LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 85 world opinion leaders and approximately 14,000 women from all walks of life will be gathering today at the sold-out Women's Conference 2010 Main Event. Hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the nation's premier forum for women was held again this year at the Long Beach Convention Center from Sunday, October 24 to Tuesday, October 26. As an extension of her award-winning career as a journalist, California First Lady Maria Shriver approaches The Women's Conference as a place for once-in-a-lifetime conversations and news-making moments that combine the world's most authentic and influential voices in discussions about the issues that matter most to women.
With six separate events covering three full days, the sold-out Women's Conference 2010 is the largest and most dynamic conference for women in the world. In total, more than 165 world-class speakers will gather with more than 30,000 attendees to be educated, inspired and empowered to be Architects of Change in their own lives, within their communities and around the world. This year's conference has been produced around the overarching theme of "It's Time," which is intended to inspire people from all walks of life to see this challenging moment in history as an opportunity to come together and transform ourselves and our communities as Architects of Change.
"The goal of The Women's Conference is to transform women inside and out – and then empower them to help transform our world as Architects of Change," said Shriver. "We bring the world's greatest voices, hearts and minds in one place to deliver this simple, yet profound message – that we are the leaders we have been waiting for."
Program highlights from The Main Event's stage sessions and fourteen breakout conversations include:
- Remarks by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama during the opening session of the main stage;
- Brian Williams moderates a main stage conversation during opening session with Nike Inc. Co-Founder and Chairman Phil Knight, New York Times Columnist Nick Kristof, and Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz;
- Campbell Brown moderates a morning breakout conversation titled What Happens When Women Lead with Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz, Former Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation Anne Mulcahy, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and Disney/ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney;
- Linda Ellerbee in a Once-in-a-Lifetime Conversation with a Legendary Architect of Change with Robert Redford during a morning breakout conversation;
- Martha Beck moderates a conversation on happiness with Deepak Chopra and Goldie Hawn during a morning breakout session;
- Diane Sawyer moderates a main stage Conversation with Legendary Supreme Court Justices during the luncheon session with The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor and The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg;
- Remarks by former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush during the luncheon session of the main stage;
- Matt Lauer will moderate a main stage conversation titled Who We Are, Where We Are Going with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and California gubernatorial Candidates Jerry Brown (D) and Meg Whitman (R). This will be the first and only conversation between Schwarzenegger, Brown and Whitman to discuss the past, present and future of California and the nation;
- Gayle King will moderate a conversation on Building Self Esteem and Leadership in Young Women with Jessica Simpson, Lisa Leslie, Katherine Schwarzenegger and Global Ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Fund Jess Weiner during an afternoon breakout session; and
- At the end of the day, The Women's Conference will continue its tradition of honoring "Remarkable Women, Remarkable Legacies" during The Grand Finale featuring the always inspirational and moving presentation of The Minerva Awards. Held during the afternoon main stage session, the special ceremony will be hosted by Maria Shriver and will feature remarks by Mary J. Blige and by the five 2010 Minerva Award honorees: Oprah Winfrey, The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, Oral Lee Brown, Sister Terry Dodge and Carolyn Blashek. The Grand Finale will end with a special musical performance by Sarah McLachlan.
First Lady Maria Shriver also announced today that The Women's Conference's WE Invest program surpassed $1 million dollars in microloans to women entrepreneurs in the United States. In June 2009, The Women's Conference expanded its WE Invest program nationally in partnership with The Opportunity Fund, ACCION USA and Kiva. Together, they launched the first-ever online peer-to-peer microlending program in the U.S. Since the launch, the partnership has resulted in funding more than 179 entrepreneurs in 17 states who have received nearly 31,000 microloans totaling more than $1 million.
"And to think it all started a little over a year ago when we knocked on Kiva's door and asked them why their successful peer-to-peer online model couldn't be applied to women entrepreneurs here in this country," said First Lady Shriver. "It's vitally important that we invest in entrepreneurs right now. Entrepreneurs and small businesses create the majority of the new jobs in this country. As First Lady, I meet so many people who have dreams of starting their own business but have trouble securing small business loans. I'm a big believer in the power of partnerships, and I knew this program could make a difference in people's lives."
In July, The Main Event sold out in the record-breaking time of 15 minutes. In order to meet the demand and make this forum more accessible to women all over the country, conference organizers have been leveraging technology to extend its reach. The Women's Conference announced today that The Main Event will span both coasts with the debut of Satellite Summit New York City in partnership with The White House Project. More than 400 people will be gathering together at New York University's Eisner & Lubin Auditorium to watch a live simulcast of the conference and engage in a multi-generational conversation spanning both coasts on the topic of women's leadership. For those unable to attend The Main Event in person, The Women's Conference invited organizations around the country that share its mission to freely access the live satellite feed or live Webcast of The Main Event to create their own "Satellite Summits" – self-organized free viewing events that will educate and inspire their own local community members. Conference organizers estimate that hundreds of thousands of women will be attending The Women's Conference 2010 via live Webcast and at Satellite Summits across the country.
The Women's Conference 2010 was kicked off with Maria Shriver's March on Alzheimer's on Sunday, October 24 at the Rainbow Lagoon in Downtown Long Beach and along the waterfront. More than 3,000 marchers raised nearly $300,000 to support the work of the Alzheimer's Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Joining Maria Shriver to help raise funds for and awareness of Alzheimer's disease were march celebrity co-chairs Leeza Gibbons, Soleil Moon Frye, Peter Gallagher, Natalie Maines, Jake Steinfeld, and others. "Glee's" Jane Lynch also made a special appearance on stage with Jane Fonda as they both warmed up the crowd with stretching exercises. Country music singer Brett Eldredge performed his song, "Raymond," which was inspired by his own personal experience with his grandmother's Alzheimer's. Amber Riley from FOX's hit show "Glee" performed live during the candlelight vigil.
The first day of The Women's Conference 2010 culminated with the sold-out A Night at the Theater event on Sunday evening, October 24. Hosted by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, A Night at the Theater featured a star-studded live performance of "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," the intimate collection of stories written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. This special conference production featured acclaimed actresses Rita Wilson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Caroline Aaron, Natasha Lyone and Carol Kane. A portion of the proceeds from A Night at the Theater benefited the California Arts Council's Minerva Arts Project and Million Plates Campaign.
The second day of the conference began with the sold-out A Day of Health, Wellness & Transformation on Monday, October 25. Due to popular demand, the second-annual event was doubled in size to more than 3,200 attendees. Hosted by Maria Shriver and organized around the theme of "It's Time...To Take Action," the event featured more than 25 world-class issue experts leading interactive sessions packed with practical tips, tools and takeaways for how attendees can transform themselves personally and professionally and become Architects of Change in their lives. Session topics included "how-to's" such as Take Action in Your Own Life, Lead Like A Woman, Negotiate Effectively at Work and Home, Leverage the Web to Get Ahead, Tips for a Successful Love Life, and Find Your Frank and Fearless Voice, among others. Speakers for the event included Martha Beck, Deepak Chopra, Giselle Fernandez, Sally Field, Tory Johnson, Donna Karan, Elizabeth Lesser, Tony Robbins, Dr. Marie Savard, Author Gail Sheehy, and Dr. Robert Epstein, among others.
The conference's second day was capped off with the third-annual Night at The Village, which transformed the Long Beach Convention Center's exhibit hall into an over 160,000 square foot women's village for more than 10,000 attendees. Hosted by Maria Shriver and organized around the theme of "It's Time...To Experience the Best," the event featured: stage conversations with prominent speakers, notable personalities and women entrepreneurs such as Paula Deen, Jessica Simpson, Jane Fonda, Donna Karan, Giada De Laurentiis, Ali Wentworth and "The Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro; stage interviews and book signings with more than 20 bestselling authors such as Martha Beck, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Kennedy, Meghan McCain, Kim Barnouin, Cat Cora, "The Biggest Loser's" Bob Harper, The Happiness Project Author Gretchen Rubin, Holly Robinson Peete & Rodney Peete and Katherine Schwarzenegger; a make-over style session hosted by Jeannie Mai; a fashion show session hosted by Lloyd Boston; cooking exhibitions; live entertainment and interactive shopping experiences with women-focused products, services and information from more than 330 exhibitors.
The Women's Conference 2010 is supported by generous sponsors that share its mission of empowering, inspiring and educating women. Many of our sponsors have been with us for all seven years under Shriver's leadership, including Safeway, who returns as a Conference Presenting Sponsor and Target, who returns as The Minerva Awards Presenting Sponsor. Lean Cuisine returns as Night at The Village Presenting Sponsor, and the Shinnyo-en Foundation returns to present A Day of Health, Wellness and Transformation. SKECHERS joined the conference this year as a Presenting Sponsor of Maria Shriver's March on Alzheimer's. New sponsor Kodak will join the Conference this year as a Presenting Sponsor.
Commonly referred to as "the conference with a conscience," the annual event is produced by a non-profit, non-partisan organization – the California Governor & First Lady's Conference on Women – that has formed strategic partnerships with organizations to develop far-reaching WE Programs that seek to directly empower women all year round. Proceeds from all conference events, as well as from its Shop With a Purpose (SWAP) Conference Store, directly support the organization's WE Programs.
Prior to the conference event, the California Governor & First Lady's Conference on Women presented The Modern House Call For Women, a groundbreaking three-day event that provided more than 3,200 free medical, dental, financial and educational services to nearly 2,400 people in the Long Beach area. The Modern House Call For Women took place from Friday, October 22 – Sunday, October 24 at The Walter Pyramid at California State University at Long Beach. The Modern House Call for Women was a partnership with health clinics, medical groups and community-based organizations, including the Harbor Dental Society, CA Department of Health and Human Services, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, Amrit Davaa World Health Corp, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, CareNow, Inc., among many others. All health care and financial services offered at the event – including supplies and equipment – were donated by generous professionals and organizations throughout California. Some of the free services included vision, dental, mammograms, bone density, immunizations, PAP smears and more. For more information, visit: http://themodernhousecall.com.
For more information about The Women's Conference, visit: http://www.womensconference.org.
SOURCE The Women's Conference