L-R: Tanya Lopez, Page Adler, Anita, Carolyn Blashek

Saturday, February 6, 2012 was a beautiful day in Orange County, CA, and The Brentwood School held its first Young Women’s Conference called It’s Our Turn. This was organized and lead by young women at the high school, inspired by Maria Shriver’s annual Women’s Conference. Maria served as Honorary Chair. I had the pleasure of serving on a panel called Giving Back, and in the end the experience was flat out cool.

I flew down to LA for the day from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area, excited to meet —for the first time—the other three women on my panel, who are also Executive Directors/Founders of non-profits: Page Adler of The Painted Turtle; Tanya Lopez of One Voice; Carolyn Blashek of Operation Gratitude; and I was representing our family foundation, The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation. A few days before the conference, the four of us instantly connected on our one and only conference call to brainstorm, so when we met in the green room the morning of, it was like a reunion.

The conference had a long list of powerful, motivating women from many walks of life, including special guest Mary J. Blige  and author Lorene Cary.

When we met in the green room, magnetic, personable Maria asked how my panel went. Told her about the short video, It’s YOUR Turn, that I produced for our panel (see end of post). She offered to post it on her website (soon I hope).

Throughout the day there was a buzz about the surprise guest for the closing session. (I changed to a later flight as soon I heard) and was glad I did ~ because the gym exploded when the surprise guest walked on stage to be interviewed by Maria. After hearing this young lady chat for quite a while about her life; speaking out against bullying—because she was a victim herself in high school—and humbly sharing how grateful she is to be able to sing for a living, I have new found respect for Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka, Lady Gaga!

As I said: flat out cool…

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