Girls on the Run Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona

I’ve just returned from 5 amazing and inspirational days in Scottsdale, Arizona, attending the Girls on the Run annual summit. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may already know that I’ve been working with 3 other women for the past 6 months to establish a local council – Girls on the Run of Las Vegas.

While I mostly want to share more about the awesome speakers I heard at the summit, if you’re interested in learning more about this great organization check out this short video.

The first morning of the summit, we were treated to a humorous speech from co-host of NBC’s Today Show, Jenna Wolfe.

Photo credit: Girls on the Run International

Jenna shared about her career path, from being an intern, to becoming a female sportscaster, to being hired by The Today Show. Along the way, one of her favorite phrases has become “Fate loves the fearless.”

One of the more interesting anecdotes from her career she shared to illustrate this was a sketch where she was blindfolded, placed in a car, and submerged into water with the goal of trying to demonstrate how to save her life if trapped in a car in murky water. She was given 45 seconds to get out by herself before she was rescued, and had to repeat the sketch until she succeeded. Talk about overcoming one’s fears!

Day 2 I woke up early to hear Jean Kilbourne’s presentation “Deadly Persuasion.” For those who don’t know Jean Kilbourne (I didn’t before attending this summit), she has been working for nearly 40 years as an activist, connecting negative images of women portrayed through advertising and the media with eating disorders, violence against women and addictions.

She is the creator of the documentary Killing Us Softly, and author of the book So Sexy, So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can do to Protect their Kids. Kilbourne spoke of the “toxic cultural environment” we live in, where we are constantly exposed to media images detrimental to our health for the sake of profit.

I took a break Tuesday afternoon to hike to the summit of nearby Camelback Mountain. While the trail to the top was only 1.2 miles, with an elevation gain of over 1,200 feet, this hike was definitely a bigger challenge than the half-marathon relay I ran on Sunday. The trail was so steep in places and was a great opportunity for me to try out Jenna Wolfe’s slogan of “fate loves the fearless!”

I was so glad there were hand rails here to help me pull myself up, and more importantly, guide my way down!

The speaker for Tuesday’s banquet was Caitlin Boyle, healthy living blogger of The Healthy Tipping Point, Girls on the Run volunteer coach, and creator of Operation Beautiful. Operation Beautiful is an international movement where women leave anonymous post-it notes in random public places with the goal of ending negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.”

My colleagues demonstrate how ‘Operation Beautiful’ works, with a “You are beautiful” note left on an empty dinner plate.

Caitlin also has an Operation Beautiful book, where she shares empowering post-it notes from around the world and dozens of tips for living a happy life just as you are.

And last but not least, Molly Barker, founder and vision keeper of Girls on the Run International, continues to be an inspiration to me. I’m so happy to be a part of this movement to help young girls live out their full potential. Stay tuned for more updates as we begin our inaugural season of Girls on the Run in Las Vegas this spring.

My colleague, Veka, and I with Girls on the Run founder Molly Barker.

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