They talked about power and leadership. They shared advice and offered inspiration. Many of them also mentioned their kids, spouses, parents. At Fortune magazine's 15th annual Most Powerful Women Summit, attended by more than 450 professionals at the top of their fields, there were no sessions about how to balance the personal with the professional. The topic just became part of the conversation, sandwiched between discussions about government shutdowns, entrepreneurship and corporate boards.
Fortune senior editor Pattie Sellers, who has been covering heavy hitters in the corporate world for nearly 30 years, says that's what makes women so interesting to write about. Compared with men, "Women naturally think about their lives more holistically," she says. "Success for women tends to be broader."
Thursday, Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox, acknowledged that if she could do it over again, she would "have more kids." Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, said one of her goals was "just to make sure my mom had this year to rest and relax." When introducing Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer, Sellers noted that Mayer missed last year's summit because she was otherwise occupied — having a baby.
Speakers sounded similar themes. "Pick the place where you want to be great, and then relax," Burns said. Designer Tory Burch said being successful is "a lot about being patient, and waiting for a great opportunity."
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