She’ll be doing more at Emerging Women this weekend and I, for one, can’t wait.

Brene Brown
Brené Brown

“You can choose comfort or you can choose courage but you can’t have both. There is nothing comfortable about courage.”

Brené Brown, PhD, was one of my favorite things about Emerging Women 2013, so of course I was excited to hear her speak again this year. Her keynote talk, “Courage Is a Heart Word: Lessons on Love, Belonging, and Being Brave,” did not disappoint! Here’s the heart of it:

There are no guarantees in the arena. We will struggle. We will even fail. There will be darkness…but if we are clear about the values that guide us to show up in our effort to be seen, we will always be able to find the light. We will know what it means to live brave.

Beyond her work as a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and TED Talk superstar, Brené is also the author of two of my favorite books: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Gotham) and The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (Hazelden). She told us she’s at work on a new book—I need to pre-order that one ASAP!

Katie Gray
Katie Gray

“What you give is what you get and what you live is what you let into your heart.”

Katie Gray closed the evening with a beautiful song—“Stars Soon to Shine (Love Like Fire).” I’m looking forward to hearing more of her amazing voice this weekend.

Today’s Emerging Women highlights include:

  • Talks by Tami Simon, the inspiring founder and CEO of Sounds True; Wokie Nwabueze, with whom I had the privilege of sharing the stage last May; Tara Mohr, another favorite of mine from last year; publisher and thriving advocate Arianna Huffington; my dear friend Agapi Stassinopolis; Dominique Christina; Karen May, Vice President of People Development at Google; and Annette Richardson, Senior Advisor to the UN Office of Partnerships.
  • Workshops on everything from how to “Rock Your High Zone: Wild Success, Deep Fulfillment” with Kristen Wheeler to “Making It Happen: A Method of Creativity, Action, and Collaboration to Get Your Idea Off the Ground” with Natalia Berry.
  • A panel discussion on “Demystifying the Money: How Women as Investors, and Investing in Women, Can Positively Impact Our Changing Economic Landscape” with Adaora Udoji, the Interim President of News Deeply; Kesha Cash, Partner and Director of Investments at Impact America; Fran Hauser, angel investor and advocate; Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO; and Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth.

And there’s even more to come on Saturday and Sunday! If you can’t get to the Big Apple, be sure to tune in to the free livestream.

Rose

Rose Caiola
Inspired. Rewired.

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