In a room full of chief executives, entrepreneurs, media moguls and some of Hollywood’s best talent, the topic of caregiving took center stage. AARP hosted a panel session called “Caregiving: The Circle of Love” at BET’s eighth annual Leading Women Defined (LWD) Summit in North Miami Beach, Fla., last week.
The event was a celebration of sisterhood and achievement. And the women in attendance were there to use their influence to highlight some of th
e most challenging issues facing our communities.
The health care debate in Congress offered a backdrop for huddled discussions, while conference speakers addressed issues such as financial security, health and wellness, and reimagining possibilities. Sound familiar?
Our activation was a caregiving panel discussion, moderated by me, featuring AARP’s new Caregiving Ambassador Holly Robinson Peete and Grammy Award winner Regina Belle. We all spoke, candidly, about our personal caregiving journeys.
Holly serves as the primary caregiver for her father and a son with autism; Regina previously cared for her grandmother and currently cares for her ailing brother. Both women act as caregivers while balancing self-care and career — which particularly resonated with the audience at BET’s Leading Women Defined Summit.
What we learned during the panel discussion is that everyone has a caregiving story and that we all have much to gain by sharing our stories with each other. At the culmination of the discussion, BET President and CEO Debra Lee briefly spoke about the need for women to bond, grow and challenge each other in moving the country forward. And now more than ever, I agree.
Edna Kane-Williams is the senior vice president of multicultural leadership at AARP.