Thousands of women convened in San Francisco this month for the “Be Invincible” summit, bringing together women leaders from several industries, including finance, health and politics.
The summit aimed to provide a platform for discussions on how women can improve their well-being, network with other organizations and get career advice.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed welcomed the attendees and high-profile speakers on hand for the event, telling them the summit was “about finding our strength. It’s about putting forward our best selves. It’s also about the process of lifting one another up.”
Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and author of “Finding My Voice,” participated in a question-and-answer session with Kate Kendall, an LGBTQ advocate and campaign manager for Take Back the Court, a nonprofit that seeks to change the structure of the U.S. Supreme Court by expanding the number of justices.
Jarrett spoke on a number of topics, including her career as a lawyer in her 20s and early 30s. She had mapped out a 10-year plan for herself that included finding what type of law she was passionate about, getting married and having a child.
She said it was difficult trying to be a perfect lawyer, wife and mother.
“I thought if I was just smarter, if I were better organized, more efficient, if I slept fewer hours, that maybe this wouldn’t be all so hard,” Jarrett said. “What I didn’t realize is that I was number one, making it harder on myself.”
After speaking to a friend about becoming a public servant, Jarrett joined city government in Chicago, and learned more about herself.
“I began listening to the quiet voice inside of me and that’s what enabled me to take that leap of faith to swerve outside of my comfort zone and that 10-year plan. That’s when the adventure began,” she said.
Jarrett added, “So, swerve ladies, swerve.”
During a question and answer session with Breed, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, addressed several topics, including equal pay for women and reproductive rights of women.
Breed asked Pelosi about current debates on women’s reproductive health, following legislation by a number of states to limit a woman’s right to get an abortion.
“People just decide that they think that a woman doesn’t have the good judgment to determine the size and timing of her family, or if she even wants to have one. They have to pay a price at the polls for thinking that,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi left this advice for the audience, “Best advice I’ve ever got for running for office is be yourself. Don’t let anyone else diminish who you are and what you bring to the table.”