This blog first appeared on Edelman.com
"I'm not a dreamer, I'm a 'hopeaholic.'"
And with those words, the inimitable Gloria Steinem set the tone not just for the inaugural 2014 Makers Conference, but also for a moment in time filled with great progress... and promise. Never before have we witnessed gender equality as a topic in both CEO remarks and the President's State of the Union address.
The MAKERS* conference stated goal was simple: "To bring together leaders and innovators from corporations, not-for-profits, and government organizations committed to women's issues, shining a spotlight on the individuals who are working to improve the trajectory for the next generation."
In that spirit, here are 10 quotes from the event that inspired me and I hope will help you develop a pretty severe case of hopeaholism too:
1. "We need to ban the word bossy and bring back the word feminism," said Sheryl Sandberg in discussing the image of women in society by sharing the provocative Pantene ad campaign, which raised issues around the societal norms of calling women leaders "bossy." In other words, don't be afraid of the "F" word.
2. "This country spends more on beer than STEM education," said Gwynne Howell, president and CEO of SpaceX. STEM -- the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- are not common paths for young girls. Howell encouraged the audience to encourage girls -- and women -- to be curious and pursue their dreams, even if they may look a little different.
3. "Don't underestimate your daughters. They have amazing abilities on the playing field and in life," said Brent Gordon, father of 10-year-old Sam Gordon who plays team football with the boys. Gordon worked with his daughter to overcome gender stereotypes and earn a place on the football field. Watch her popular YouTube video here and, remember, never be afraid to play like a girl.
4. "Why do we need a business case to do the right thing?" asked Michael Poku, one of 200 "Manbassadors" at Harvard Business School who promote gender equality.
5. "If we elect women into congress at the same rate we've been, we'll achieve parity in 500 years," said Geena Davis as she addressed the portrayal of women in media. Davis spoke of women capturing just 17 percent of leading roles, adding "Hollywood runs on the idea that women will watch men but men won't watch women."
6. "If you're not advancing women you won't be a talent magnet for millennials," offered PwC CEO Bob Moritz on workplace diversity and the business importance of female talent.
7. "Power is never given; it's always taken. That's what I learned from Game of Thrones," said Christy Haubegger, film producer and founder of Latina magazine, who touched upon women and minorities in media. While women still only make up less than a quarter of the industry, social media has allowed women and minorities to create their own networks and voices.
8. "Work-life balance is false; integration is in," offered Coca-Cola CMO Wendy Clark who believes that companies can -- and should -- promote equality and effectiveness by helping employees integrate work and life, instead of trying to separate them as many of us have long done.
9. "As women, we have a special responsibility to look out for and help other women," said TV's only late night female host, Chelsea Handler, who lives her words by giving women a strong presence on her show and writing staff.
10. "I'm still fighting to make the world better. Strong women get things done," said the remarkable Gabby Giffords in her closing remarks beside husband Mark Kelly. While the audience visibly shook in witnessing her sheer resolve and resilience, Giffords reminds us all that if she can continue her fight, so certainly should the rest of us.
And there you have it, inspiring perspectives that you can refer to when needed, at work and in life. If you need even more inspiration, the team at MAKERS has also compiled their list of the most memorable quotes from the conference.
What will you do to instill hope in others? Here's to raising a glass and making hopeaholics out of us all.
*MAKERS is produced by AOL, an Edelman client
Follow Gail Becker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gailfbecker