BOISE, Idaho — For the second year, the Women and Leadership conference, usually held at BSU, was virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This virtual platform meant the conference reached people across the world--in more than 37 states and seven countries, according to Andrus Center of Public Policy Executive Director, Danielle Trujillo.
The goal of the conference is to help achieve equity in all types of leadership positions.
"During the Women and Leadership conference, the intent is to nurture the development of future leaders by bringing before these attendees shared experiences and wisdom and stories from really empowering women," Trujillo said.
This year's conference took place Wednesday and Thursday and featured speakers with positions in the federal government, authors and a local politician
Former Idaho senator, Cherie Buckner-Webb kicked off the conference. She said one of the things she focused on in her speech is the idea of leaving a legacy.
"You know you have to get fired up and that you have to get ready and you have to prepare yourself and you have to be willing to risk and you have to take the opportunity," She said. "And you'll get surprised what your legacy that you thought would be when you were 20 might be different--and you may have even accomplished it when you were 20, or 30, 40, 50--you don't do it once."
Another keynote speaker shared her unconventional route to becoming an opera singer. Cecilia Violetta López came to Idaho as a Mexican immigrant with her family and started in opera a bit later than other singers.
"I was in my mid-20s when I started so I've always felt like I've had to work harder to catch up in a sense," she said.
López said she shared that message of working hard in her speech at the conference.
"I try to use myself as the testament to show--like look, I'm literally a girl that grew up hoeing beets in southern Idaho and sang mariachi music and now I'm an opera singer--so really opera is for everyone," she said.
Organizers are planning a hybrid format for next year to merge the benefits of an in-person conference and the reach of a virtual format.