On November 7, thousands of women will gather at the convention center for the Indiana Conference for Women, which was founded in 2010 to educate and empower women, and provide them with the network and resources necessary to thrive. It’s now the largest single event for professional and entrepreneurial women in the Midwest.
This year, Dr. Tererai Trent returns as one of the keynote speakers. There’s a good chance you know about Dr. Trent via her association with the one-and-only Oprah Winfrey. Their relationship began after Oprah did a talk-show segment about the 2009 book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which featured Trent’s life story beginning with her childhood in Zimbabwe and her fight for education for women and girls. In 2011, Oprah called Trent her all-time favorite guest.
It is not hyperbole to say that Dr. Trent is one of the most important and inspirational global voices when it comes to women’s education and empowerment. So, of course, we had to pick her brilliant brain in advance of her trip to Indy.
Q. What made you want to return to the Indiana Conference for Women this year?
The conference was so infectious, and the women were so eager to learn and absorb positive information. Coming back to Indiana was an easy decision. The women!
Q. What can people expect from your speech this year?
The women can expect to be uplifted while they learn about my story and as they learn about the many old and new lessons that I am eager to teach from the years of global travel and influence.
Q. INDY MAVEN is a new platform for local women to share their stories. What advice do you have for those who might be hesitant to speak out about issues that matter to them?
Once you figure out what breaks your heart and what issues in life matter to you, you will have to be courageous about stepping out and living your truth. There is no other option. It’s suffocating to hold in your passion and strength, so be strong and stand up!
Q.You are such an advocate for the empowerment of women and girls through education. What are some things women can do on a grassroots level in their own communities to make progress in that area?
Women can start mentoring groups, they can start tutoring, and organizing lifestyle groups that teach young women to be diligent and strong about their place in their communities. Do not be afraid to start small.
Q. So, tell us, what’s it really like to have Oprah on your side and as a supporter?
Oprah is a powerful force around the world. She is so empowering as she transforms the lives of millions with her words and deeds. It is an amazing experience to work alongside her. I cherish the connection and everything that it has become and will become over time.
Q. In your travels and talking to women, what makes you the most hopeful about the future? And what has you worried?
What makes me the most hopeful is that women are coming together and are learning of their innate power. Women are awakening to their own strength and are finding their voice. That is inspiring. I am not necessarily worried; however, I can clearly see that we have a very long way to go around the world as it pertains to access and gender equality.
“Once you figure out what breaks your heart and what issues in life matter to you, you will have to be courageous about stepping out and living your truth. There is no other option.”
Q. What’s the next big thing for Dr. Trent to take on?
I have an international stationery line with kikki.K called the She Shine Collection that is sold online at kikkik.com and Amazon, and it will be in Target and Michaels in spring 2020. It is sold in stores in Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The collection brings together my works with the beautiful designs of kikki.K. It is stunning and gives women journaling and ritual power to take time for themselves to work on their purpose and internal healing. My goal is to empower over 100 million women around the world with the collection.
Q. What book is on your nightstand right now?
The Path Made Clear by Oprah.
Q. What’s your superpower?
I am intuitive.
Q. If you could throw a dinner party and invite any three guests (living or dead) who would they be?
I would invite my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother so that they could see the progression of me for the future generations.
Q. How do you start your day?
I start my day with writing and journaling. Taking a moment to breathe and get down my thoughts and affirmations is a must.
Q. If you could switch lives with any person for a day, who would it be and why?
I would switch it with any famous actor such as Viola Davis to see what their life is like. I am in the process of slating producers to create a movie about my life so it would be great to see what that world is like from an actor’s perspective.
Q. What is your favorite place that makes you feel happy?
I love traveling the world but I am especially happy being in Zimbabwe, visiting and being amongst the youth of our schools. They remind me constantly of why I do what I do.
You can purchase tickets for Indiana Women’s Conference here.
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Tererai Trent
Abby is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven and a freelance writer who misses The Oprah Winfrey Show every single day.