Contemporary Expression

Breakfast with Gov. Kunin and lunch with Ms. Steinem
October 21, 2009, 9:25 am
Filed under: branding, candidates, community building, Equality, Living An Artful Life

I attended my first Tennessee Economic Summit for Women conference this year as a volunteer.  There were panels on the economic impact of wage earnings for TN women, communication strategies, healthcare, debt management and others.

Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey,  challenged early on to “Be excited about change. The first woman at anything needs to be sure they are not the last”.  

Gov. Madeline Kunin and Nancy VanReece

Gov. Madeline Kunin and Nancy VanReece

I started the morning with a breakfast chat with  the former Gov. of Vermont, Madeleline Kunin before she gave her opening session speech she selected a random table to sit down at chat with people about what they may what to hear and learn that day.  I was fortunate to be at this table and we were able to talk about  the struggles of non-profit management, the  righteous indignation that comes with still not having equal rights as a gay woman and the joys of living in “the blue heart of a red state”, oh yeah, and being unemployed at 45.  Her encouragement and the way she willingly listened was the lesson I needed most that day and I didn’t even realize it. 

Here are some of my live Tweets from her speech:

  • “learn how to transfer your skills from one thing to another. Have you organized a 5yr old’s birthday party? You can run a political campaign.” 9:27 AM Oct 19th
  • “Lilly Ledbetter is more significant than Joe the Plummer” – Gov. Kunin 9:16 AM Oct 19th
  • Gov. Kunin “there are too few women’s voices in the political discussion. When a woman is talking the climate does change.”9:04 AM Oct 19
Nancy VanReece and Gloria Steinem

Nancy VanReece and Gloria Steinem

Over a very loud service staff at lunch I locked in as much attention as I could give to the keynote speaker, Gloria Steinem. A highschool classmate of mine now runs the Hedgebrook retreat where Ms. Steinem serves on the Advisory Creative Council.  I wanted to make sure I said  hello on her behalf at some pont during the day.  Later, as she was signing books I was able to send those greetings.  When she asked if I too then was from Oklahoma we laughed like it was an unspoken inside joke about how awkward it is to live in places that don’t embrace your full potential.  Something that she undoubtedly has felt as well. 

Here are some of my live Tweets from her speech:

  • “Our job is not to make young women grateful for what has happened before them but to make them recognize change is still necessary.” GS 1:07 PM Oct 19th
  • GS recommends the film “The High Cost of Low Prices” and is discussing WalMart …….1:03 PM Oct 19th
  • “When we democratize our families we are performing an act of revolution. Women are becoming the men they want to marry.” -GS 12:56 PM Oct 19th
  • “The country is escaping it’s own type of family violence & we are in the most danger during that escape. We need the help each other’s awareness.” – GS. 12:52 PM Oct 19th
  • It is time to attribute appropriate value to the work being done in the care-giving sector – GS 10:45 PM Oct 19th
  • Nationally parking lot attendants make more than child care providers..12:41 PM Oct 19th
  • Pink collar ghetto .. Jobs that can’t be outsourced …12:36 PM Oct 19th
  • My table seemed amazed to find out that GS is 75 years old12:35 PM Oct 19th
  • “We need to live the un-lived lives of our mothers.” -GSteinem 12:28 PM Oct 19th

The conference itself was run well but I was disappointed in the lack of diversity in those that were speaking.  Most of the women there were over 50 and had great wisdom and insight and depth of history to share but it wasn’t really called upon.  I saw very little effort to engage Generation X, much less Generation Y, to attend or participate in the conference and I’m not sure that it will succeed in its mission without a real overhaul in the way the event is presented in the 21st century.


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