- Jillian Michaels, Fitness Guru: "Well-behaved women rarely make history. Today, I give you one challenge. Find a rule, and break it. Write your own success story. Find your own inspiration. Make your own history."
- Paula Deen, Chef and Author: "You have to have those valleys to know when you're standing on that peak."
- Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama: "You have to be your own best advocate. You have to stick up for yourself. If your boss says, I don't want you to do it that way, and you don't agree, you can find a new boss. If you think you deserve a promotion, don't sit around and wait for someone to give it to you. Go in to your boss and say this is why I deserve it."
- Katie Couric, Journalist: "The lesson I took from (my life experiences) is that when I look at an underrated coworker or an enthusiastic intern -- it takes one person, just one person to see something special in someone else. My mom used to say everyone needs a cheerleader. In my case that was Tim (Russert). And that changed everything."
- Maria Shriver, California First Lady, on hosting a panel on Grief and Healing: "I knew I needed the panel. Not just as a moderator, but as a participant as well. I knew these women would have something to teach us. For every Kelly, Susan and Elizabeth, there is another mother struggling with her grief alone. It is our hope that this conversation will give anyone out there with a broken heart, or a broken soul, will realize that they're not alone."
And, from one of only two Asian American speakers of the conference:
- Somaly Mam, Activist: "My message is don't be scared to help people. They need you. I need you. [But] I need the real actions. Not just the talking. Now I am not alone anymore. I have all of you."
Strong voices, amazing women... and it could be better. As Somaly understood, with 24,000 women all envisioning the ways they can use their voice to create change, it's hard to feel alone. However, as one of only two Asian Americans on stage amidst a majority of white leaders, you almost could.
As Hyphen's next print issue on "Trailblazers" will show, there's definitely no lack of Asian Americans making waves. Next step for this event, which is billed as "The Nation's Premier Forum for Women"? An opportunity to share the stage equally for all women.