Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman & CEO, Care.com
Sheila Lirio Marcelo talks about her early childhood in the Philippines, her college years when she became pregnant, and how she balanced her developing career with family.
Diana Trujillo, Aerospace Engineer
Fei-Fei Li, Professor at Stanford University & Chief Technologist at Google Cloud
Mazie Hirono, U.S. Senator, Hawaii
Arianna Huffington, Founder of HuffPost & CEO of Thrive Global
- I am the person that came from another country trying to figure out a better life in a different place, and then took that little seed and expanded it to taking the entire human species into the next level of exploration.
I grew up in Colombia, in Cali. I lived there until I was 17. Growing up, it was a responsibility of the woman to make sure that my dad, my uncle, my grandfather were happy when they would come home, food was on the table, everything was taken care of. My mom was actually the smart one. She was in med school when she met my dad. And then she got pregnant with me and she dropped out. My parents got divorced when I turned 12. After that happened, my mom had nothing. No money. We didn't even have food. And we boil an egg, and then we cut it in half. And that was our lunch that day. I remember just laying down on the grass and looking at the sky and thinking something has to be out there that is better than this, some other species that treats themselves better or values people better.
I literally thought, what's the hardest thing a human being can do? If I could be out there as an astronaut and represent humanity, there was no more bigger honor than that. And when you, Dad, see my life, you're going to realize that we can bring-- we women bring something to the table.
I was the first immigrant Hispanic woman on the program. l got to meet astronauts. I got to meet CEOs of companies. None of them looked like me. And among all of the people that talked to us, there was only one woman. But as I was talking to them, l realized we had a lot of things in common, the way that they thought about the universe and exploration, the way that they thought about humanity. I found my people is kind of what I felt.
Once you come out of the launch vehicle, telecom takes over. Can you hear me, right, is the question that you're wondering, can you hear the Rover? A small job with a lot of impact. Multiple times when we did multiple hours and weeks of testing, it wasn't going smooth enough, and you're wondering, I hope this is working. The fact that we got the first picture, I could not believe we had done it. This is Mars. This is Mars. I am one of the first 30 people in the world to see these pictures of Mars.
The fact that we actually found out that Mars was, at some point, habitable, that leads to the next question: Can we actually find some evidence that there was, at some point, life on Mars? We're going to take a sample with Mars 2020 and put it on a tube to be ready to be returned back to Earth. All of those missions are also thinking about human exploration, all the little pieces that at least we need to figure out for us to even conceive the idea of sending a human. As a little girl, I saw the women in my family give up a lot It gave me the tenacity that I needed to say, I'm not going to give up on my dream. I want to be out there looking back in, showing my family that women have value. That women matter.
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: I never knew what I wanted to do. But I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be. I wanted to be an independent woman, a woman who could pay for her bills, a woman who can run her own life. And I became that woman.
I came to New York. I was 22 years old. I was a young princess. I had married a beautiful, good-looking prince.
I went to see the man that I worked for. And I said, listen, I'm moving to America. And I'm going to get married and have a child.
But I really, really want to work. Would you allow me to make a few samples from your factory? And I'm going to try to sell them in America. And that's what I did.
I started with little jersey dresses. And then there was a little wrap top. One day I just thought, it would be nice to make that top into a dress.
I took a small ad in "Women's Wear". And I was sitting on a wide cube. And when I saw the picture, the cube was too big and too white. So I said, oh. And I promise you, without thinking, I wrote, "Feel like a woman. Wear a dress."
And that picture and that phrase stayed with me forever. Little did I know that this was going to be the key of my fortune and the key of everything.
1976 was a big year for me. I was on the cover of "Newsweek". I was on the cover of "Interview". I was on the front page of the "Wall Street Journal".
Women were wearing a lot of pants and a lot of very hard clothes. And my clothes was very soft and all of a sudden, revealed the body. It was very much part of a movement of being a woman and enjoying being a woman. I was always a little bit of a feminist. It doesn't mean that if you're a feminist, you have to look like a truck driver.
Everything I touched went to gold. And whatever I made sold. But when you grow so fast, it doesn't always go up. It goes up, it goes down. And all of a sudden one day, I'm stuck with $4 million of inventory and that nobody wants anymore. That was pretty scary.
The reason I started again is because I realized that young women-- models and actresses-- were buying the old dresses in the vintage shops. And I thought, you know what? I should go back. And I did.
The dress is now much more than a dress. We have a huge collection, stores all over the world. It was major what happened to me the first time, because I lived an American dream. But to me, it's much more amazing to see that 37 years later. That dress is still relevant and still worn by very young women.
You just have to be confident and just go for it. And be a woman. Never forget to be a woman.
FEI-FEI LI: My role is to be the thought leader of AI and machine learning. One of the most important things for me is not only to advance AI, but also to democratize AI.
My childhood was spent in the southwest of China in villages at the outskirts of the city called Chengdu. So it's a very cloudy city. You don't see starry nights too often, which actually made me really long for those few nights that have clear sky. So I always had that very early sense of wonder of what nature is, who we are. Then as I entered school, just the sheer beauty of math and science just always attracted me.
The transition from China to America was quite a shocker. Typical immigrant story that you have to start from ground zero. And I pretty much learned English from scratch here. One big difference of American school is the books are so much heavier. I had to carry all these, you know, volumetric dictionaries to survive my day.
There was one thing about Princeton that was absolutely my dream is I've always been the nerdy kid. So you know, I would never be so popular because I'm not part of any sports teams. But that intense intellectual environment-- I was like a fish in the water, suddenly.
Visual intelligence is the primary sensory system for humans to use to survive, to work, to communicate. Solving the core fundamental problems of visual intelligence is solving intelligence. If we want to ever make robots do tasks for us or with us, robots need to recognize objects.
Most people were skeptical. So we had pretty scathing reviews for grants to support this project. I didn't spend too much time thinking, oh, my god, these people don't like it. Should I do it or not? Because I know in my mind this will change how we think about machine learning. It was staggering for a while. We ended up employing tens of thousands of online workers across more than 150 countries in the world to help us assemble this data set.
The field of AI, as well as the greater field of STEM, is massively lacking diversity. We need to be mindful that human values define machine values. If our training data misses a big population of our world, that would have grave consequences.
When we have a diverse group of technologists, it's more likely that the technology will reflect our collective values. How do we encourage the future generation of technologists? If we communicate the humanistic value and how it will make our world better, we can hope to encourage more diverse groups of students to feel passionate about AI, then become tomorrow's technology leaders.
[MUSIC PLAYING] MAZIE HIRONO: I was born in Fukushima, Japan. And for all intents and purposes, I wouldn't be sitting here if my mother hadn't made a decision when I was young that she needed to get is away from an abusive husband. That was my father, and I never got to know him. She had tremendous courage at a time in Japan where women just didn't do this sort of thing.
Just before I was eight years old, we literally got on a boat-- a ship-- and sailed to this place called Hawaii. I remember my grandmother coming to Yokohama Harbor, and how much I cried. I cried every day for days on end on this ship because I missed her so much.
And I had no idea what to expect when we landed. We had literally one suitcase.
When I came here, I spoke no English, and I was totally discouraged from speaking any Japanese. In those days, we were not encouraged to retain our language or particularly our culture.
I always felt different. I felt much more mature than a lot of kids my age, because I had a mother who was struggling to support all of us.
The expectations for women, when I was going to high school, was that politics was not on the agenda. But during the, you know, time that I was in college, I began to protest the Vietnam War. And that's the first time that I questioned what my country was doing and opened my eyes to politics as a way to make social changes.
It took me 10 years of running other people's campaigns, getting a law degree, before I thought, well, I think I should be a candidate. That's very much in line with the experience of a lot of women, particularly women of my generation. It took us a while to decide that we had something to bring to the table.
And I became the first female, Democratic nominee for governor in Hawaii. My Republican opponent was also a woman, and it's only the second time in the history of our country that the nominees both happened to be women.
I congratulate Linda Lingle. Linda, I know that you're going to do your very best for the people of this state.
It was my first loss, but it was a big one. We were outspent by a lot.
I know how disappointed you are.
I remember that night, I said, I think I have one big race left in me. And I tell people what I learned from that race and that loss was how to win.
I really had to think about, do I want to stay in this relatively safe seat, or do I want to go into the unknown? And of course, I picked the unknown, because that's what I do. [CHUCKLES]
I was very focused on what I needed to do, but I take nothing for granted. And so up to the last day, I'm thinking, OK, let's just win this thing. I never thought that I had it in the bag. I never think that way.
REPORTER: Hawaii elected its first female US senator, Mazie Hirono. She's also the first Asian-American woman to be in the Senate. Hirono won in a landslide victory.
MAZIE HIRONO: At my election night gathering for this Senate race, my mom had had this looked in her face. And I said, Mom, you're thinking about what it was like when you came here many years ago and our struggles. So we both had tears in our eyes.
There's nothing I could do in my life that would be as hard as what she did, bringing us to this country. My mom showed me through her example that one person can make a difference.