Embrace Ambition: 6 Sessions You Don't Want to Miss

Shayda Windle

2022 has been one of the biggest years for my business thus far. I started this little agency in 2019, having no clue what I was doing but armed with 15 years of corporate marketing experience, a strong instinct, resources, and determination, I kept things going here. Despite the twists and turns that all business owners went through during COVID, SW Creative is still thriving today.

A few months ago, I applied to Tory Burch Foundation’s 2022 Embrace Ambition Summit: Confronting Stereotypes and Creating New Norms, and couldn’t believe I was accepted to attend among the thousands of others who applied.

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There are so many reasons I’m excited about this event—too many to list, but with the Summit taking place in a week I thought I’d highlight a few of the sessions I’m probably most excited about as they hit home in some shape or form for me.

This year, the Summit returns as a live and virtual experience—a full day of conversations and performances from leaders in business, entertainment, science, social justice and sports. You can still get your virtual ticket here.

WOMEN AND SCIENCE: SESSION 6, 5-6PM

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Tory Burch Foundation

Aside from Tory, I don’t know that there’s anyone else I’m more excited to hear speak than Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian-American engineer who earned a bachelor’s degree electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, (also my alma mater) in 1988 and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., while working full-time at MCI Communications.

She is the CEO of XPRIZE, an Astronaut, a High-tech serial entrepreneur and a Global Change Maker. Entrepreneur Magazine says of her, “Ansari's journey to space in 2006 has led her to being immortalized in history, with the Iranian American entrepreneur also forever going to be remembered as the first Muslim woman in the world to travel to space.”

As someone who was raised by a Persian single mother and my entire life, pushed to succeed, go to college, and be a change maker, I am not only humbled by Anoush’s accomplishments but feel as though her story resonates so much with my upbringing. I can’t wait to hear her in person.

ADVOCATING FOR GUN CONTROL, SESSION 3, 11:50-1PM

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Tory Burch Foundation

Julianne Moore, Actor, Activist, Mother and Founding Chair of the Everytown for Gun Safety Creative Council and Monisha Henley, Director of State Affairs, Everytown for Gun Safety. I don’t think there’s much more I need to say about this session and my passion for gun advocacy. You can read more about my thoughts on Uvalde here.

INTERVIEW WITH DOLORES HUERTA, SESSION 2, 10:25-11:30

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Tory Burch Foundation

Dolores Huerta has been a labor organizer and activist for over 50 years. She co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) union in 1962, an organization that played a key role in securing rights for agricultural laborers–but her co-founder and then-partner Cesar Chavez became the face of the movement, insisting only one of them could be its leader. At age 92, Ms. Huerta still has plenty to teach us all about what we can accomplish when we stand up for the most marginalized in our communities.

THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS WITH DR. SAMANTHA BOARDMAN, SESSION 3, 11:50-1PM

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Tory Burch Foundation

Dr. Samantha Boardman is a positive psychiatrist, founder of Positive Prescription, and author of Everyday Vitality. After beginning her practice, she had a client come to her that said, “Dr. Boardman, I hate coming to our weekly sessions,” she confessed. “All we do is talk about the bad stuff in my life. Even if I am having a good day, coming here makes me think about all the negative things. I’m done.”

That’s when Dr. Boardman decided to go back to school and focus on treating patients through a positive mindset, teaching resilience, optimism, and post-traumatic growth. She says, “I explored the role of lifestyle and psychosocial factors that impact mental health and learned about evidence-based interventions that promote well-being. I have been practicing Positive Psychiatry ever since.”

WE MUST TALK ABOUT MISCARRIAGE: A CONVERSATION WITH MARY KEEGAN, SESSION 3, 11:50-1PM

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Tory Burch Foundation

Mary Keegan is a Talent Brand Communications Manager and an advocate for parents and women in the workforce. She will be speaking about the bereavement leave policy after miscarriage that she began at her place of employment.

NO ROADBLOCKS, SESSION IV, 2:15-3:20PM

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Tory Burch Foundation

Aisha Khan is a brain tumor survivor and also a disability awareness advocate. Her story is especially intriguing - after undergoing a surgical procedure to remove a benign brain tumor on May 13th, 2014, Khan initially developed complete paralysis of her right/ dominant side hence, "The Right Side of Perfect".

As she began her recovery, she started documenting her journey with the hopes that perhaps she’s learned some things that can help others. Topics include living with a disability (right-sided hemiparesis) and adapting to a “new normal”, especially at work.

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Shayda Windle is a freelance writer, covering technology, arts and culture, health and wellness, and everything in between. Her work has been featured in Plein Air Magazine, the Fairfax County Times, and Middleburg Life magazine, to name a few.

Purcellville, VA
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