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mighty be our powers…

When leaders are asked how they were called to greatness, they always answer in the same way: feeling the greatness in other human beings is what called upon them to step up themselves.

I have just had this experience, both humbling and exhilarating, on my recent trip to NYC. I spoke at the United Nations, and I also attended the Third Annual Women in the World Summit.  These are the kinds of experiences which make you feel two things at the same time: small, yet part of something huge, expansive, inspiring, and so important.

I was very excited to participate in the Third International Women’s Day Forum. The forum focused on the need for policy innovation, leadership and collaboration across all sectors of business and government, especially in the developing world, in order to engage the potential of women everywhere. I presented our update on joinFITE, and the fact that Dermalogica’s friends and tribe now have micro-financed over 11,000 women in small business. And, we’ve only just begun!

On the one hand, the place was swarming with names and faces we all recognize instantly: Meryl! Oprah! Angelina! Hillary! Chelsea! Gloria!

And then there were the names and faces I did not know, but now will never forget.

Like Suma Tharu, a young girl who was a former slave in Nepal. Zin Mar Aung, who went to prison for 11 years in Burma because she distributed pro-democracy leaflets (shades of Sophie Scholl, and The White Rose…). And, there was the feisty Kah Walla, a recent Presidential candidate in Cameroon, who almost won. And Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose book is called “Mighty Be Our Powers.”

Gbowee in particular electrified the crowd when she demanded to know why American women aren’t fuming-furious-angry at the prospect of our reproductive freedom being usurped by conservative politics. She demanded to know why we as American women aren’t on our feet and reclaiming what is most fundamentally ours — our bodies.

Nobody in the house had an answer for her.

Now, to render THAT crowd speechless — truly, that is to be in the presence of greatness.

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