She Glows: SXSW Voices – Ava DuVernay and Princess Reema


The second in our new Wednesday blog series, She Glows, here we focus on visionaries and artists, fashion bloggers and authors, designers and DIYers. This is a space to celebrate women we admire and who inspire us to do our own thing, too.

The focus on women’s entrepreneurship and women’s innovations in digital media, film and music was on-point at SXSW 2105 last week. Kudos to the SXSW programmers.

We’ve curated two videos from the event—Ava DuVernay’s Keynote address, and an interview with Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and Fast Company editor Bob Safian. Read below why these ladies epitomize personal power and a human benevolence that’s beyond inspiring. How can we move in our own lives, and within the world around us, as these ladies do?

Ava DuVernay

Director of Selma, nominated for 2015 Oscar’s Best Motion Picture of the Year, winner AFI Movie of the Year 2014, and Winner, Best Woman Director from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists 2014

Ava: so real. She wasn’t prepared for her Keynote at SXSW. She shared how this caused her anxiety, and then shame. She owned it.. Then, she pushed through all that, and decided to speak from her heart. She quoted Gary Zukav: "When the sun shines, it doesn't say, ‘How did I do today? Are you appreciating me yet? I can do better tomorrow.’ It just shines. “ Unselfconscious authenticity is Ava DuVernay to the core.

Being Grateful

The simple tool of a Gratitude List Ava learned from the one and only Oprah. A few of us at b-glowing have used this tool to help shift perspective. It works. Make a list of 5 things that you’re grateful for. Then see how your day unfolds.

It’s About More Than The Self

Ava’s message relates to work as an artist or most any person on earth. Her message: just the self, it’s not enough. She said, "if your dream only includes you, it's too small." We advocate for women advocating for themselves. We love a lady with a vision. The party is on when women’s voices are heard and when women get the due credit they deserve. And we found Ava’s ability to see the big picture, and push through the personal conflict involved in not getting a writer’s credit for Selma as extremely 2015. Meaning: super-evolved.

"It's not always easy to have someone else's name on your work. But ultimately the film wouldn't have been made if it wasn't. And my intention was to serve the story. Not serve myself, not serve my writing credit. And the story is in the world and that was the most important thing, more than that stuff that doesn't even matter."

Amen to that.

Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud

CEO of Saudi Arabian luxury retailer Alfa Intl, Named the Most Creative Person in Business by Fast Company in 2014

Clearly brilliant and the definition of a visionary, the interview with Princess Reema of Saudi Arabia and Fast Company editor Bob Safian is a must-watch. The integration of women into the workplace in Saudi Arabia, the training that Princess Reema has provided her employees, and her latest initiative—10KSA, “ a communal gathering within Saudi Arabia and a global effort to raise breast cancer awareness and encourage education and community,” are just a few topics explored.

10KSA: Breast Cancer Awareness

This quotable from Princess Reema,"if you stand still people can push you down, but if you keep walking they will have to follow you," clearly has propelled her work forward. The goal of 10KSA is to build awareness around breast cancer and create a conversation about early detection. And she’s doing just that. The 10KSA vision is to provide “maximum exposure to health knowledge so (Saudi women) can have self knowledge and self care as a mindset…”

10KSA is the answer to this provocation:

“How do we take this conversation of breast cancer, kick it up to be a mainstream conversation so we can get women checking themselves and entering into the medical cycle much earlier. We need to absolutely get ourselves to this point.”

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