Hundreds attend Women’s Conference

The Fourth Annual Women’s Conference, a gathering of men and women hosted by U.S. Congressman Ed Royce, took place Saturday at Cal State Fullerton.
Royce, a CSUF alumnus, who is known for his efforts to improve the status of women in the country, was the driving force behind the state and federal stalking laws to protect women across the country. He has also been key in working on legislation that was passed last year by President Barack Obama to track the movements of Joseph Kony, the infamous Ugandan warlord.
The conference began at 9 a.m. with speakers providing small seminars and motivational speeches.
This year, guest speakers included president and founder of Total Life Coach Tammy Hostenpiller, representatives from the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union who spoke on fiscal security and planning, celebrity chef Jamie Gwen and many more.
Each speaker worked for two sessions and their topics ranged from personal goal planning, financial investing for the future, guides to cooking healthier, tips for finding a job in the current job market and health tips.
Royce made it a point to explain that the conference itself has evolved each year because of the survey’s passed out. Last year, more than 400 surveys were received from attendees.
“What we’ve tried to do is identify speakers who women are familiar with, but are today doing work that will impact the lives of women and children,” said Royce.
Audra McGeorge, Royce’s director of communications, said the feedback gained from attendees in previous years has been fantastic.
“We really feel like the event is growing, and we really rely on constituent feedback and surveys to better understand what it is that these women are looking for to learning more about or getting more resources from,” said McGeorge.
McGeorge said the theme of each conference has been driven by the returned surveys, and this year’s theme was centered more around career-oriented goals and focus.
“Year after year, we noticed that women are looking for some kind of session or resource to better understand how to handle balancing work-life commitments,” McGeorge said.
The keynote speaker was supposed to be Nancy Pfotenhauer. Unfortunately, Pfotenhauer was unable to attend, and Mindy Burbano-Stearns was asked to speak in Pfotenhauer’s place. Stearns is well known for her work on Entertainment Tonight and the KTLA morning news.
Royce mentioned that in the past few years, keynote speakers have spoken on topics such as human trafficking and the Invisible Children movement.
This year, Stearns spoke about her experiences and how to achieve goals despite naysaying and opposition.
Stearns herself is also a major advocate for charities. From the arts, to veterans, education and even the Boys and Girls Club, Stearns is very active in her support.
“You know, I always felt growing up that I wanted to do something big,” said Stearns. “I didn’t know how I was going to do it, I just knew I wanted to. When my life kind of took the evolutional turns that it did, it was an easy thing to think, ‘well, we need to get involved.’”
While Stearns mentioned that she’s normally the master of ceremonies at events such as these, she was excited at the prospect of speaking to the group at the conference.
“I was inspired by hearing a little glimpse of some of the other sessions that were going on … Whenever I’m in a room of women and men who are learning and looking to better themselves and do more, it’s just very inspiring,” Stearns said.
Royce believes this event has two major purposes.
“It’s twofold,” Royce said. “It’s to help participants get the tools in their own lives to address their challenges … but it’s also to create a greater awareness of the challenges that women face in our communities and worldwide where some focus and attention and support from Southern California could be of assistance.”
To learn more about some of the charitable works that Stearns has been involved in, visit the website at 4LCL.org, which is the website for the Life Changing Lives foundation. Royce is also open to receiving letters to his office on the conference.

About John Sollitto