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#BlogHer18 Creators Summit, Brings Females Together For Change

#BlogHer18 Creators Summit, Brings Females Together For Change
Gabrielle Union, Maria Menounos, Whitney Casey

Gabrielle Union, Maria Menounos, Whitney Casey Sunshine Sachs

At the 14th annual SheKnows Media #BlogHer18 Creators Summit, nearly 1,500 female content creators, social media influencers, and entrepreneurs filled Pier 17 at The Seaport District in NYC. Welcomed by SheKnows Media CEO Samantha Skey, for a day of “joy, learning and inspiration.” Skey discussed the four major themes of the Creators Summit: #ValueOfWomen, which seeks to eliminate a patriarchal social structure that threatens wage parity, reproductive choice and more; #TheGoodWeb, which focuses on digital content that is meant to connect, inspire and challenge; #PassionToProfit, focusing on passion-driven content created by women that becomes an entrepreneurial or philanthropic pursuit; and #LearnToEarn, a belief that female content creators help one another level up through community and opportunity, a key element in the newly reimagined SheKnows Partner Network. “We believe it is very important that women profit off their work,” said Skey.

Tiffani Thiessen

Tiffani Thiessen Photo by Sunshine Sachs

Attendees enjoyed captivating panels from speakers including Gabrielle Union, Brooklyn Decker, Tiffani Thiessen, Maria Menounos, and more.

Gabrielle Union, Amy Schumer

Gabrielle Union, Amy Schumer Photo by Sunshine Sachs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Schumer surprised guests with a special introduction to the Voices of the Year Awards (VOTYs) and shared her remarks on the importance of acknowledging and amplifying women’s voices to make a change. She invited the crowd to raise their hands and pledge, “I, Amy Schumer, pledge that when I find an honest creator or content, I will promote the ever-loving sh*?!t out of her.”

Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall Sunshine Sachs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The VOTY honorees included Monsurat Adebanjo (founder of the Urban Culturist), Nekpen Osuan (co-founder of WomenWerk), Sweta Vikram (NYC-based author, advocate and yoga instructor), Dr. Alaa Murabit (medical doctor & UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth), Clementine Wamariya (author of The Girl Who Smiled Beads), Donna Orender (former President of the WNBA & founder of Generation W), Eboni K. Williams (Fox News Anchor), Adrienne Lawrence (attorney by trade & on-air host and legal analyst), and U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The VOTY winners are outstanding, strong female creators who have pushed us to think more, feel more, share more, laugh more, and do more.

Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer

Tamron Hall, the EMCEE of the VOTY’s, celebrated the launch of her daytime talk show that will make its home on Disney/ABC.

Specific panel highlights below:

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

  • Gabrielle Union participated in a #WinningWomen panel with SheKnows Media CEO, Samantha Skey, where she spoke about her book with subject matter ranging from childhood, sexuality, race, rape, difficulties with fertility, and the importance of having supportive people around you. Skey asked if Union was worried to speak about her rape experience and if she felt brave to discuss it. Union said, “I don’t look at it as brave, I look at it as necessary. There is so much that we hold to ourselves out of fear of judgement, and sometimes that fear can literally kill.” Union doesn’t believe what she is doing is brave. “I have seen the devil up close, I can’t go any lower. At this point I can only go up and I’m trying to take as many people with me as possible,” Union stated. The discussion ended in a standing ovation.

  • Following Gabrielle Union, Amy Schumer introduced the VOTY Awards and focused on the importance of amplifying women’s voices to make a change. Schumer spoke about the #MeToo movement and how she’s excited about the cultural change that is coming from it. She stated, “One in six women get raped, a lot have been sexually assaulted, but no one believes us right away. Men have started to call it a witch hunt. Oh, you mean you burned us at the stake for no reason? You don’t have to support us, but come up with another f$%!ng example.” Amy closed with, “Keep it up, keep it going and do it with the intent and heart you’ve been doing so far.”

  • Tiffani Thiessen spoke about her journey from television star to mother to businesswoman, and how she uses her platform to share her creative spirit and positive influence. Thiessen spoke about Saved by the Bell and asked if Kelly Kapowski would be a feminist. Thiessen said, “she may have been without knowing it, but Jesse was definitely one. Kelly made her mark by the little that she had and there is something empowering about that too.” Thiessen also spoke about her love for food and the creation of her cookbook stating, “Putting a cookbook together is like birthing a child with four hard corners.” She added how she loves to cook in the kitchen with her daughter, and looked back on a time when she was working on White Collar here in NYC. When asked how she established herself in the lifestyle brand space, she said that it came upon purely because of her love for it. “People can see when things are not organic, and my love for food is purely organic,” Thiessen said. “Woman’s intuition is not a joke. It’s true, it’s real.”

    Amy Schumer

    Amy Schumer

    Maria Menounos sat down for an impactful discussion with Pilar Guzman, bringing tears to her eyes throughout. She began by discussing her mother’s brain cancer diagnosis in 2016, as well as her own brain tumor. Menounos highlighted the importance of being your own advocate. “My husband was my rock and my everything and he advocated for me when the doctors wanted me to walk before I could walk,” Menounos said. “You can’t just lay your faith and trust in these doctors solely because you are an individual. You have to make choices based on your gut.” Menounos opened up about how this experience led her to develop a show where people “can have a roadmap for success to the best of [her] ability,” and how her life changed post surgery; “I used to be a super Type-A person who wanted to make her parents proud, always going and pushing. We’re everything to everyone, but nothing to ourselves.” We have to love ourselves enough to [take care of our bodies],” Menounos said. “I wrote a letter to my dad, saying that after surgery I was going to be a different person. I just want to be happy.” Menounos lives her life by putting her emotional, spiritual, and physical health first. “I created an automatic email providing contacts for all the emails that come in, and I filter who I work with and what I spend my time doing.” Menounos said, “Now I see everything having a purpose. With stillness, you are able to hear everything, whether it is your body or the universe talking to you.” Menounos talked about redefining success. “Success isn’t Chanel bags, success is being healthy and happy and living your true self. Do what you love and money will come.” Menounos closed with “I’m okay with someone saying I’m crazy. We are not crazy, we are wise, and you just have to listen.”

  • WWD’s Sophia Chabbott spoke to Brooklyn Decker and Whitney Casey about their business Finery during the Co-Founders Club Panel. Decker described Finery as the “clueless closet on steroids” then describing to the audience in technical terms how they use a browser extension to add in-store purchases to an app, where the app then works to provide outfit suggestions to the user based on what is in their closet, in an effort to be more resourceful with the things you already own, and more resourceful with the users time. “We spend more money on our wardrobe then our education,” Casey said. The panel ended with Decker telling women that being really creative with your marketing approach is so important – “separate yourself from the pack.”

  • Tamron Hall, the official emcee of the VOTY award ceremony, stated “I am so happy to be here with you wonderful women today. I believe in the energy, what you give out is truly what you get back. I am a girl from Texas, my grandparents had a 2nd grade education and couldn’t read. I did not have a traditional start, my mom raised me as a single parent until I was 7 years old. If your journey does not include building up women, get on another road,” Hall states.

  • VOTY Award Winner Quotes:

    • Adrienne Lawrence (Crisis Text Line): “My entire experience has been a journey, eye opening, awakening and necessary. If more people can help others find their voice and stand up for themselves, we can advance women in need.”

    • Mosurat Adebanjo: “I am appreciative of this recognition. I grew up in a household where my parents came from another country and believed in the American Dream. My mother instilled in me the responsibility to leave the community better than I found it. I want to show young girls that they are bigger than the block they grew up on.”

    • Sweta Vikram: “It is an absolute honor and still a shock to be accepting this award. My family tells me I talk too much, well here is proof that talking too much can be a good thing. We don’t do what we do to be recognized, we do it because we know no other way. I write because that’s the only way I know how to fight. To shine the light on things that people like to keep in the dark. Thank you for giving me my superpower.”

    • Eboni K. Williams: “The question I am most asked is, why in the world I choose to work for Fox News. I left my successful and rewarding career as an attorney to pursue a career in media because I believe that representation matters. I couldn’t think of another place that needed a clear representation of the media than Fox News Channel.”

    • Dr. Alaa Murabi:  “If we don’t have women at the table when we are talking about peace building, there is not a point in having them when we are talking about sports, or entertainment, or anything else. This is an incredible recognition and I am very thankful for it. What’s most incredible, is I never thought BlogHer would have heard of me and I am very grateful.”

    • Donna Orender: “I love to watch how women interact, the power of experiences that provide support and love and the things we need to make each other better. If we don’t believe in ourselves first, no one is going to believe in us. It’s not easy out there and we know that.”

    • Clemantine Wamariya: “I am so honored to be in your presence today and so grateful. Discussing women in conflict zones who are exhausted, exhausted with people taking their children away, gun fire in the streets, bombs in their homes. I wrote my memoir because everywhere I went, every class I took, no one knew the daily life of a person in refuge.”

    • Nekpen Osuan: “I am so honored for this award.”

      Gabrielle Union

      Gabrielle Union

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabrielle Union , Sam Skye

Gabrielle Union , Sam Skye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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