“Stay true to your journey, and stay outside your comfort zone. You are our future, so go make it happen.”
These were the words imparted by LA84 Foundation President & CEO Renata Simril to a group of over 700 young women from across Los Angeles on Tuesday, as Simril hosted Olympic champions and difference-makers on a panel at the inaugural Los Angeles Young Women’s Assembly on the campus of the University of Southern California. Organized by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland, the final panel of the whole-day event was titled “Compete Like a Woman” and saw Simril moderating a panel featuring Olympic gold medalists Janet Evans (Swimming), Carmelita Jeter (Track & Field) and Jordyn Wieber (Gymnastics) along with Nike executive Blanca Gonzalez.
The panel topics included how the panelists achieved their success in the world of sports, their biggest challenges along the way, and each’s advice to the group of intently listening youth. “Winning is not in the result, it’s in the journey,” said Evans, whose inspiration to work toward becoming a five-time Olympic medalist came from watching the 1984 Olympic Games as a 12-year-old in Los Angeles. “If you have the courage to do it, you can do anything.” Wieber, now a student at UCLA, also told the crowd the importance of not only finding what you love to do, but also never ending the quest for passion.
The day concluded with speeches from Wakeland and Garcetti, hammering home their commitment to providing the young women of Los Angeles with knowledge, networking and empowerment to achieve across varying job fields. Garcetti also conducted the Report on the Status of Women & Girls in Los Angeles in 2015, while LA84’s first-of-its-kind Youth Sports Survey offers insight into where resources are needed to improve the number of LA girls participating in sports.
“What we have in this room is unstoppable,” Garcetti said in his closing remarks to a roaring crowd. “I see in all of you the future female leaders in this city.”