Jackson County Women’s Conference

20 04 2011

Today was the Jackson County Women’s Conference in my hometown of Seymour, IN.  I was invited to be a speaker during the event.  There were several hundred women packed tightly into the Pines Evergreen Room along with dozens of local businesses set up at their booths with promotional material.  I was able to sit in on two additional presentations: A professional organizer talking about how to organize your home and your life, and a panel of health professionals who spoke about physical exams, foot care and spa days.  It was such an informational day and I took some really great notes to apply in my everyday life.  It was wonderful to be able to take part in the event and share some stories and hopefully, inspiration with the women.

When it was my turn to take the podium, I had to spend a few minutes talking about some of the highlights from my year of service as Miss America 2009.  I spoke about the miles I traveled, some of the people I met and the things I got to do.  I even spoke about some of my favorite moments from the actual pageant like, almost tackling Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund as she came to crown me, the image of her lips in lipstick on my cheek still imprinted as I took my first official walk and my grandmother seen on TV from the balcony audience jumping up and down with her fists in the air (She just happened to be at the conference, and got so embarrassed)! 

After sharing a few laughs with the women, it was time to turn the conversation to something a bit more serious: Women making a difference in today’s society.  I was able to speak about the important role Miss America plays and how each of us can strive to leave a positive impact on others. 

It just so happened that Good Housekeeping magazine had just done a special article of the most influential 125 women throughout the past 125 years.  The article reads,

“Some made music, some made noise, all made a difference. We celebrate 125 women who, during the past 125 years, broke records, broke ground, blazed trails, and suffered trials, shattering ceilings of glass and even tougher stuff. While some are obvious choices and some obscure, all acted to increase our liberty, safety, and prosperity. One of them makes the best lemon meringue pie ever. We honor these matron saints whose work continues to bring pleasure, save lives, and widen the scope of little girls’ dreams.”

While there was no Miss America mentioned, every woman listed absolutely deserved the honor.  Some of the women include:

Michelle Obama, Oprah, Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Rosa Parks, Martha Stewart, Margaret Thatcher, Marie Curie, Murphy Brown, Nancy Drew, Barbara Millicent Roberts (Barbie), Rosie the Riveter, Lucille Ball, Anne Frank, the list goes on and on!  (You can read the entire list here: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/real/women-who-changed-our-world)

Reading the list reminds me of just how many women there are that have made such a tremendous impact on our world.  It also reminds me that the only things that may separate us from them is fame and/or fortune.  We all have the ability to make a difference in some way.  It’s utilizing every opportunity, stepping outside of our comfort zones and taking risks that allows us change our world. 

Jackson County Women’s Conference…creating better leaders, providing them the resources they need and motivating them to go out and share their gifts.

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