Last year, 2020, I got back into the habit of reading. We were home and I had a pile of books waiting on the shelf, so I decided to make the most out of it and started with “Becoming”. From the beginning, it took me back to the day when I had the fortune to sit in the same room as Michelle Obama, actually, it was more like a huge hall with a couple thousand people in a convention center, but that day, it felt like she was speaking directly to me.
It was 2017 and my husband invited me to a series of conferences in Boston, he was going for work and one of the speakers was Michelle Obama! Of course I said yes instantly! That year, the main focus of the event was women empowerment and inclusion.
We listened to Bozoma Saint John, currently Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix, who was with Uber at the time, Billie Jean King, former world #1 professional tennis player and Elaine Welteroth, who was editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, among others. All of them empowered and successful women, so of course, the keynote speaker had to be Michelle.
For all the conferences we would arrive half an hour or 15 minutes before and it was perfect, but for Michelle’s, I told my husband that we would have to be there at least 3 hours in advance, and so we arrived at the convention center at 7 am, it was us and a few other women, who, as myself, were not going to miss their spot in the hall!
We went to get some coffee and croissants for breakfast, and sat down on the floor to eat while we waited for the huge dark color curtain to open. As we finished, I remember turning around and noticing a lot more women, there may have been a few men, but mostly women, looking excited as the clock kept ticking. We were all there to see Michelle Obama.
About two and a half hours later the curtain opened, and everyone started shouting and running! I remember I felt like we were all teenagers chasing after Justin Bieber! My husband froze somewhere, so I ran and sat in the first aisle seats I could spot and then turned around to find him. I think we were around 3,000 people, maybe more, but I’m not really good at estimating numbers, still, we were a lot and mostly women.
When they announced Michelle you could feel the chills in all of us, the wait was totally worth it and listening to her was truly empowering. She spoke about her duty and how she learned during that process that she could accomplish anything. How the bar is always moving and that by learning patience, resilience, compassion and being empathic you can achieve your goals. Each failure makes you stronger, and all the highs and the lows are teaching opportunities.
The one thing I remember the best was when she referred to our voice, as women, as human beings, we need to have a voice, and we need to like it. In the end, it’s all about loving ourselves and it’s going to be hard to stand up for yourself if you don’t like, love and respect yourself to begin with.
I wish I had recorded it to play it for you and share everything that I felt and listened to that day, but I invite you to read her book and after, watch the Netflix documentary to hear it directly from her, she is inspiring and her message is mostly appealing to us as women. We should support, encourage and empower ourselves. Together, we are stronger, and together, we can accomplish anything we wish and dream for.