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"Strength of a Woman" Conference inspires

Posted at 8:55 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 23:55:16-04

Thousands showed up at Rabobank Convention Center Thursday for the 26th Annual Bakersfield Women's Conference where the message was "Strength of a Woman."

Every woman who spoke with 23ABC said they were feeling inspired by the various speakers and workshops that functioned as tools to help them lead a more successful life.

"Everything from hormones, to finance, to personal health, to relationships, so there's a lot of information here," Conference Chairwoman Leigh Pozas said.

Pozas said the convention center was lit up with the women's energy.

"Be stronger, better, smarter, wiser, emotionally, mentally, physically for just continuing on and doing things and it's amazing to be around those types of women," 5-Time Attendee Nolanna Anthony said.

That was embodied by the keynote speaker, Dara Torres, a five time Olympic swimmer and gold medalist. Five CSUB swimmers were volunteering at the event when they were ushered into a room where they heard they would see Torres.

"It's pretty amazing, because Bakersfield I didn't realize we would have her come down. Like in our eyes she's huge!" Junior Paola Hernandez said.

Not only did they meet her but when Torres found out the ladies had to go to practice, she made a personal call to their coach to enable them to stay for the rest of the conference.

One of the swimmers who said she started the sport because of Torres said she was inspired and said she would swim harder and better.

That moment is what workshop speaker Sandra Mittelsteadt said this conference is all about. Every person has someone that inspires them to be their best selves, Mittelsteadt said.

"I grew up in a poor family, said to my mother, I don't like being poor. She said then get an education that's your way out of poverty and that's exactly what I did," Mittelsteadt said.

She is now a successful author of a biography on Colonel Thomas Baker, our city's namesake.

Many of the women said they wished they had the opportunity to attend a conference like this when they were younger. Middelsteadt said women have been granted more opportunities in society as time goes on and hopes more women take advantage to continue the trend.

"I think I'll bring a group of my students next year," Middlesteadt said.