Tuesday November 15th--The Austin Convention Center became the core of attention on a brisk sunny morning. The unexpected happened, women traveling from near and far around the nation arrived by cabs, cars...etc.; friends, co-workers, family, and first time acquaintances were no longer strangers. One single event brought together the extraordinary power of women; to celebrate and advance the contributions of women toward each other and within their communities...the 17th Annual Texas Conference for Women. Attending this event was an investment in their future as every woman echoed in speech and in action: I am powerful and I am relevant.
Headlining the event were influential women such as Amal Clooney, Abby Wambach, Annie Clark, NinaTassler, and many others. Among them, a name widely known in the fashion industry, Diane von Furstenberg (an iconic face in fashion for over 40 years); one of the most influential, admired, and innovative women of our time: fashion designer, philanthropist, wife, mother, and grandmother.
Diane von Furstenberg is a director of The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, which provides support to non-profit organizations in the area of community building, education, human rights, arts, health, and the environment. The foundation supports the "DVF Awards", presented annually to four women who display leadership, strength, and courage in their commitment to women's causes; women who have had the courage to fight, the power to survive, and the leadership to inspire.
Diane's heartfelt words to the auditorium of inspired women followed the empowerment theme of her memoirs "The Woman I Wanted to Be" as she said "my intention is to use my voice for those who have no voice." Furstenberg spoke about her early life hardship and experiences. Applause soared when Diane gave dramatic emphasis to her own philosophy "I have never met a woman who isn't strong...use your own strength". Furstenberg concluded her speech with words that created solidarity and sisterhood in the sea of admiring faces: The most important relationship you have is the one you have with yourself.
The feeling and impact of the 17th Annual Texas Conference for Women can be best summarized with a phrase said to me by a stranger sitting across the Furstenberg luncheon table: "Hello my sister..."