Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at Jazz@Lincoln Center, I had the amazing opportunity to attend this years’ #EmbraceAmbition summit. The Embrace Ambition initiative addresses the double standard that exists around ambition, which is often seen as a compliment for men and a critique of women. It is a one-day event that’s focused on overcoming the negative attitudes about ambition in women and addressing other harmful stereotypes that impact gender, race, and sexuality. Visionary leaders in Hollywood, business, science, entrepreneurship, and youth movements take the stage along with performances meant to inspire and empower. You must apply for a chance to attend the summit with an online application and essay about your own experience with embracing ambition.
This year’s theme is “Confronting stereotypes and creating new norms” We came together to receive a warm welcome from Tory Burch followed by Comedian/Filmmaker Negin Farsad. She talked about the era of 2020-2021, Covid and how we were all able to maintain some sanity. Her humor and candor was refreshing.
In one of the morning sessions, ABC News Senior National Affairs Correspondent, Deborah Roberts, interviewed Melissa Hanna, Founder and CEO of Mahmee, Sheila Marcelo, CEO and co-founder of Proof of Learn & Jasmine Jones Co-Founder and Ceo of Myya. The title of the session “Women Entrepreneurs Respond”
Another session involved reclaiming our icons in history. Dolores Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation was interviewed by Rosie Perez, Actor and Activist. Conversation centered around Unconscious Bias and Conscious Leadership, which was introduced by the President of the Tory Burch Foundation, Laurie Fabiano. Rosie Perez and Dolores Huerta talked about activism and the need for women to have a voice. It ended with all women standing together and repeating the mantra “WE have power” “FEMINIST power” and “Si Se Puede/Yes We Can!”. Ms. Huerta joked that when she met President Obama she told him that he stole her phrase and he admitted that he did! We gave ourselves a round of applause and enjoyed a performance from Author and Poet Ian Manuel. Mr. Manuel was sentenced to 26 years in prison and spent almost half in solitary confinement. He was interviewed by Jacqueline Woodson, Macarthur Fellow, Author and Founder, Baldwin For The Arts. He recited his poem My Time Will Come; it was emotional and heartfelt.
During the 3rd session, there was a panel about The Stigma of Mental Illness. Samantha Boardman, M.D. ,Positive psychologist and Professor, Weil Cornell Medical College and Michael A. Lindsay, PH.D., MSW, MPH, Executive Director, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research New York University were interviewed by Perri Peltz, Journalist and Filmmaker. It was great to have the conversation about depression, mental disorders and ways we can be allies/assist others or learn how to advocate for self.
Another highlight session was with Eva Chen, Vice President, Fashion Partnership at Instagram and Min Jin Lee, Novelist about Bias against Asian Americans. Both women discussed their personal experiences with the start of coronavirus and how the negative connotations with Asian Americans affected them and their families. Ms. Chen and Ms. Lee were able to share their viewpoints with some humor and reflect on how we can look forward to a future with diversity and respect.
I asked the young lady sitting next to me if she would join me for lunch and she accepted. We introduced ourselves and exchanged contact info. Rozella White is focused on “restoring hearts to wholeness so that all can thrive”, she is the #LoveBigCoach, a social impact entrepreneur and inspirational speaker/writer. She is also a public theologian, spiritual life and leadership coach. You can read more about Rozella @ http://www.rozellawhite.com I had a great time connecting with her!
Icon Billie Jean King and Tory Burch sat for a conversation about sports and equality. I have added the video below for you to enjoy.
After closing remarks, there was a musical performance by Flor de Toloache and a session solely for cocktails and shopping Tory Burch Foundation merch. Attendees have time to take photos, and network with other attendees. It was mandatory to be masked up at this event but I can say it didn’t stop the entertainment and discussions centered on empowerment/awareness. I encourage anyone that may be interested in attending, apply early!& be prepared for a full day of awesomeness! http://www.toryburchfoundation.org