If you’re wondering who is the woman standing next to Arianna Huffington in this photo, it’s none other than your fearless blogger JS. Many thanks to Courtney Newman, who took this picture for JS Media Blog. Yes, I’m short but please note that Ms. H. is wearing flats, because, as she candidly told the gathered crowd of 400 women, she can’t wear heels anymore.
I met the ever gracious Arianna Huffington this past Saturday at an event called “Ladies Who Launch Live”, which was held in Carson City, Ca., at the headquarters of Dermologica, one of the sponsors of the all day conference. (For those non-SoCals, that’s a little south of LAX.) Ladies Who Launch is an organization founded by Victoria Colligan and Beth Schoenfeldt, who quit their corporate day jobs and started a company that encourages and supports other women who also want to quit their day jobs and start their own companies. The organization and website offer workshops and services to women entrepreneurs, whom they claim launch differently than men.
Ms. Huffington was one of the keynote speakers, along with best-selling author Jackie Collins, and an assortment of other entrepreneurial women with businesses and books. In her workshops and new book Zero to Zillionaire: 8 Foolproof Steps to Financial Peace of Mind, financial advisor Chellie Campbell teaches how to reduce financial stress [move over Suze Orman] and affirms affirmations: “People love to give me money;” “I make lots of money doing the things I love”. And my personal favorite: “My affirmations work, even if I don’t believe in them”.
On the lighter side was syndicated humor columnist Lisa Earle McLeod and author of Finding Grace When You Can’t Even Find Clean Underwear. Even the founders of LWL now have a book coming out soon, called Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship & Creativity As A Lifestyle, which they wrote with Amy Smart, coordinator of the LA chapter of LWL.
Ms. Huffington offered insights from her book Becoming Fearless: in love, work and life and shared how she has handled her personal and professional life and struggles and how she launched her own entrepreneurial effort–The Huffington Post. She also announced–and we can’t wait for this–that she is about to launch a second blog called “23/6”, which will be a satirical look at politics and the news. As she described it, the new site will be a 24/7 blog in the style of The Colbert Report, except “you know we’re busy so we can only do it 23/6”. It’s even funnier when she says it in that signature Greek accent.
Jackie Collins, who couldn’t be more genuine or more unlike her scandalous characters, spoke to us in a deliciously still discernible British accent about being a teenager in Hollywood, her writing process, her two independent daughters and her wildly successful career. Statistics hard to grasp are the fact that she has sold 400 million books in a career that has spanned almost four decades, while each of her 26 books are still in print. For those who wanted, she signed her latest in paperback Lovers & Players and announced that #27, a new Lucky Santangelo novel called Drop Dead Beautiful, will be out in June.
After a long day of listening, meeting, card swapping, and being inspired to launch with hundreds of other women, it was awfully nice of sponsor Naturalizer to give us each a pair of comfortable shoes. A little Oprah moment there.
So, what am I launching? My freelance career, of course. “I make LOTS of money doing the things I love”.