Glamour Women of the Year Live Summit 2017

Katarina Kovac, Staff Reporter

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Glamour Magazine’s second annual Women of the Year live summit, held at the Brooklyn Museum on Nov. 13, featured panels, speeches and conversations pertinent to women’s lives in 2017.

The people at Glamour Magazine were kind enough to offer me a ticket to the day full of discussions on female empowerment.

The Summit started with a discussion of persistence and personal perseverance with Chelsea Clinton and Laverne Cox, who shared their thoughts on the need for optimism and the importance it can have for one’s outlook on life and success.

Clinton talked about moving into the White House at the age of 12 and how her parents, Hillary and Bill Clinton, raised her with the expectation of participation. She’d help her parents hold mock debates in preparation for the real ones which taught her “what politics is and what politics should be.”

Twins Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush, President George W. Bush’s daughters, promoted their new book “Sisters First” and took turns recounting their experience growing up as daughters and granddaughters of presidents and strong women.

On the Live Summit agenda sheet, the next guest was labeled, “surprise.”  When former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden walked on stage, the crowd was on their feet, cheering wildly.

Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive led a conversation with both Joe and Jill Biden that centered on changing the culture of sexual assault and abuse.

Joe Biden condemned the slew of men that have recently been accused of sexual harassment and shot down the idea they chose to behave that way because of the era they were raised in.

“Give me a break,” he said.

After the Bidens’ speech concluded, Joe Biden came up to me at the edge of the stage as I was sitting front row, bent over, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “If you’re wondering why I was staring at you the whole time, it’s because you really looked like you were paying attention, so thank you.”

Needless to say, he made my entire week. Or year. Or lifetime.

My favorite panel of the night was Band of Sisters featuring Sheila Nevins, American TV producer and President of HBO, and Jenna Lyons, former president and creative director of J.Crew (my ultimate hero).

I have gotten to know Lyons through a few personal exchanges, and she has to be the most genuine accomplished person who is a true force in the fashion industry.

Lyons and Nevins are a duo that share an unwavering sense of humility and grace that allow any audience to feel like their best friends. They discussed everything from their shared gynecologist to stories from Nevins’ latest book.

When the opportunity to ask questions arose after their discussion, I jumped on it. Right when I was handed the microphone, Nevins (in her true wit) stated, “You can call our gynecologist, he’ll give you either of our numbers.”

I began to ask into the microphone, “You guys are both extremely successful and I was just wondering…” when Lyons cut me off as she stated, “I don’t have a job!”

In April 2017, Lyons left J.Crew after 26 years at the company.  Despite her “I don’t have a job!” statement, the woman is extremely successful as she transformed J.Crew into a cultural phenomenon.

After Lyons’ comment, Nevins jokingly stated, “And I’m old! Honey, sit down and ask your question again.”

After falling to the floor laughing, I was able to finish my question stating, “What advice would you give to your younger self? When you were 20 or 19, what do you wish you could have done differently or that you would have known?”

Nevins replied with, “I wish I had known Jenna. I wish I had the confidence to think I could.”

Me too, Sheila.  Me too.

Later on, Maxine Waters also strolled in to crazy applause while attendees ate lunch.

Tracee Ellis Ross, American actress, model and comedian spoke about how journaling changed her perspective.

“When we put ourselves first by doing things like saying no, speaking up…that kind of stuff is seen as threatening and scary and it’s certainly not what the patriarchy had in mind,” she said.

The Summit included major announcements from brands that centered on inclusivity and the celebration of all kinds of women. Barbie revealed its first doll to wear a hijab, modeled after Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Aerie broke the news that Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman will be joining its team of role models.