Live Blog from Generation W 2015


Here we go!  Starting things out with a little inspiration from Genius Girl video.  “It would be so much easier to choose a path in life, if the path chose me”–can you relate?

Great, inspirational way to start the day by singing loudly that we are all “Superwomen”.


Generation W founder Donna Orender takes the stage to welcome with Helen Reddy’s “I Am a Woman” playing in the background. “I am a strong.  I am invincible.  I am woman”..that song will be playing through our heads the rest of the day!

“When we get together–especially women–magic happens.”

“What is our real desire?   We want to be seen.  By thousands or by just a few, a life of purpose is when we know that we are valued.” Donna encourages us to show value to others.

What is your passion and purpose?

Suzy Whaley:  “My purpose is what drives me. I’m using my passions and the gifts I received for a bigger cause.”  Suzy challenges us to consider our “why”–why are you doing what you are doing?  Always know your “why” and use your passion to create your purpose.

Tina Wilson at Terry Parker High School:  “My largest hurdle was not naysayers or lack of resources, the greatest struggle was on the inside.  The inner struggle that caused doubts, sleepless nights and uncertainty.  Don’t acknowledge those thoughts.  I do not have space on my calendar for fear or doubt.”

“You are necessary and you were created for such a time as this.  Boast about your potential and strength.”

Our first speaker Alyse Nelson, president & CEO of Vital Voices, takes the stage.

“If you don’t wake up every day feeling passionate and curious and challenged you are on the wrong path.”  Our path is not always planned out perfectly.  Alyse shares her story of going to the Fourth World Conference on Women to figure out her place in this world.  What she discovered was bigger than that.  The women at this conference, “came not to understand their place in this world, they came to fight for it.”

Alyse Nelson:  “I was called to make space for other women’s voices to be heard.”  This is what led her to help found Vital Voices.  She shares one of our favorite Hillary Clinton quotes:  Women rights are human rights and human rights are women rights.” Alyse introduces us to some of the most amazing and inspiring women throughout the world.  Showing us all that in order to be a true leader, you must always have passion. “Leadership is not a final destination.”

Alyse has moved the entire audience–I think we are all ready to get out their and use our voices to change the world and better the lives of women everywhere.

One of our favorite videos is being shown: “Slap Her”

“It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.” –Desmond Tutu

CNN’s Kelly Wallace begins to lead a panel discussion on violence against women.  The panel includes Marty Evans, Trisha Meili, Kim Ward and Dr. Richard Lapchick.

Blaming the Victim:  Trisha tells her story about how it feels when people make her feel like it is your fault that you have been raped. Dr. Richard Lapchick also had a life moment where.

Educating People: Kim Ward believes prevention is the key and education is the key to ALL prevention.  Education empowers others to advocate for the victim.  She shared One Love’s latest PSA:   The mission of the PSA is to truly activate bystanders.

Marty Evans:  There are about 360,000 women serving in the armed forces today.  The problem is when you are in the military you not only work with, but live with your fellow soldiers.  Incidents of sexual assault and abuse is complicated because there is a significant power level attached to many of the relationships.  Right now, 6.2% women in the military have said they have been  recipients of unwanted sexual misconduct.  This affects all of us–it results in a clear  compromise of soldier readiness.   Your armed forces do not get a second chance to get it right–they need to be at the top of their game at all times.

What can we do?  Trisha:  “Reach out in whatever way feels right to you–send a letter, say a prayer, offer a good intention, get involved in an organization that can change our culture.”

Interesting discussion regarding the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice situation.  “I don’t know who was guiding the commissioner, but I know who wasn’t–senior women in the NFL.”–Dr. Richard Lapchick.  The hope from the panel, as well the audience, is that this topic won’t disappear with the news cycle.  One Love is working to keep the conversation going.

We’ll be back after our first break!

We’re back with actress Tina Lifford who is inviting us to “play”–it is something that isn’t just being silly, it is strengthening and creating longevity.  So, let’s play!  Tina teaches us a dance that helps us think about our possibilities and walk away from shame and blame! Amazing to see the entire audience up and moving!

Speaker Dr. Kathryn Pearson Peyton, founder of Mammosphere, prepares to take the stage.  Her life story is a perfect example of how our passion and purpose can often change course–sometimes life factors move causes a shift in our journey. Breast cancer has affected three generations of Dr. Peyton’s family which moved her to create Mammosphere.  We have have comparison mammograms, we improve early breast cancer detection by 25% and reduce risk for false-positive exams by 60%.  Her non-profit tech company helps keeps mammograms on iCloud so it can be accessed by anyone at any place.  Her advice for finding your purpose:

  • Close your eyes
  • Think of 3 moments in your life when you felt passionate about something
  • Find the command threads in those moments

The C’s to avoid on your journey:  Control, Compare and Complain

The C’s to seek: Connect & Communicate, Counsel, Conscious Gratitude

Founder of SpeakLife Sasha Simmons is our next speaker.  Her passionate presentation takes us through her story of escaping oppression through education.  “I read so many books the local librarians knew my name.  That was my escape, that was how I created my life in my head.”  We are responsible for taking control of our lives–do not let others define who we are.  “When you want something, you will really focus on that goal and you will come out victorious.”  It is up to each of us to decide what we want our lives to be, to create our lives.  There is a tool in your life that will push you to the next level–her tool was an encyclopedia.

She asks us to lean in close and listen to this quote from James Allen: “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.”

Next up, Stacey Hubbard, Senior Vice President, US Operations for Weight Watchers International, describing herself as the “fat, funny, friend”, she begins the conversation of why our relationship with food is complicated and how that relationship affects all areas of our life. “If you get people together to face a challenge, magic happens.  Connecting with people who really get your challenge and really get you, that can make all the difference.”

Continuing the food conversation, Donna Deegan is moderating a panel discussion on our relationship with food.  The panel includes Stacey Hubbard, Dr. Judy Rodriguez, Dr. Heidi Hanna and Dr. Kelli Wells.  It isn’t wrong to focus on food, but we need to really pay attention to that focus–are we enjoying the eating of the food more than the engaging with others around the table?   “Enjoy the company, not the food,” says Dr. Rodriguez.

How do we begin to deal with the dynamic of food being something we love, but that we also have problems with?  Having access to healthy food and food choices is important.  ” As a physician, it’s more than just telling people recommendations, it’s empowering people to be able to make the right choices.”  We have to deal with some other issues that affect our food choices–where we live, socioeconomic status, etc.

Dr. Hanna:  “It’s not about getting more information.  The reality is we already know what to do–it’s about clearing the space and quieting the noise and realizing what we really need.  We have to trust ourselves, and trust we are getting our needs met.”

Dr. Judy Rodriguez:  “How am I using food–am I using it in a way that it is healthy?  How do I choose certain outcomes that I want to achieve.”

“It’s a lifestyle change”–Stacey Hubbard

Starting the healthy lifestyle conversation earlier–as early as preschool–will help to create generations of people who have better, more balanced relationships with food which in turn will improve longterm health outcomes.

“80% of weight loss is affected by what you eat.”–Stacey Hubbard.

How do we train our brain to think differently?  Great quote from Dr. Hanna:  “The problem isn’t we have stress in our life, it’s that we are not recovering from it.”  Don’t wait for the big vacations–figure out how to enjoy a “vacation” every day.  Start building in what you need–slowly training our brain that taking care of ourself needs to be a first priority.

Be aware of the combination of foods–some combinations trigger an addictive response.

Small steps, remember a time when you were successful and try to do that again.

Don’t deprive yourself of anything you enjoy–just balance it.  Be aware and purposeful.    Beautiful words to end this great session.

LUNCH BREAK–Attendees will be enjoying a healthy lunch and attending one of the amazing breakout sessions we have going on at UNF.

What better way to come back from our lunch break than with the Jacksonville All-Star Girl Drumline!  You rock, ladies!  Who runs the world?  GIRLS!

Deb Walton, Chief Content Officer, Financial & Risk Thomson Reuters, encourages us to build a soundtrack for success.  Her 7 lessons for success:

  1. Build Your Personal Brand
  2. Maximize Mentorship
  3. Color Outside the Lines
  4. Be Courageous and Take Risks
  5. Focus on Performance
  6. Practice Honest Prioritization
  7. Build Your Fanbase

And, now for the songs that should be on everyone’s success soundtrack (we are downloading now!).

  • Don’t Stop Believing, Journey
  • The Climb by Miley Cyrus
  • She Works Hard for the Money
  • It’s My Life, Bon Jovi

Dr. Richard Lapchick once again joins us on the stage.  “I am a feminist.  I think we should all change how we view people that aren’t like us.”  Cheers from the crowd.  There really isn’t a moment during Dr. Lapchick’s presentation where the audience doesn’t feel his deep passion for gender equality.  “Diversity and inclusion does not only make good moral sense, it makes good business sense.”

With all the problems in the world, Dr. Lapchick believes things would be much different if more women were leading our initiatives.  “Women would prioritize them and address them.”

“We need to help young people believe in what they cannot see.”

There is a reason sports represents the very best of what it means to be inclusive.  When you are in the huddle it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, etc.  You can’t win if you don’t pull together.

“I live my life to understand that we are all part of the same human fabric of society.”  Beautiful way to end this session.

We move into the He for She panel moderated by John Burr.  The panel includes Audrey Moran, Steve Halverson, Mark Lamping, Eric Mann and Tracy Toomer.   So much great discussion, we are just going to give you some of the great sound byte quotes:

“It’s not just about men stepping up to the plate.  Women need to help women.  There is enough pieces of the pie for everyone.”

“One thing that drives all of us—business and personal success. It’s not a zero sum game. If women win, men win. We all win.”

“Men better get with it, or we will be left behind.”

“You are short changing your shareholders if there aren’t women on your board.”

“The fish rots at the head—it takes a great leader to influence the rest of the organization.”

“How are we going to communicate with the C-suite if there are only men in the C-suite. We need to start to have the dialogue.  It’s a huge start to have this conversation about He for She.”

“If you are going to promote from within, you need to develop from within. Those that achieve as they come into the organization are advanced. You cannot just focus on the top.”

“Allow our young men to be vulnerable and sensitive.  This is a bigger discussion and will affect all of our organizations.”

“We have to step in and stop being a bystander.  That goes for the NFL board room to the executive board room.”

A brief break for cupcakes and now we are back to talk about 9 in 15.  Pam Paul and Carol Thompson, over wine and bang bang shrimp, created the initiative to inspire more women to get into public service.  “Pam Paul is the passion that fuels our purpose,” Carol Thompson.  While stats are improving for women in politics, there is still a long way to go–not only in Jacksonville, but the nation.  The 9 in 15 initiative started as a way to get more women in political office, but continues to move towards improving representation in all areas of public and corporate life.

Number one reason women don’t run for office?  They are not asked. Women tend to need to be invited to run.

If women run, they are much more likely to win then men.

Their mantra: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”–Margaret Mead

Our final session (what?  This day is coming to an end?!).  We are playing “Generations The Trend Game” with moderator CNN’s Kelly Wallace.  Our “contestants”:  Amanda Mickelson 10th Grade Student; Ita Etkapoudom Founder & CEO, Tigress Ventures; Lesley Seymour Editor-in-Chief, More and; Sarika Griffin Senior, University of North Florida; Sarah Hande Employee Programs Manager, Florida Blue; Helen Lane Philanthropist Extraordinaire

Really interesting to see how different–and how similar–women from different generations feel about topics. Quote of the session:  “I wasn’t sure who “Bay-once” was so I chose Barbara,” Helen Lane, referencing her choice of Barbara Streisand over Beyonce:)

That’s a wrap!  Be sure to follow our hashtag #GenW on Twitter or Instagram for continued inspiration and discussion!

Thank you to all of our speakers, sponsors and guests–we can’t wait to see you next year!