A Moderated Conversation with Former First Lady Michelle Obama

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A Moderated Conversation with Former First Lady Michelle Obama

Daniel Arthur Jacobson

Daniel Arthur Jacobson

Daniel Arthur Jacobson

Zoe Bardon and Niaya Taylor

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Noble. Wise. Hilarious. These are all words that can describe the conversation between former First Lady Michelle Obama and Alecia DeCoudreaux, a moderator from the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana. On Tuesday, February 13th, many Shortridge scholars were able to attend a Moderated Conversation with Former First Lady Michelle Obama at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This event was a fundraiser for the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, and over 12,000 people attended. The stadium was sold out, and over $1 million were raised for the Women’s Fund.

Zoe Bardon
The audience awaiting Michelle Obama’s arrival.

The Women’s Fund of Central Indiana made it possible for many scholars to go by providing tickets including 30 for our Shortridge senior ladies. Shortridge’s Campus Affiliate of the National Organization for Women had many members in attendance as well. Scholars that were in attendance were in awe of Michelle Obama’s wiseness and were inspired. Shortridge scholars were not the only ones captivated and inspired by Mrs. Obama; every member of the audience was sitting on the edge of their seat and hanging on to every last word.

The night began with a diverse range of empowering music from DJ Gabby Love. When it was time for introductions, Tamika Catchings, a retired WNBA player and Olympic Gold Medalist, Jennifer Pope Baker, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, and Cindy Simon Skjodt, one of the generous sponsors, spoke about the importance of the event, and then Michelle Obama was introduced. Once Mrs. Obama was introduced, the audience erupted into applause.


Some of the Shortridge NOW members in attendance.

“A Moderated Conversation with Former First Lady Michelle Obama” essentially was a conversation directed toward an audience of women and girls nation and world wide. The conversation included topics that were empowering and relatable. Mrs. Obama spoke about her childhood in South Chicago, her community, and role models, family and neighbors, that impacted the way she grew up. Mrs. Obama is often referred to as a role model, and her response to finding role models was:


“The most important role models are the ones right in front of you.” -Michelle Obama.


Mrs. Obama also addressed her fashion choices. She has been known to wear stylish outfits, but when asked about it, she responded about being comfortable with herself. In every outfit, she was able to live in the moment. Nothing was too distracting or bothersome. Mrs. Obama spoke about being true to yourself, and she spoke about being happy with her imperfections because she knew herself. She couldn’t be torn down by mistakes that she was okay with.


“When you know who you are, nobody can take that from you.” -Michelle Obama.


She also spoke about how she used her political power to engage herself in helping her community, especially children, and how she has advocated for herself when she wasn’t heard. She also spoke about how she managed being a First Lady. Mrs. Obama gave advice on how to become involved in public service. When addressing the racism and sexism a lot of Americans face, Michelle spoke about the doubt instilled in Americans through societal norms and how we need to be confident to combat that doubt.


“You learn that you are smart, if not smarter, than the ones doubting you.” -Michelle Obama.


Mrs. Obama had tremendously encouraging words for women and girls out there of all skin tones and backgrounds who are faced with constant disapproval and condescending people. Everyone, women of color especially, have doubt in themselves and always have people doubting them. “You have to ignore it and achieve through it. ”Getting up everyday, working hard, and having unbreakable perseverance makes you stronger than the people who doubted you. One way you can achieve through is:


“Don’t stop yourself before you even try.” -Michelle Obama.


Not only politically, but in a every public service field that requires an individual to be in front of an audience to persuade and/or make a difference, there are a few huge fundamental ideas that people should remember. Mrs. Obama spoke about how it is hard to be a public servant. You have to be dedicated, willing to make sacrifices of your time and energy, have knowledge in that area, and most of all, be a people person. With this being said, men, although are great, do not know everything. Men haven’t been in the shoes of women and should allow women to be able to make executive decisions. If more women stand up and get loud and persistent about their beliefs and wants for the public, it’s a better chance of being heard and achieving that goal. Women need to be a part the conversation, even when it takes fighting to be a part of the conversation.


“Don’t be afraid to add your value.” -Michelle Obama.


The Former First Lady’s conversation cannot be described as dry or boring. She was humorous throughout the whole event, making the audience not only sympathize and understand, but laugh along with her. In her closing remarks, Mrs. Obama left the crowd with one message. “Vote.” She discussed the importance of voting in every election but included her humorous personality in it. Not only every four years but for senator, teachers, and dog catchers. In an abbreviated version, she says that you would not let your grandma choose your shoes for you so why would you let her choose your government. Voting is the only way you can have a say in the government.

Shortridge Student Media, Zoe Bardon and Niaya Taylor.

Special thanks to the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana for allowing us to cover this event and experience someone as amazing as Mrs. Michelle Obama. This event was definitely something to remember and retain great advice from a great person.