The Power of Us: Amplify Your Voice

This week I was honored to be a speaker and a teacher at the 17th Annual Texas Conference for Women in Austin, Texas. The theme was “The Power of Us: Amplify Your Voice.” There were 7,250 attendees and dozens of speakers — of every age and background — who came together to lift one another up so we can change the world.

Amal Clooney, one of the keynote speakers, is one of the most impressive women I’ve heard speak — I forgot she was a fashion plate, married to George — but it was Linda Cliatt-Wayman who had me in tears and on my feet, cheering.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman went beyond what most educators would even think of doing. When she couldn’t find a principal for one of the most dangerous high schools in the country, Strawberry Mansion in North Philadelphia, Wayman stepped up and assumed the role. Even when a student told her they had a “bullet with her name on it,” she pushed forward and made monumental changes that got Strawberry Mansion removed from the federal list of Persistently Dangerous Schools. Wayman is a TED speaker, plus Diane Sawyer and her ABC News team spent an entire school year documenting Wayman’s efforts. Wayman is truly an inspiring woman.

“Demonstrate love,” Linda Cliatt-Wayman said. “Be an influencer in some one else’s life. Speak up. Stand up. Rise up as examples for our children and the world.”

Here are more words of wisdom from the other extraordinary women at this year’s Texas Conference for Women:

  • Am I doing enough to promote the well-being of women?
  • Choose to celebrate, protect and standup for one another.
  • Instead of teaching women how not to be assaulted, teach boys to respect women.
  • We haven’t allowed ourselves to have the hard conversations with people we don’t agree with.
  • Invite different in.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • You have two ears and one mouth and use them in that order.
  • Take risks; follow your own path; embrace collaboration.
  • The best leaders don’t have their guard up. They don’t have a guard. They bring their whole selves.
  • Even when you’re afraid, be your own cheerleader.
  • Be open to constructive feedback.
  • Be committed to the woman you’re becoming.
  • Be intentional with what you spend your time on.
  • Success lies outside of your comfort zone.
  • Turn up the knob and dance in your own light.
  • How do you stay relevant? Use your voice to connect those who don’t have a voice.

Add Texas Conference for Women to your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram list, and make plans to attend next year’s 2017 event. It could change your life.