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Generation W: Making A Difference Now

Cyd Hoskinson

Nearly a thousand people, the vast majority of them women, gathered at the University of North Florida’s Fine Arts Center for the second annual Generation W Conference today.

The gathering was a veritable empowerment zone for women of all ages: from those just starting out in life to those who'd been there, done that and were ready to move on to something new.

Generation W founder Donna Orender:

"It starts with yourself.  You have to believe you have the capability."

But, women are social creatures, Orender says, and, as such, recognize their need to also work together. 

"And so when we can team up together, then we have more influence, right?  One voice is a solo voice.  When you can aggregate those voices, it's amazing how much influence you have."

Generation W topics ranged from business and entrepreneurship to politics and sports.

Among Generation W's speakers and panelists were WJCT First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross, State Attorney Angela Corey, Comedy Central President Michelle Ganeless and NBC News Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman.

Attendees were also treated to a surprisingly relaxed conversation between old friends: Jacksonville Chief Administrative Officer Karen Bolling and Florida Governor Rick Scott.  The two co-founded Solantic Walk-In Urgent Care back in 2001.

Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
Asha Norman-Hunt and Christina Norman

High School Junior Asha Norman-Hunt, who was at the conference with her mother, media consultant Christina Norman, says Generation W challenged her to do more with her life.

"Without women who still want to keep pushing for stuff that can make us even more present in stuff like sports and government and teaching.  These things would not happen and we really have to look back on our own community and see what we can do to create a little Generation W on our own turf.

In Norman-Hunt’s case, that turf is a high school in Santa Monica, California.