In this issue our West Coast event goddess-on-the-go Lara Shriftman produces a memorable conference for author and speaker Angella Nazarian. With plenty of celebs on hand, join as we listen into the inside details of how women who do good in the world also do good in their own lives and tips on hosting your own conference and being a public speaker.

Angella Nazarian is a best-selling author and noted speaker and has conducted several workshops and seminars focused on women’s personal development and leadership including the Milken Institute Global Conference on Visionary Women Entrepreneurs and Visionary Women in Social Enterprise. She has been a keynote speaker at various national events and conferences like AON Presents: 2012 Women in Risk Management Celebration and The Zimmer Children’s Museum and Women’s Leadership Council. She is also a woman I consider a friend.

In 1999, Nazarian co-founded Looking Beyond, a charitable organization that promotes awareness and creates advancement and enrichment for children with disabilities. The organization has dispersed over $2 million to local organizations, schools and hospitals and from this experience she has written two inspiring books, Life as a Visitor and the newly released Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World. Both have become Assouline bestsellers and garnered glowing reviews from noteables such as Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, Martha Stewart, and Diane von Furstenberg.

Nazarian’s first book, Life as a Visitor, chronicles the physical and emotional journey she and her family took when they were forced to flee to the United States after the violent Iranian Revolution of 1979. Life as a Visitor is part travelogue, part introspective journal, incorporating both prose and poetry. She weaves a mosaic of thoughts, emotions and locations to present an intimate, inside look at the life of an immigrant caught between two cultures.

In her latest tome, Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World, Nazarian honors twenty women from the last century; passionate visionaries driven by an ability to imagine and aspire to what did not yet exist. By celebrating their legacy, she believes we carry on their collective, fearless spirit and encourage one another toward greater and deeper lives. Profiles in the book include: Martha Graham, Ella Fitzgerald, Frida Kahlo, Simone De Beauvoir, Wangari Maathai, Estee’ Lauder, Zaha Hadid, Helen Suzman, Jacqueline Novogratz, and many more.

Recently, Nazarian co-founded Women A.R.E. with friend and colleague Beth Friedman. The organization serves to inform, inspire, create and exchange ideas amongst Los Angeles’s aspiring top female leaders. Women A.R.E. events will provide a forum for collaborative thinking, discussion of initiatives that advance the impact of women, and foster networking opportunities for mutual growth and support. Women A.R.E. will be holding their first conference this October 2013 in Los Angeles.

Somaly Mam, CNN HERO and honored as one of TIME magazine’s “100 most influential people,” joined forces with Nazarian and Friedman to share her inspiring story and launch WOMEN A.R.E. in Los Angeles. The city’s top female leaders were in attendance to discuss some of the issues affecting women today.  Guests included Daryl Hannah, Lori Loughlin, Jane Fonda, Alex Jones, Emily Greener, Monique Lhuillier, Linda Gersh, Sophia Bush, Julie Cordou, Dermologica Skincare’s Jane Wurwand, Pam Morton, power producer Suzanne Todd, MTV Awkward’s Ashley Rikard, Brandee Barker, and Erica Zohar, Kimberly Emerson, Florence Sloan, Joyce Arad, and Nadine Watt.

I had the privilege to sit down with Nazarian and speak with her about what inspires her most, and how to host your own conference at home and how to make any speech an event. “Live Generously. Live Your Passion” is not just a catchphrase for Angella Nazarian. She lives and breathes this message.

When I asked her what inspires her to write, she was candid by saying, “I always feel that we have the most impact on others when we write something that truly moves us personally.  For me the stories that convey a sense of meaning, hope, and inspiration are worth sharing because it will ripple through the lives of so many others who read it. This is how I have created such an incredible community around me.”

I also asked what motivates her to be involved in charitable organizations and women’s foundations. “Believe it or not, I am a big proponent that one person can make a big difference—sometimes a bigger difference than big organizations,” confided Nazarian. “I have come across so many people who have overcome obstacles and have affected change in their lives and those around them. My immediate response is “I want to share her wisdom, her story, with my friends and community.”  I also wholeheartedly believe that when I focus on issues and concerns that are outside of my personal life, I am happier. So, giving and serving those I love is important to me.”

Tips from Angella on how to have your own conference at home or how to turn any speaking engagement into a party.

1. Guest List is very important.

2. Involve women from all walks of life—this way they can share their diverse perspectives and experiences  with each other.

3. Create a forum where women exchange dialogue and participate—being a passive listener is not energizing.

4. Quality of the speaker is important.  It is important to build a narrative in the day that speaks to women’s lives in a personal way—that really resonates with their interests.  Choosing the right speaker that can articulate a certain message in an authentic way is the surest way of creating an meaningful event.

5. We should never forget to have fun. Humor, light-heartedness and an air of warmth goes a long way.