By Stacey Gualandi/June 7, 2011
We’re all familiar with the 3 R’s of education right? Well over 700 women recently got an education on how to Re-ignite, Recharge and Reinvent their lives at the 2011 MORE Reinvention Convention in Los Angeles. It was one-stop shopping for anyone who is thinking about starting over, changing careers or finding their true passion.
This is MORE’s first trip to the West Coast and being a Los Angelena who wants to do a little reinvention of her own, I was eager for a day full of motivating speakers, makeup demos, book signings and celebrity sightings.
And boy — or should I say girl! — were there some heavy-hitters from the world of entertainment, non-profits, fitness, and publishing all gathered under one roof!
Standing tall in a pair of gorgeous red hot Louboutin’s, MORE’s Editor-In-Chief Lesley Jane Seymour says when women like Rita Wilson, Christy Turlington Burns, and Malaak Compton-Rock come together to share their stories, they can inspire.
“The reason I’m involved is because you can change people’s lives. You can open doors. You can see things a different way. For someone who is trying to rethink who they are, where they’re headed, you can present them with ideas. It is so inspirational.”
Seymour was joined by author and Good Morning America contributor Lee Woodruff to host the day-long event. Woodruff, whom we recently profiled on our site, got things off to a humorous start by saying that it’s never too late to reinvent.
“My bra is an issue. It’s a dirty, ill-fitting to-go bra that stays in my travel bag. I think its time to pull out the travel bag and really reassess what’s in there. Or just get a boob job…one of the two.”
Woodruff’s light-hearted style was on hand throughout the day as she interviewed an impressive Hollywood panel that included actress/producer Rita Wilson, Entertainment Tonite’s Executive Producer Linda Bell Blue, William Morris Endeavor Marketing EVP Kristin Patrick and Nancy Utley, President of Fox Searchlight Pictures.
They discussed their mentors, women’s changing roles in Hollywood, and meetings in the ladies room. Wilson says the chance to participate was “just incredible. You know whenever you’re around a group of women who are eager to share their own experiences and are open to learning from other women, there’s a great energy in the room”.
She shared in her keynote address the importance of service and finding your authentic self. “It’s the feeling that you are living your life for you and not someone else. Everyday we have to make decisions — are we making it for ourselves or for someone else?”
She said, “When I started making decisions for myself, the whole trajectory of my life changed. It was a mentor who shared these lessons with me and it’s why it’s so important to me to share my story with other women. And the opportunity to do this today is so thrilling to me.”
In between all the phenomenal speakers and panel discussions, I got to check out the MORE Expo, a potpourri of skincare sponsors, Georgio Armani makeup experts, book signings, Jeanette Jenkins’ fitness tips, and even a botox demo.
Every speaker was just as great as the next. So many choices…so much to take in. I listened to a panel moderated by financial wizard Jean Chatzky about “second acts” with Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus of One Kings Lane, Deborah Perry Piscione from bettyconfidential.com and makeup artist Bobbie Weiner …
…and then learned how to be empowered to get what I want by Laura Munson and Mel Robbins, author of “Stop Saying You’re Fine.” Munson wrote the New York Times bestseller “This is Not the Story You Think It Is”, her first published book that was twenty years in the making.
“I had been dealing with so much rejection for so many years I realized I was in a miserable place. I was defining my personal happiness on something that was completely out of my control. I realized that is not the way to live your life. A light bulb went off and I said what can I control? I’ve got to let go of this,” Laura said.
Robbins, a radio personality, life coach and soon-to-be star of her own A&E Show, echoed that sentiment. “I am selfishly doing this because I get so much fulfillment seeing others released from their fears. It’s a privilege. Life is easy. We are the ones who make it so damn difficult.”
The day ended with a personal and poignant conversation between model/spokesperson and now film director Christy Turlington Burns and E.T’s new co-host Nancy O’Dell. Both women know what it means to reinvent after a traumatic situation.
Burns had complications following the birth of her daughter, and now through her organization Every Mother Counts, is advocating for support of at-risk pregnant women worldwide.
Turlington-Burns says, “It’s always better to use an opportunity to elevate a situation, to educate yourself, and to do something for others instead of just yourself. Adversity always created opportunities for me and those are fulfilling experiences that I’ve had.”
O’Dell said the passing of her mother from ALS motivated her to help find a cure. “She was my best friend. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through, so I thought what can I do to turn this around? I started Betty’s Battle with the MDA in honor of my mom. Taking something so tragic and turning it into doing some good, I know that’s what my mom would want.”
This incredible day came to a close with a special benefit screening of Christy’s first documentary “No Woman, No Cry”, an emotionally gripping story of at-risk pregnant women in four corners of the world. It was an amazing end to an uplifting day, and left me asking “where do I sign up for a reinvention???”
I certainly learned that reinvention can happen at any age and can mean so many things. MORE’s Seymour summed it up best by noting that we are not alone.
“This is a year when many women are forced to reinvent themselves. So what do you do with that? You make a choice — you can run away and hide, or you can make something good out of your situation. And you can always ask for help.”
Speaking of help, does she have any advice for Lee Woodruff on finding a good bra? “One of our bra advertisers will have to send a truckload to her.”