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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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

via Forbes / YouTube

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 18, gave a blistering critique to a House of Representatives panel on Thursday, focusing on the country's fossil fuel subsidies.

Thunberg appeared virtually at the two-day Earth Day summit where the Biden Administration announced its pledge to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Thunberg has become an international climate icon after delivering impassioned speeches to the United Nations and inspiring the largest climate change protest in history in 2019.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.