This past weekend, Katie Couric, Nadja Swarovski, Tyra Banks, Tracy Anderson, Chelsea Handler, Norma Kamali, and more of today's most powerful female entreprenuers, CEOs, celebrities, and thought leaders gathered in New York City for the fourth annual WIE symposium. The two-day event filled with conversation, debates, and networking addressed the topic of "the female advantage," which the WIE Network described as "playing to your strengths and staying authentic."
The WIE Symposium is all about women helping other women. Whether you want to be the CEO of the next Facebook or you're on a crusade for social justice, the event aims to connect today's female movers and shakers with the next generation of creators, and help them bridge that elusive gap between ambition and ideas, and turn them into something concrete. With that in mind, here are some of the smartest things overheard at the symposium this weekend.
1. Gabrielle Reece on setting and hitting goals: "I try to create an environment that creates success; the right foods in the house, people around me who are on the same page. It isn’t about feeling like you can’t do it. It’s about creating a winning environment."
2. Tyra Banks on getting ahead: "I'm obsessed with social media, so much so that I've got the carpal tunnel thing going on. But it feels very empowering as a woman and as a businesswoman to have the things I want coming out of my mouth and not someone else's."
3. Gabrielle Bernstein on authenticity: "If I could, I would tell my 20-something self that all the world really wants from you is your authentic truth. You can stop trying to be anything but you. Remember, what is most cool about you is you."
4. Stephanie Ruhle on work-life balance: "It all comes back to my mantra, 'Work hard on yourself, don't be hard on yourself.' I want to be the best wife and mother—while excelling at my job and remembering to brush my teeth. It's a circus—but an incredible one and I'm lucky to be in it. I never ask myself, 'Can women have it all?' I've got no time for philosophical pontificating. I've got a life to live, so I don't beat myself up over silly missteps. I try to live in the moment and enjoy the fire-eating, tightrope-walking, and lion-taming. I've always been a fan of the circus."
5. Norma Kamali on sexism in the workplace: "I remember my first fashion job when I was 18 or so: I went into this man's office with my portfolio, and he says to me, 'Miss, put down your portfolio and turn around for me.' And I feel horrible, because I did it—I turned around. We have got to talk about this so we can get past it and so that every little girl today can go into a world where that's not okay."
6. Tracy Anderson on raising a daughter in the spotlight: "I'm certainly not a movie star or a huge celebrity, but my daughter already gets her photos taken by the paparazzi, and they already know her name, and I've wondered, how will I deal with that? The main thing I want to teach her is to develop herself as a person, no matter what she achieves or doesn't achieves. All I care about is that she is not a mean girl. I do not want to raise a mean girl; there's nothing uglier than a mean woman who's not out for other women."