Maria Shriver© Lauren Greenfield
"We are a team, on equal footing! No woman in this world should stand behind her man." California First Lady Maria Shriver, 52, speaks from personal experience; despite inherited notoriety as niece of John F. Kennedy and wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, her decisions have been consistently informed by a fierce sense of ambition, independence, and purpose (underscored by her recent move to publicly support Senator Barak Obama for President, breaking with her husband's official endorsement of John McCain). After over two decades as a Peabody Award winning broadcast journalist and author of five New York Times best-selling books, she's been translating that experience into advocacy positions, and thus imparting those values to others.
For the past four years, Shriver has served as organizer, host, and impassioned proponent of the annual Women's Conference in Los Angeles, CA. While it started twenty years ago as a small government initiative, its popularity and prestige have exploded under Shriver's direction. On October 23, 2007, over 13,000 attendees and more than 50 eminent speakers gathered at Long Beach Convention Center for one day of presentations, awards, and conversations. Shriver titled this year's conference "Remarkable Lives. Remarkable Legacies. What's Yours?" Exhorting women to consider the question, she also turned it on herself and intimately about her own attempts to define success, happiness, and self-worth.
The 4th annual Minerva Awards (named for the Roman goddess of wisdom and courage) honored California women with accomplishments in politics, civic activism, and medical philanthropy. Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Minerva Award was given to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 87, founder of the Special Olympics, and also Maria Shriver's mother - a testament to the power of a woman's legacy. Fittingly, the award was bestowed on Mrs. Shriver by the four children of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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