Last Friday, March 18, 2016, was the San Diego Women’s Week Inspiration Conference held at Harrah’s Casino in Valley Center, California. I coughed up the $170 to go because I really wanted to see one of the scheduled speakers, Padma Lakshmi. Don’t know who Padma is? Not only is she a model and TV personality, but she’s the co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America. And a little bit of my Hero.
She has recently written a new book Love, Loss & What We Ate: A Memoir, and was on her book tour around the west coast at the time of the conference. So, I knew I’d pick up a copy of her book on Friday. I expected she was going to talk a lot about her book, and maybe touch up a little bit about Endometriosis and how it has affected her life and career.
Boy, was I surprised! She spoke for 20 minutes to the crowd of over 500 women (and a handful of men). And the entire 20 minutes she spoke about Endometriosis! Not only of her journey, but how it affects so many of us, the signs and symptoms, and the need for greater advocacy and research! She encouraged us to self-advocate, to push hard in their lives and to push for the proper medical care. It was amazing! Blew my mind! And she is such an incredible speaker!! She then followed her presentation with a short Q&A session about her book.
I couldn’t contain myself and yelled out, “Thank you, Padma!!!” prior to the standing ovation and applause. And she thanked me back! Now I meant it. Not only thank you for attending, but thank you for sharing your story, for advocating for women with Endometriosis, for educating others that don’t have it (or suspect they have it), for constantly pushing for new research, for hosting medical conferences, and for all that you are doing! Thank you for using your outreach and influence.
Padma’s presentation also started a conversation at my table. The woman to my left, Sue, has family members that suffer from Endometriosis. And the woman to my right, Lucille, had heard about it and asked all kinds of questions about the illness.
We are not crazy. It’s not all in our heads. This is an incurable disease. And with the help of people like Padma Lakshmi and organizations such as The Endometriosis Foundation of America, we have hope.
With that being said, there were so many speakers on Friday! And I scribbled down a few of my favorite quotes from the various speakers and want to share them with you:
“Reignite your passion and purpose in what you do.” ~Elizabeth McCormick, former Black Hawk Helicopter Pilot and Chief Warrant Officer 2 for the US Army.
“Find the thing that you want to be good at, even if someone wasn’t paying you.” Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef and co-founder of The Endometriosis Foundation of America.
“There is no white horse, you have to rescue yourself.” ~Jennifer Farnham, Vice President and Operations Manager of Gilbane Building Company’s Southern California Business Unit.
“Character is developed, not inherited.” ~Frank Shankwitz, co-founder of Make A Wish Foundation.
“Measure your worth in this world not how others treat you, but how you can carry yourself and how you treat others.” ~Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“This is not the end of the story. Look at what you dream for…about…and prepare yourself for that world. Live that life.” ~Naomi Tutu
“It’s not just okay to dream. It’s imperative to dream.” ~Naomi Tutu
“The difference between imperfect and I’m Perfect is an apostrophe. Change your perspective.” ~Kim Cole, actress & comedian
“Go on that quest for your own Secret Sauce. Embrace your individuality.” ~Kim Coles
I’d like to thank the North San Diego Business Chamber for hosting the event and Xavier Bailey Photography for giving us permission to use his beautiful images that he took at the conference for today’s blog.