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!

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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