Optimism, Adaptation Ring Out During CA Women’s Conference

By Rory Appleton
The Fresno Bee.

Thousands of women flooded the Fresno Convention Center area on Tuesday for the 28th annual Central California Women’s Conference, an all-day event in multiple downtown Fresno venues geared toward creating positive change in all aspects of a woman’s daily life.

Keynote speaker Leeza Gibbons’ husband, Steven Fenton, called it “the estrogen Olympics,” as nearly 3,500 attendees moved across M Street to the various speeches, breakout sessions and vendor booths.

Gibbons, an Emmy-Award winning talk-show host and best-selling author, shared her message of optimism, healing and managing time as a career woman.

“We’re always being told to find a balance for everything: work, family, friends, our husband,” she said during the luncheon speech. “Balance doesn’t exist. It’s a conspiracy that I’m convinced was created by some sort of Cruella — someone who wanted us to hate ourselves.”

Women should instead worry about investing their time, Gibbons said, and focus on getting a return on that investment — something positive from work, family or personal time.

Gibbons also spoke at great length about her mother, whose Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis led Gibbons to create a charitable organization for families dealing with terminal illnesses. Leeza’s Care Connection, which received more than $700,000 during her winning run on “Celebrity Apprentice,” helps families “deal with the new normal.”

Gibbons and many of the other speakers focused on asking women to alter their perspectives and approach new challenges with a positive attitude.

“Nice girls can finish first,” Gibbons said.

The event kicked off at 8 a.m. with a talk by motivational speaker Jean Steel, followed by the first of three breakout sessions. Topics included relationships, social media, fashion, health, personal and business finance, family dynamics and landscaping.

Monica Piper, an Emmy-Award winning writer and comedian, concluded the event with a speech.

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