A major highlight of my life is looking out at the beautiful crowd that has gathered for each of the last nine years of now nearly 2000 women and as always, a healthy number of very secure men. Thank you all for coming! I hope you feel even just a fraction of how good I feel surrounded by the warmth and solidarity that fills this room. Of course this is a place to see and be seen, and you do look marvelous. But I hope that an even bigger draw for this lunch is the knowledge that this is a welcoming and safe place; a place where you feel supported and encouraged and inspired by amazing women like Helen Thomas; perhaps here you can connect with someone that can help you, or maybe you will leave feeling strong enough to solve a problem, take on a new challenge, or discover a project that you can get involved in.
This is where the old girls network gathers, right along side younger women who are raising your families and/or trying to balance a job or career, or maybe still figuring and scheming and dreaming about the right path to take; and this is where I delight in seeing the students that are here including those from the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, the “Women in History Class” at Oak Park and River Forest High School, and Zafra Lehrman’s science students. And of course, the children who are still getting ready to launch like my grandchildren Isabel, Eve, Lucy and William. My daughter and friend Mary is here, and I do love seeing the men that are here too including my husband Bob, the love of my life, and my wonderful son Ian. To all of you who are mothers, have mothers, know mothers, I wish you a very happy Mothers’ Day.