It's Our Turn Conference at Brentwood School

It's Our Turn Conference

Young women today can be significant forces of change—in their own lives and in society. This conference is designed to empower them to take charge of the future in positive ways that influence and inspire others.

The fourth biennial It's Our Turn: Young Women's Conference at Brentwood School took place on Saturday, January 27. The sold-out event attracted over 1,000 students from throughout Los Angeles for an incredible day, which included presentations and panel discussions by an inspiring, accomplished group of female leaders across all fields, addressing the important challenges and opportunities most relevant to young women today.

Honorary Chair: Maria Shriver

Special Guests:

Senator Barbara Boxer | US Senator, 1993-2017
Iskra Lawrence | AerieREAL Role Model
Syncopated Ladies featuring Maud Arnold
Katy Tur ’01 | NBC News Correspondent, MSNBC Live Anchor, and Author
Jess Weiner | CEO and Cultural Changemaker


Jane Buckingham | Founder and President of Trendera
Jennifer Cassetta | Self Defense and Fitness Expert
Julie Chavez Rodríguez
| State Director, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris
Ruby Karp | Comic, Author of Earth Hates Me
Eileen Kelly | Sex Educator and Founder of KAAST (peer-to-peer Sex Ed Resource)
Jasmin Larian Hekmat | Founder/CEO of Cult Gaia
Jhamasa Lewis-Adams ’08 | Program Manager, Ready to Succeed
Tanya Lopez-Brooks | SVP of Original Movies at Lifetime
Marla Messing | President/CEO, 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
Joy Montoya | CEO/Founder, The M Company; Adjunct Professor at California State University, San Luis Obispo
Sue Naegle | President of Annapurna Television; Former President of HBO Entertainment
Dr. Sherry Ross | Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Providence St. John's Center, educator, and author
Yetunde Rubinstein | Associate Director of College Counseling at Brentwood School
Alana Snyder ’12 | Founder of Georgetown University Women in Leadership; Technical Recruiter at Google
Mackenzie Starr | Student Conference Organizer
Taylor Trudon | Brand Marketing Manager, Reader Engagement at The New York Times
Dave Velasquez | Assistant Head of School for Alumni Relations, Brentwood School
Suzi Weiss-Fischman | Co-Founder, OPI
Jennifer Yen | Creator/CEO, Purlisse

...and many more inspiring speakers to be announced soon!

Who attends?

Nearly 1,000 young women in Grades 7-12 from schools and organizations throughout the Los Angeles area. Students of all genders are encouraged to attend.

Breakout Sessions

A1. Changing our Beauty Story

Presenter: Jess Weiner

Together we can change the notion of what is beautiful. Learn practical and tangible skills to re-frame the way you see your own beauty and that of others. Use social media platforms you already control to help reshape the cultural beauty narrative to be more inclusive.

A2. The Road to Success: Thrive in College

Presenters: Yetunde Rubinstein, Nikki Chun, Sonali Perera Bridges

Once the application process culminates, the real anticipation begins. What is life in college like? What challenges will I face? Come explore ways to ensure a healthy transition to college life—socially, emotionally, and personally.

A3. It's Everyone's Issue: Shining a Light on Rape Culture

Presenter: LaShonda Coleman

This dynamic workshop will empower you to critically consider the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence; understand sexual consent—what it means and how it works; resist cultural assumptions that sexual violence is in any way "natural;” and define your own manhood or womanhood without allowing stereotypes to shape your actions or reactions.

A4. Stilettos and Self-Defense

Presenter: Jennifer Cassetta

Empower yourself to feel stronger, safer, and more confident, from the street to your campus to the workplace. In this interactive workshop, you will learn how to increase confidence, avoid danger, protect yourself and feel like an overall badass. You’ll learn which weapons we’re always carrying on our bodies, and how to use them to get out of dangerous situations unharmed.

A5. You are the Future of Technology

Presenters: Joy Montoya, Mary Bloom

Technology has limitless professional opportunities and our impressive panelists will inspire you as you learn about this creative and ever-evolving world. Together, you will discuss how personal interests, future studies, and career goals can all align. Your participation is an excellent way to learn about the many exciting career paths and discuss why it’s time for women to break out in Tech careers.

A6. Evolve the Narrative: Hip Hop Language

Presenters: Maud Arnold, Chinaka Hodge

Music can be an effective tool for self-expression, empowerment, and change—personal, political, emotional, social, and more. This workshop explores how we can use our voices to reflect, critique, and ultimately better society using popular culture as a tool.

A7. Campaign Training: An A-Z Crash Course in Running for Political Office

Ready to be the change you want to see in your community? Curious about running for office or working on a campaign but not sure where to start? Join IGNITE for this interactive session on how to tackle issues that you are most passionate about and learn the A to Z's of running for political office on your campus and in your community!

A8. Laughter is Good Medicine: Comedy as a Survival Skill

Presenter: Ruby Karp

Discover the power of using humor to keep on going. We all know that school isn’t life, but it is our life while we are in it. Teenage comedian and author, Ruby Karp, will engage with you, honestly and humorously, about what’s really like to be a teenager in today’s society.

B1. Really, Who Am I? Authentic Confidence in an Airbrushed World

Presenters: Jess Weiner, Iskra Lawrence, Heika Burnison

It seems that we are surrounded by perfection in both advertising and personal social media—is it REAL? How do I fit in? This dynamic session helps you learn how to build personal pride and confidence in an airbrushed world

B2. Yes, You Can: Plan Your Own Conference

Presenters: McKenzie Starr, Alana Snyder

This is awesome! What’s next? Find out how to take your inspiration from today, keeping it going, and turn it into action. Learn from previous Young Women’s Conference participants about what they did and what you can do, too. You will leave with excellent ideas and even information about how to apply for possible grants from Visionary Woman, a leading non-profit dedicated to advancing the status of women, to help fund your own event. These grants are by application, can be up to $1000, and are only available to those who attend this session.

B3. Wow Them: Your Best Self, Resume to Interview

Presenters: Dave Velasquez, Jane Buckingham, Kimberley Oden

First impressions: online, on paper, and in person all count—A LOT. Anyone looking for an internship, a job, or even going on a college interview will benefit greatly from the excellent techniques, strategies, and advice that will be shared by the experts facilitating this engaging and very helpful workshop.

B4. Girls Get IT: Coding Workshop

Come learn from current Brentwood students for an interactive lesson in code and how to empower yourself as a young woman in technology. Explore the resources available to expand your knowledge in STEM fields even further, and listen to first-hand advice on joining the movement for equal representation of women coders.

B5. No More Margins: Why Intersectionality Can't Wait

Presenters: LaShonda Coleman, Jhamasa Lewis-Adams

What are the collective facets that make you you? Explore how identifiers such as race, gender, socio-economic status, religion, and sexual orientation intersect to make you a unique individual. Join us in a conversation about how our personal experiences both define and bring us together.

B6. #Hashtag: A Power Tool for Social Justice

Presenters: Taylor Trudon, Madeline Hill

#Conversations dominate social media, often marking the beginning of major cultural movements like #BlackLivesMatter, #TogetherWeRise, #MeToo, and #DreamActNow. You might wonder: How do I fit into a national conversation? Where do we go from here? And, just as importantly, how can we turn a hashtag into actionable steps? In this session, we will answer these questions and discover ways to use social media as a tool to foster female empowerment and solidarity.

B7. The Real Deal on Dating, Sex, and Relationships

Presenters: Dr. Sherry Ross, Eileen Kelly

(for Grades 9-12 students only)

In this session, we won't shy away from frank, sex-positive conversations that emphasize healthy and safe sexuality. This is a place for dependable and trustworthy information to help navigate these dynamic years. Together, we will explore how knowledge truly empowers us to make good choices for our health and well-being.

B8. Evolution of an Icon: Social Change and Barbie

Presenter: Lisa McKnight

Barbie has changed a lot in 59 years, evolving along with the ideals that society set for women. From her initial high ponytail and single body type to the variety of hair colors and textures, eye colors, skin tones, and body types now in stores, Barbie has not only adjusted to the times, she has served as an important historian. This is a unique opportunity to connect with experts, learn from a legend, and offer opinions that might influence the next generation of this icon.

Don't Miss Out!

Mission Statement


Thank you to our sponsors...

Schedule of the Day:

9-10:30 | Keynote #1 LEGACY
10:40-11:30 | Breakout Session A
11:30-12:20 | Lunch
12:30-2:15 | Keynote #2 EVOLVE
2:25-3:15 | Breakout Session B
3:25-4:30 | Keynote #3 ELEVATE