From the First Lady of the United States to top gender experts at the United Nations to Hollywood’s biggest actresses, the brilliant Girl Up Leadership Summit speakers (and participants!) had lots of inspiring advice to share. Here are the top 9 pieces of wisdom from the summit to make everyone’s day a little brighter and more hopeful:
1. “Every girl deserves to have a voice… Let your voices be heard.” – Mirabel Nfihkela Ngong, Young African Leaders Initiative fellow
Sometimes you might think that your voice and opinions don’t matter, but they do. You were meant to be heard, so speak up!
2. “I was told I can’t dream big because I was a girl…So I decided to stop letting people dictate my life for me.” – Sarah Mesbah, G(irls) 20 delegate
If someone tells you that you can’t do something, do it anyway. Like Emma Watson told one girl to do in this awesome tweet, you shouldn’t let anyone hold you down. If they tell you the sky is the limit, book your trip to space!
3. “People who make it are just people that have failed many times.” – Taylor Swift, as quoted by Elizabeth Plank (Senior Editor at Mic)
This is applicable to anything you do! Success isn’t about getting it on the first try; it’s about perseverance when things don’t go well. After all, what is success without a getting-back-up story? Shake it off, and get back out there!
4. “Step by step, village by village, school by school, girl by girl – that’s how you make change in this world.” – Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
While there is power in numbers, we have to start small before we get big. Change happens individually first. When an individual gets on board, that’s when communities of change are formed. Every single person has the opportunity to make a difference…and you don’t have to be the First Lady of United States to get started!
5. “It’s important for the world to have ambition for girls, not just for girls to have ambition for themselves.” – Dr. Anju Malhotra, Principal Adviser, Gender and Development, UNICEF
There’s a reason why Girl Up is uniting girls to change the world. When we’re all ready for change, we can actually make change happen. This isn’t a solo effort!
6. “Don’t mistake people who don’t understand for people who aren’t willing to learn.” – Georgia Baber, Girl Up Leadership Summit teen participant
Amid all of these tactics for dealing with negativity, it is important to remember that everyone comes from a different background and, as such, a different mindset. Be respectful of people’s opinions, even if you disagree with them. Instead, be patient and try to get people interested in the way that works for them.
7. “When your purpose meets your passion, you are unstoppable.” – Shelley Zalis, CEO, Ipsos OTX; Founder, The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge
Your passion is nothing without action, even if that action is just telling your friend or someone in your chemistry class about the things you care about. If you care, shout it from the rooftops! Get going!
8. “I challenge you to go one day without saying ‘I’m sorry.’ Don’t be sorry for existing.” – Monique Coleman, Actress, Activist and Girl Up Champion
This one hit right at home. The next day, I couldn’t believe how many times I said, “I’m sorry,” to people. My mom finally looked at me and said, “Are you sorry for breathing?” NO! Don’t be apologetic; be loud and proud.
9. “The world has never been bigger, but because of you, the world has never had a better chance.” – Aaron Sherinian, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, United Nations Foundation
I’m ready. WE’RE ready. Bring it, world!