A diverse line-up of women-identified speakers took to the stage at the Hello Sunshine X Together Live storytelling tour Nov. 12 at the Auditorium Theater.
This is Together Live's third year on tour and the first time they have partnered with Hello Sunshine, founded by actor and activist Reese Witherspoon.
Witherspoon joined fellow actor and activist Sophia Bush; award-winning author, speaker and digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi; Thrive Labs Founder and author Priya Parker; lesbian comedian, actor and writer Cameron Esposito; singer-songwriter MILCK ( Connie Lim ); Together Rising Founder and President, Momastery online community creator, author, activist and philanthropist Glennon Doyle; and retired soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist, FIFA Women's World Cup champion and activist Abby Wambach. Doyle and Wambach have been married since May 2017.
The event was moderated by William Morris Endeavor Worldwide Literary, Lectures and Conference Divisions Director and Together Live Tour Founder Jennifer Rudolph Walsh.
Walsh greeted the packed house of more than 3,500 attendees and said the power of storytelling can showcase what is possible for individuals and the wider world.
Parker spoke about what it was like living at the intersection of two diametrically opposite worlds when her parents got divorced and she was shuffled between her liberal Democratic Indian-British atheist mother's house and her white American evangelical Christian conservative Republican father's house.
Walsh said her motto/mantra is, "It is not what happens; it is what happens next," because no one can change the past. She asked everyone else to share theirs.
"Sometimes you do not know you can do it, but you do it anyway," said Witherspoon, referring to starting her own production company.
Esposito said to "hold the door open" so others, especially marginalized people, can have opportunities for success.
"Listen deeply enough to be changed by what you hear," said Parker.
Bush said, "Stop being someone else's definition of 'enough,' and start listening to what you feel is enough."
"Go off the path," said Wambach because that has always been the way she has learned about what is important in life.
MILCK said, "It is hard to hate up close."
"Save as drafts," said Doyle in reference to her outspoken nature and her need to sit with her thoughts before sending them out into the world.
Ajayi explained that hers is, "Put the glass down," because the longer one holds onto things, the harder it will be for them to go out in the world and do things.
Being a "troublemaker for good" was the focus of Ajayi's talk.
"We are so afraid of discomfort we will take comfort over justice," said Ajayi.
Esposito performed an uproarious comedy set that began with her calling herself "a giant lesbian" who looks like "a vacationing Draco Malfoy."
One-on-one conversations took place between Walsh and Witherspoon, Bush and Doyle and Wambach and Doyle.
Walsh and Witherspoon's talk focused on Witherspoon's evolution from being an actor to an actor-producer-activist. Witherspoon said it started with what she called "a crappy script" in 2009.
Bush and Doyle spoke about what drives them, with Bush explaining that "learning to let the lies go" and creating boundaries have been vital to her growth as a person.
"The great loves of my life are Abby, our kids, coffee and boundaries," said Doyle.
Ahead of Doyle and Wambach's conversation on what it really means to be brave and how to make real change in the world, Wambach recognized the handful of men in the audience and those "who may lie somewhere on the gender spectrum."
"You can be grateful and also demand what you deserve," said Wambach.
Doyle spoke about her journey to sobriety and the importance of "feeling every single one of my feelings."
MILCK also performed "O-o-h Child" to open the event and her song "Quiet," which became the Women's March's unofficial anthem, to close out the evening.
See togetherrising.org/ and hello-sunshine.com/ .