Tea Leaves and Tweets: My Favorite Quotes from the 2014 Conferences for Women

19 Dec 2014 - No Comments

Keynote Diana Nyad at the 2014 Texas Conference for Women. Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images

I’ve just wrapped up work on the 2014 season of the Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts Conferences for Women, with 8,500, 6,000, and 10,000 attendees respectively. Part of leading social media for these conferences means that I live tweet highlights throughout the day from @PennWomen, @TexasWomen and @MassWomen.

The conference days are so incredibly busy that I enjoy going back and reading the speaker quotes I captured to see the themes that emerge: a personal Rorschach test in 140-character blots. Reading tea leaves in the tweets.

The common themes I find in my favorite quotes from this year’s keynotes: take risks, help each other, embrace your fears and pursue your dreams.

The keynote quotes that most resonated with me this year:

Pennsylvania Conference for Women

“If you have made a difference to even one person, you have a purpose.”
—Linda Cliatt Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion High School, Philadelphia

”If you wait for fear to subside, you’re going to be on the sidelines for a very long time.”
—Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America”

“No one said you can’t go outside the lines.”
—Candy Chang, creator of the “Before I Die” project

“Women are damn resilient, and we owe teaching the powers of resilience to women younger than we are.”
—Jill Abramson, journalist and first female executive editor of The New York Times

“I define success as the courage to say yes and to try something hard.”
—Jane Pauley, former TODAY co-host and news anchor

Texas Conference for Women

 “Our life is full of randomness. Giving back allows life to have a sense of purpose.”
—Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

”We all have the power of achieving our dreams, no matter our age or our gender.”
—Diana Nyad, World champion swimmer, record breaker, story teller

“Step out of the space you’re in. Use fear to grow. We can change lives, starting with our own.”
—Soledad O’Brien, journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer


Massachusetts Conference for Women

”Gratitude is not something you just have, it’s something you have to practice”
—John Jacobs, co-founder and chief optimist, Life is good company

”Courage is doing the thing you fear, because what you have to gain is worth the risk.”
—Lupita Nyong’o, Academy Award-winning actress

”Too many women try to do it all on their own. We really are stronger together.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State


Do yourself a favor and watch a few of the keynote videos. Click on the name of the conference, above, to see the videos from that state, as well as the Storify graphic recaps of each (lovingly curated by yours truly). Let me know which themes emerge from the tea leaves for you, 140 characters or not.