Reflections (with audio): Secretary Clinton’s speech at Fortune’s #MPW Summit

Posted: October 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Leadership and public voice, Speaker reviews | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »


It’s been an incredible week of speakers, thinkers, and ideas. So grateful am I to have seen President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi, and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton speak in these last few days.

Fortune Magazine certainly convened an incredible group of forthcoming, strong storytellers at their Most Powerful Women Summit. What keeps coming to mind though are particular remarks from Secretary Clinton.

Nelson Mandela and a story that either ethically challenged or inspired or both.

The Secretary engaged with the audience in two different ways: she gave a closing address for the overall summit and then gave a relaxed, in-depth interview with TIME Chairman Ann Moore. There was a question from Moore that was something like: “What person most influenced you?” At this point, Secretary Clinton’s reply just blew me away.

She shared a specific memory about President Nelson Mandela during her White House years. In South Africa at a ceremony honoring Mandela’s leadership, Secretary Clinton remembered Mandela taking the podium and before launching into remarks, he first expressed gratitude for three jailers that worked in the Robben Island Prison where Mandela was incarcerated for many years. It was his focus on the positive qualities of those jailers and the inherent forgiveness within his gratitude that struck the Secretary and now, my outlook on both storytelling and ability to practice a forgiving mindset no matter one’s circumstances.

One minute audio clip: Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton on women in tech mentoring initiatives (and more)

“Talent is universal but opportunity is not.” -Secretary Clinton on the value of mentoring young women nationally and abroad at the #MPW summit.

It was fantastic to hear her resolute focus on the value of mentoring women in technology and overall development. Here’s a quick one minute clip of the Secretary describing the State Department’s initiative to mentor Muslim women abroad on technology and also other partnerships in the works about increasing safety protections for women as well.

Technology, especially social media, is a boon for women expressing their leadership and fortifying their sense of community. It was invigorating to learn more directly from the Secretary about these programs.

What a great day.

Smart, kind reflection in her remarks: hearing Sec. Clinton speak

Posted: October 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »

She’s incredibly engaging and I look forward – heartily – to blogging more with audio excerpts from her remarks soon.

What made President Obama laugh at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit tonight

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Practice | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Well the adrenaline here at the Mellon Auditorium is pretty high.

President Obama serves as tonight’s closing keynote at the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit; and from a public speaking vantage point, I’m salivating from excitement!

…more soon as the president takes the stage.

The president underscores: “Our economy can not compete unless our citizens can compete as a workforce.” He’s emphasizing giving girls especially the confidence to pursue math and science to fuel the country’s talent pipeline.

Just now, there was a big clang of metal at the president’s podium. He’s realizing it was a metallic name plate (of his name) that detached from the podium and fell off. He’s cackling out loud, as in he’s still laughing. And he just said (while laughing): “you know someone responsible for the podium area is sweating bullets now.”

He’s emphasizing now the challenges women who launch tech startups and them getting VC support (70% less funding is received by women of tech startups than those led by men).

3 THOUGHTS: the president’s delivery
It’s official…the president and his speech writers know speechcraft. Kidding aside, it struck me that:

1) He opened with a personal story that related to this audience ie his Grandmother’s challenges in business.

2) His overall speech was story-centric. The arc of the president’s remarks involved multiple stories from the women cabinet leaders in his administration to award recipients at tonight’s ceremony.

3) He was cognizant of the summit’s theme ie building a legacy.

Plus: his delivery was conversational and his voice flexible, relaxed

What an incredible experience.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks with humor and clarity of mind

Posted: October 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Quote of the night (so far):
“If it is inside you to run, then run.”

-said by Speaker Pelosi’s husband to her years ago when she was considering public office.

From somewhere deep in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left dot on stage per above iPhone photo) is ripping the crowd up ie she’s hilarious. At Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit 2010, Nora Ephron (right dot on above stage pic…) is now conducting a casual yet revealing interview on a huge stage.

What is striking is the Speaker’s voice, natural storytelling, and pace:

She punctuates her remarks lyrically with pauses and vocal strength as she grows more serious — and suggests to the hundreds of women in the audience: “Keep your home strong so it may continue to give you strength.”

She surrounds Nora’s questions with great stories ranging from getting her daughter’s permission to run for office (hilarious…) – to hearing her male colleagues discuss child birth (more good comedy…).

What she’s saying now about absorbing severe public criticism:

“I view attacks made on me like this: it requires a suit of armor, it is not for the faint of heart. I have to throw and take punches. And if I wasn’t being attacked then I would consider myself as unproductive.”