The world's most powerful women gathered in one place. Here are 5 things we learned.

This week, Fortune magazine hosted the Most Powerful Women Summit.

The leading women in business, health care, tech, education, government, and media converged on Washington, D.C., for the three-day summit filled with workshops, lectures, conversations, and fellowship.


U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson and TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs. Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc.

The event sold out, but many of the sessions streamed for free online, where I watched from the comfort of my own home.

While I couldn't literally brush shoulders and network with the captains of industry, I decided to distill some wisdom from the brilliant, multi-talented women (and one man) on the agenda for you.

Here are five important lessons to remember as you embark on the road to success, which as I've learned probably isn't a road so much as a jungle filled with vines and spiders and other such obstacles. But on the other side? Success!

1. Go ahead. Kick ass all by yourself.

Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, has always been a lone wolf of sorts. From playing quarterback on her high school football team to being the sole female camera operator at her first TV job, she's never been afraid to go it alone.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

And when there wasn't a clear path for her, Kennedy forged her own. While it wasn't always easy, the risks and hardship paid off.

Today, Kennedy is a prolific film producer who hasn't just worked with George Lucas for years, she's produced 77 movies in her nearly 40 years in Hollywood. She has produced films like "Jurassic Park" and "E.T.," and, according to Box Office Mojo, is the fourth-highest-grossing producer of all time. She's currently producing "The Force Awakens," the latest film in the "Star Wars" series.

2. Walk the walk. Always.

Mary Barra has had a trying few years as the first female CEO of General Motors, but she has made a point to learn from the many setbacks and challenges her company has faced.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Barra shared an important lesson we can all glean wisdom from, whether you're leading a company in crisis or just trying to make a good first impression:

"What I've learned, first of all, is to live your values. It's easy to put words on paper. What we had to do was demonstrate our values. We put the customer at the center, we were transparent. That has allowed us to emerge a much stronger company."

3. Think big. No, bigger.

Two years after college graduation, Jessica Matthews founded her company, Uncharted Play. The start-up develops products that use motion to generate electricity — like a jump rope that can charge a cellphone or laptop and a soccer ball that powers a lamp.

It's this kind of big thinking that will change the status quo and get real solutions to persistent problems. As Matthews said during the Tech for Good panel discussion, “I really, really want to disrupt the way we consume energy. Forever." With fans like President Obama, there's no doubt she's well on her way.


4. Bask in the amazing stuff that makes you you. Then go out and be the best damn you there is.

On Monday night, attendees heard from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the youngest woman elected to the House of Representatives.

Rep. Stefanik addresses the audience at the gala dinner. Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc.

She credits hard work and a willingness to try and fail as her keys to campaign victory, but she's especially proud that she never tried to tone down her personality or change her image, even in the face of criticism.

"Embrace your authenticity and your unique perspective as a woman," Stefanik challenged the crowd.

5. Go to school. Stay in school. Then help someone else do the same.

First lady Michelle Obama spoke at the summit Tuesday night about Let Girls Learn, the government initiative to break down the financial and societal barriers keeping an estimated 62 million young girls out of school.

Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc.

"[These girls] have so much talent and so much to say, but they have no outlet, no voice in their societies. It's like they know the answers, but no one will call on them. And every single one of us in this room knows how that feels."

The economic benefits to educating girls are numerous, but the moral reason is clear: Everyone, regardless of gender, deserves a shot at living up to their potential.

As the first lady so eloquently stated, "Education is the single most important stepping stone to power to equality."

Five unforgettable life lessons aside, getting to the top isn't always easy, especially when you're a woman fighting an uphill battle to crack that glass ceiling.

But with hard work, passion, and a strong support system, you can get where you want to go — or at the very least, have a good time trying.

Now go out there and shake things up. You've got this!

More
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared