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November 12, 2015
Arianna Huffington: Funny, Wise, Inspiring
“What would I tell my younger self?” Arianna Huffington, our 2015 Rachel Phillips Belash Speaker, asked a capacity audience of Grade 9 to 12 students and special guests. “Stop worrying and get a good night sleep.”

The author of Thrive and President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, told students that nothing is worth sacrificing for their health and wellness. This, she explained, was something she realized—eight years earlier—when she collapsed from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. “Is that what success looks like, I asked myself.”

Before addressing our community, Ms Huffington met with Principal Karen Jurjevich, Deputy Principal Karrie Weinstock, Admissions Prefect Naz Gocek and Grade 10 student Lisa Ellenberg, as well as former Branksome Hall parent and Board Member Geoff Beattie who kindly arranged for Ms Huffington to speak at Branksome Hall.

“We (women) have to redefine what success is. Men have designed a workplace that is not sustainable.” Ms Huffington proceeded to describe a growing number of CEOS with health concerns due to burnout. “We have to change that,” the mother of two urged.

With her unique brand of humour and entertaining stories, Ms Huffington’s messages resonated with our school's commitment to nurturing transformational leaders through our blend of wellness, outstanding academics, and global engagement opportunities. “Hard work is important, but our biggest task is to make sure that we are not running on empty.”

A few of her messages touched on themes in her book, including what she calls the Third Metric: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. The first two metrics are money and power. “We can’t sit on a two-legged stool. We need a third leg.”

Her talk was followed by a question and answer period with Admissions Prefect Naz Gocek. Naz had asked students for their questions, which she took the opportunity to ask Ms Huffington. Among her answers, Ms Huffington told students that, “It’s okay to not know what you want to do now. When I was your age my business hadn’t even been invented.”

She left students and special guests with a quote from French novelist Colette: What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner. “So, please,” Ms Huffington said. “Realize it now.”

Ms Huffington joins the string of eminent women who have shared their wisdom with the Branksome community as part of the Rachel Phillips Belash Speaker Series. They include, most recently, Chair and CEO of Mondelez International Irene Rosenfeld, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University Dr. Carol Dweck, and renowned educator Dr. JoAnn Deak.

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