7 Aug 2012
I cannot tell you how excited I was to meet and talk to so many wonderful women bloggers at the Moms Clean Air Force booth last week at the BlogHer ’12 Conference. And when I finally dragged my exhausted body home after three hot days in NYC, and greeted Ted at the train station, he said, “I won’t ask you about BlogHer until you’ve had a shower, a salad, and a glass of wine, but what was the highlight of the conference?”
BlogHer is a BIG conference…4,500+ women bloggers…and there were some mighty BIG shoes to fill in the form of keynote speaker star power. But hands down, the highlight was all the SMALL conversations I had with new and old friends.
Martha Stewart was Martha. She was asked about the changes she’s encountered in her 40-year career as Martha, and her answer was not surprisingly, all the technological advances. What she found had not changed was the sad fact that only 4% of all the CEO’s in this country were women. When asked what advice she had for the bloggers, Martha said, “I make sure that I learn something new every day.” Good advice from a woman in 6” orange platform heels.
Katie Couric is launching a new show. Katie’s stilettos were also impossibly high (thanks to Christian Louboutin), and so were her spirits. She exudes warmth. After she plugged her show, the real Katie shone when she discussed her teenage daughters, her husband’s death from colon cancer, and how she honestly felt bad when she interviewed Sarah Palin because Sarah was so uncomfortable answering Katie’s questions. Regardless, Katie pushed on because, as she said, “This women would be a heartbeat away from a man over 70 years old who had multiple melanomas, and the American people needed to know what they would be getting.” Keep going, Katie.
Soledad O’Brien seemed to have laced up work boots disguised as sky-high pumps as she moderated a panel called, “Women Influencers as Change Agents” with Christy Turlington Burns and Malaak Compton-Rock. I was looking forward to this panel because I figured it would align nicely with my MCAF work. Christy and Malaak have each launched global campaigns to fight for women and children’s health. They also both have husbands I love to watch on the screen, Ed Burns and Chris Rock. Christy was smart, stunning and in top form in her perfect strappy sandals. After uttering a few words, Malaak developed a lethal case of stage fright. Soledad exhibited what a terrific journalist she truly is, as she coaxed Maleek out of her frozen, deer-in-the-headlights state with amazing grace. I’m not sure another journalist would have been able to fill Soledad’s impressive journalistic shoes.
I could not walk a mile in any of these women’s shoes…and as blogger, Judith Ross commented after two days of standing on our feet, “Our official shoes of BlogHer must be Toms.” And they were (right, my Toms).
Two SMALL conversations spurned BIG revelations for me. The first one came as I was racing around getting ready to leave for BlogHer. When I checked my laptop for the last time (only carried an iPad with me), I noticed the Second Lives Club blog published a humbling profile/interview of me. After reading the piece, it finally sunk in that I really have created a new career. You can check out the profile HERE.
The second revelation arose during a discussion about MCAF’s one-year anniversary (yay, yay, yay) with MCAF’s co-founder, Cynthia Hampton. We were talking about my position as MCAF’s editor and I said, “I wake up every morning so excited to get to work…and I work way into the evening hours…and now that we reached 100,000 members, it’s so gratifying to be making a difference in the lives of women and children.” She said, “Ronnie, you have stepped into the shoes of an activist.”