Rachael Ray Inspires Audience at Texas Conference for Women
Austin Hosts Thousands at State’s Largest Gathering for Women
Austin, TX – “Respect the opportunity that you have, and honor that,” celebrity chef, author and business woman Rachael Ray told 5,000 attendees at the 14th annual Texas Conference for Women. Noting that she comes from a family of extremely hard workers who inspired her career, Ray encouraged Conference-goers to pursue their own interests with passion. “Don’t be afraid of hard work,” she said. “And if you have great business skills use them to give back to your community.” In addition to her Food Network program and her lifestyle magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray, Ray is the founder of Yum-O! a nonprofit organization to empower children and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.
Attendees also heard from Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist and women’s rights advocate, who said, “We all have the power in us to change the tide.” Urging women to take action in their lives and in their communities, whether or not they are part of a formal organization, Gbowee said, “It is possible for us to turn our upside down world upright.” Gbowee, author of the 2011 memoir Mighty Be Our Powers and founder of the movement that ended the Liberian civil war, received a standing ovation.
Other speakers included Jenny Lawson, founder of the popular blog, The Bloggess, and author of the New York Times bestseller Let’s Pretend This Never Happened; Sallie Krawcheck, one of the most respected voices on Wall Street; Vernā Myers, diversity expert and author, Tory Johnson, New York Times bestselling author and workplace contributor, “Good Morning America” and Delia Ephron, author, playwright and screenwriter.
Themed “The Power of Possibilities: Define Your Own Success,” the one-day conference at the Austin Convention Center featured keynote addresses and breakout sessions led by more than one hundred experts in the fields of business, philanthropy, health, finance, media and professional development. The nonprofit, nonpartisan event draws women of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in building communication skills, leadership strategies and work-life balance tools.
“For 14 years the Texas Conference for Women has given attendees life-changing opportunities to connect with other women and to create new professional and personal roadmaps for their lives,” said Texas First Lady and Conference host Anita Perry. “The ‘Power of Possibilities’ is endless when thousands of women come together with this much enthusiasm, energy and creativity and I am proud to be part of this important day.”
In addition to the renowned keynotes, attendees heard from and participated in sessions led by more nationally known experts – the best and brightest in their fields whose panels covered career coaching, resume review, personal development, money management, health and wellness, professional reinvention and entrepreneurship, small business, social media marketing, branding and much more. Among them: Author, playwright and screenwriter Delia Ephron; award-winning humor writer and blogger Wendi Aarons; and Jessica Shortall, director of giving, TOMS.
Local leader meet-ups offered attendees the chance to have one-on-one conversations with local businesswomen and community leaders and “Expert Exchange” sessions provided attendees with the opportunity to gather with peers in a smaller setting to learn from experts. Social media roundtables offered an informal and intimate setting to share best practices, while onsite exhibits featured hundreds of organizations and companies with products or services that appeal to women.
Sponsors of the event include: Cisco, AAA Texas, AARP, AT&T, Austin American- Statesman, AW Media, Black Elk Energy, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Charles Schwab, Cheniere Energy, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Clear Channel Outdoor, Dell, Freescale Semiconductor, GTECH, Hail Merry Snack Foods, HEB, KXAN, Pfizer, Phillips 66, San Jose Water, Seton Healthcare Family, Shell, State Farm Insurance, Texas Beverage Association, Texas Tribune, Tribeza, United Airlines, UnitedHealthCare and Walgreens.
“It is an honor for us to support and encourage the many women who have gathered to be inspired, educated and motivated – and to make a difference in their communities and their workplaces,” said Lynn D. Tinney, Director, Strategy & Planning, Cisco Services. “Helping Women succeed and assume leadership positions is a core value of our company. We congratulate the Conference on its success.”
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