By Donna Lucas
President and CEO of Lucas Public Affairs

Fox & Hounds Daily – Friday, October 24th, 2008

The Governor and First Lady’s conference for Women was a marathon — a 12-hour day, but well worth the price of admission.

The conference this year blew away all expectations. It was bigger, better and had a more excited and diverse line up of speakers than ever before.

Kicking off the day was a humorous panel with multi, multi billionaire Warren Buffett and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that was moderated by political pundit, Chris Matthews.

Three men at a conference with 14,000 women — It was clear the three were loving it and played ruthlessly to the house. At one point, Warren Buffett asked Chris Matthews if he thought so highly of women would have rather been one. Matthews skirted the answer…

Buffett was magnanimous, spot on and very funny.

Maria Shriver’s speech was the highlight of the day, sticking to the theme of the conference, “Be who you are—Feel it—Live it—Pass it on”.

There was not a dry eye in the house as she spoke about her journey of the past year and facing fears like the failing health of her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, her courageous action to endorse Senator Barrack Obama, the death of her dear friend Tim Russert, the illness of her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy and her oldest daughter’s departure to college.

Vintage Maria Shriver. Her words spoke to every woman in the house and some of the guys too!

The afternoon panel with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pepsi’s CEO, Indra Nooyi — moderated by CNN’s Campbell Brown — was a favorite of the day. Nooyi said “The glass ceiling will go away when women help other women break through that ceiling.”

Condoleezza Rice, who was surprisingly candid and casual, said “It’s okay to be the first. If you constantly look for role models like you, then there won’t be any first”.

Rice, who described herself as a black girl from Birmingham, Alabama who wanted to study Russian, said: “Don’t let someone else define you. My advice is to do what you love and forget the rest of it.”

Alpha rock star and humanitarian Bono, the lead singer of U2, was a bit windy but very inspirational in sharing his passion for the “One Campaign” to help end poverty and sickness in Africa.

Bonnie Raitt rocked the conference to a close ending the day in at just 12 hours.

I don’t know how this Conference can be topped!!! At least until next year.



By Donna Lucas
President and CEO of Lucas Public Affairs

Fox & Hounds Daily – Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Today kicks off the Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women in Long Beach.

Nearly 15,000 women and — a smattering of self-assured men — will arrive at the Long Beach Convention Center for what will be a most amazing two days.

Just to give you an idea of the line up…Jennifer Lopez, JLo herself, kicks off the conference followed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Warren Buffet in a discussion moderated by MSNBC’s Chris Mathews.

Lunchtime speakers include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Indra Nooyi, the Chairman and CEO of Pepsi. The afternoon session features Bono, the lead singer from U2 and co-founder of the One Campaign. Bonnie Raitt closes the day with a rockin’ concert, as if there was any other kind.

In between are panels with inspirational speakers including Michael J Fox and Russell Simmons doing a panel entitled “Men We Love who Use Their Voices”. Gloria Steinem and Marilyn Right Edelman will join Nancy McFadden of PGE and Farai Chideya of NPR on the panel “Once in a lifetime Conversations — Two Warriors on the Front Lines.”

Just to name a few others… Sarah Jessica Parker, Deborah Roberts, Rita Wilson, Heidi Klum and Sally Field…..the list goes on and on with the who’s who of health, business, spirituality and entertainment.

This conference tops the Davos in Switzerland for bringing together deep thinkers and major doers. I call it the Chicks in Charge Conference or a Spa Day for Your Soul but really this is a conference that has something for everyone. Also, all the proceeds raised from the conference go to programs to help Californians who are struggling in these tough economic times.

How did this all come together? Two words: Maria Shriver. She is the Architect of what has to be the most amazing two-day event in the world. The highlight is always her inspiring words. She is an extraordinary person and she works nonstop with a dedicated team of professionals all year round to make this a once in a lifetime event.

At every conference, Maria honors five remarkable California Women and highlights their extraordinary accomplishment. The awards are presented at a ceremony capping the conference. This year, Maria appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to announce the recipients. They include:

Billy Jean King: Pioneering Women’s Tennis Champion and Author

Gloria Steinem: Ceiling-Shattering Women’s Rights Advocate

Louise Hay : Self-help Author and Founder of Hay House Publishing

Betty Chinn: Advocate for the Homeless in Eureka

Ivelise Markovits: Creator of a center for Foster kids in Los Angeles

The ceremony is always a tear jerker!!!

I attended the first Governor’s Conference for Women hosted by then Governor George Deukmejian. I was an assistant press secretary for him and worked on the creation of the conference. It was a one-day Woman in Business event held at the Bonaventure Hotel with about 1000 participants. The first keynote speaker was Mary Kay of Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Well we’ve come a long way Baby…

This conference is the hottest ticket in town not only for women but men. Tickets sold out in 30 minutes when they went on sale in late July. So how can you get a ticket….well you can watch it on line with a front row seat at starting at 8 am Wednesday morning.