Speaker Articles

Williams Says Women Need to Push Against Boundaries Till They Budge

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Looking out at a crowd of more than 12,000 women who attended the Pennsylvania Conference for Women last week, Serena Williams said, “I’ve traveled the world, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

In a conversation with Ellen McGirt, senior editor of FortuneWilliams spoke about women supporting women, pushing boundaries, sexual harassment, and more. Widely recognized as the best tennis player in history, Williams is an increasingly outspoken advocate on women’s issues.

Here are some highlights: Read More

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Comedian Maysoon Zayid Makes Disability Mainstream

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The first thing Maysoon Zayid said when she took to the stage at the 2018 Pennsylvania Conference for Women was: “I’m not drunk.” But, she quickly added, “the doctor who delivered me was.”

She went onto explain that she has cerebral palsy, which causes her to involuntarily shake all the time. But Zayid doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her. “I’ve got 99 problems, and palsy is just one,” she quips. Among her other problems, she explains: She is from New Jersey.

Zayid, who is developing a comedy series inspired by her life for ABC, is making disability mainstream. Currently, she told the audience of 12,000: People with disabilities are 20 percent of the population but only 2 percent of the images we see from Hollywood.

Speaking of the challenges of learning how to walk as a child, Zayid spoke about how her father helped her.

“My father had a mantra: ‘You can do it, yes you can can,’” she said. He had two methods to inspire her, she explained. “He placed my feet on his feet and walked; I walked miles on that man’s shoes. The second was to dangle a dollar bill and have me chase it. My inner stripper was so strong.”

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Amal Clooney Speaks about Today’s Defining Moment in Women’s Rights

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Amal Clooney, who has been called the “consummate feminist superhero,” usually
speaks about human rights issues that women face in other countries.

But at the 2018 Pennsylvania Conference for Women, the international human
rights lawyer spoke at length about issues women are facing in America.

“In the United States, a woman is assaulted every nine seconds,” Clooney
said. “For too long, predators have felt safe, and women have felt unsafe.”

But, “we are living through a moment of reckoning and a rebalancing of power,”
Clooney added. “Survivors deserve justice…. Women deserve to be believed and
deserve to be respected.” Read More

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Amanda Southworth Calls Out Bystanders

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Sixteen-year-old app developer and activist Amanda Southworth took the stage at the 2018 Pennsylvania Conference for Women and captivated the room with a deeply personal story forged in the pain of her childhood anxiety and depression. With the backdrop of a national mental health crisis that affects 1 in 5 kids between the ages of 3 and 17, Southworth delivered this message: Suffering can be invisible, but it is not inevitable, and we can all do something about it.

“Action is not important,” she began, “it’s mandatory. The world will continue to hurt us until we join the effort to fix it—things won’t get better unless we make them. We have a responsibility not only as women but as people on this earth to do our best to improve things. If we have the ability to be fighting then we need to be—for the people that don’t have that ability.”

Recalling her years of victimization at the hands of bullies, Southworth recalls, “What hurt the worst was the people who saw what was happening and did nothing.” From the main stage of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, she issued a challenge. Read More

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Work Where You Win

By Ande Frazier, Head of Vision and Brand, myWorth

The traditional 9-to-5 just doesn’t work for a lot of people anymore, myself included. As a mother of two, the head of vision and brand at a startup, a speaker, writer and author, it’s nearly impossible for me to be sitting in an office all day. With traveling for work and getting my kids to wherever they need to go, I have to be able to work whenever, wherever. And I know I’m not the only one. Where we work, how we work and when we work is evolving, so we need to figure out how to make it work for us. Read More

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