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Whirlwind New York City Tour

It all started with a red eye flight to NY. “You must be out of your mind to start our such a busy week of book promotion with a red eye flight,” everyone warned me.  But for someone like m, who needs very little sleep and is always scrambling for more time, the red eye flight was the answer! No bloodshot eyes or energy drinks for me…I was ready to go!  Part of the excitement comes from not knowing how the week unfolds and but a big part of it is connecting with all of the wonderful people I had planned to see.

Diving right in, Monday was an important day. I met with my publishers at their big office in the city — Assouline — to sign three-hundred books in preparation for the two big upcoming events.

I remember a few years back, before my first book was even an idea, going into Rizzoli’s and looking at all the beautiful books on display. I started to think back then how great it would be if I could one day write a book that would be sold in such a special place. Now here I am on my second book tour for “Pioneers of the Possible”, signing many books, prepping for parties, and am able to walk by Rizzoli’s see my own book in the window. It is such moments so personal that nobody sees that have such significance for me. These are the moments that make my heart full and remind me that anything is possible. The power of our dreams and of dedication is the magic that makes all the difference.

Tuesday, March 6th in the evening there was a packed book signing event at theLeila Heller Gallery followed up by a special dinner at the Americano. The very talented Shirin Neshat, photographer and filmmaker, was there as were many wonderful friends and some new faces.

Photo Courtesy: [Tory Burch, Jacqueline Novogratz, Dawn Ostroff, Angella Nazarian, Melissa Berkelhammer via BFA]

Wednesday was another huge day for me. That evening ( March 7th) Tory Burch & Dawn Ostroff co-hosted a glamorous Book Launch Party at Tory Burch’s Flagship store on Madison Avenue. What a delight for the senses! And what a turnout—250 people in attendance. One of the greatest gifts was that Jacqueline Novogratz, who is featured in the book, came and spoke. She is literally changing the face of philanthropy with her Acumen Fund. Featured on the Forbes cover in December 2011, she has created a new model for philanthropy, which combines venture capitalism in industries that support sustainable life in third world nations. For example, brining in clean water to a community, and electricity, etc.  It was nothing short of a magical event with some of the most inspirational people that work in media, philanthropy and women’s organizations all there in one room with the same heart beat — to make a difference in the world.

Thursday, March 8th, marked the eve of International Day of the Women. Tina Brown’s Women of the World Summit was in New York and drew in pioneering women from all around the world to speak. Among them, Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, Diane Von Furstenberg, Leymah Gbowee, and Christine Lagarde.

Hillary happened to speak on the importance of women to living fearlessly. This, yet another common thread weaved through the lives of inspiring women who have changed the world.

I left New York full of inspiration. There were so many precious moments and seeds planted  that I know will tie into the greater message of my life… “We really can all pioneers, visionaries and accomplish great things in our own lives”…. But the first step is courage—developing that fearlessness inside of us!

Seven of my dearest friends came on this trip to support me and to celebrate the launch of my new book, which was so kind,  and I have to give them a public thank you for being what Arianna Huffington refers to as “my fearless tribe”. This is a group of women who all support one another in pursuit of our dreams, and are always there to celebrate one another’s achievements. Thank you my dear friends — you know who you are!

The Brave Collection: Where Fashion Becomes Social Action

Fashion, jewelry and accessories have been used socially for generations to help others understand a part of our story. In some cases, it becomes like a second skin, reflecting our values, passions, interests, or industry. Whether artistic, formal, protective, casual or ever-changing — our fashions are always leaving clues and whispering hidden messages of who we are, or who we want to become.

THE BRAVE COLLECTION, created by Jessica Hendricks is a line of bracelets with a message of its own.  Made of sterling silver, 14k gold and recycled brass bombshell castings from the Cambodian Civil War, the bracelets proudly display the word “Klahan” which means “Brave” in Khmer, the language of Cambodia. After being charmed by the sweet designs of the bracelet, the obvious questions that arise are “what does that say?” and “what does it mean?” propelling the inquisitor into the heart of a terrifying and tragic story, one that’s all too real, but one that offers a call to action that can be as simple as wearing the fashion.

Now for Jessica’s story…

Jessica was an English teacher working abroad in Thailand. Having the opportunity to take some side trips, she ventured into Cambodia and fell in love with the culture and people until she learned of the horrible human violations plaguing the country as a result of the sex-trade industry. Amongst the horror stories, she learned that Cambodia is among the worst solicitors of sex slaves, and although now a global problem, Cambodian children, especially girls, are among the worst targeted. Like all sex slaves, they are stolen or traded and sold for enormous profits at the cost of their personhood. According to Jessica’s research, girls as young as four years old are being sold to brothels, are terribly abused, and sometimes forced to serve up to 30 “clients” a day. Unable to escape these enormity of the problem, she came back with a vision to make a difference. She discovered Cambodian schools and artisans that offered exploited women new opportunities, and this was perfect point of connection for her and the dream in her heart to take shape. Jessica’s company has helped bring girls and women over to New York to be a part of “THE BRAVE COLLECTION” team. This happens when brave individuals like Jessica unite to create awareness. She has developed a beautiful line, and given voice to a cause that needs our immediate attention. By wearing the bracelet, one not only supports an ethical, love-driven business, but helps share the story and raise awareness.

For me, Jessica Hendricks is a pioneering woman. Her passion to make a difference is contagious, and it’s one of the markers of a successful leader. This coincides with a message I’ve been passionately pursuing in my own life journey. I’ve just released my second book “Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World” (Assouline), with the desire to encourage women to live their best lives, and follow the guidance of their conscience, regardless of how difficult a journey it seems. “Pioneers of the Possible” is a collection of stories of women who in their own right, have changed the world to make it a better place for us all, and what better examples can we give ourselves than the inspiring stories of other great women?