Women's Conference kicks off in Long Beach

LONG BEACH The Women's Conference 2008 is binging together 60 internationally acclaimed speakers to address 14,000 women at the Long Beach Convention Center. Some speakers include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Warren Buffett, Bono and Gloria Steinem.

The Women's Conference Agenda

The conference has been called the largest and most dynamic gathering of women in the nation. The theme for this year is 'Be Who You Are.'

The conference is made up of a series of seminars focusing on perseverance, empowerment for women, health, spirituality, balancing work and life, the economy, and politics.

First lady Maria Shriver hopes the conference will help expand horizons for some women.

"We learn from one another, that's one of the themes of the conference: feel it, live it, pass it on," said Shriver. "So this is not just about enjoying your life. It's about understanding that you've been given this extraordinary gift, your own life. You're the artist of it, it is a creation, and the point of being here is to pass on those journeys."

Among the seminars held during the conference are:

  • MSNBC's Chris Matthews moderating a conversation on leadership and the economy with Buffet and Schwarzenegger
  • CNN's Campbell Brown moderating a talk on leadership, legacy and life with Rice and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi
  • "Inside Edition" anchor Deborah Norville moderating a conversation on men who use their voices to change the world, featuring Michael J. Fox and hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons
  • CNN's Christiane Amanpour moderating a discussion on changing the world, featuring former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, human rights advocate Cherie Blair, The Experience Corp. CEO Cecilia Maria Attias and Executive Director of Secretariat of Liberia Cerue Konah Garlo
  • NPR's Farai Chideya moderating a talk on being a "woman warrior," featuring Gloria Steinem and Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman

Tickets for the conference sold out in three hours.

On Tuesday night, the conference hosted 'A Night at the Village' to give women without tickets an opportunity to hear from Shriver and get a feel for the event. Women who showed up for the preview say it's an opportunity for them to learn more about making positive changes in their own lives.

"It's my first time coming out, my friend brought me, and I am truly happy she had me come out," said Pam Nailes, a conference participant.

"All the speakers are very inspirational and really motivating, so it's really kind of nice," said Debbie Studarbent.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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