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Tory Burch’s summit aims to challenge stereotypes

Inclusion and new norms (and an unexpected guest) are on the agenda at the designer’s annual Embrace Ambition event.

Tory Burch’s summit aims to challenge stereotypes
[Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images]
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Three years after entrepreneur Tory Burch encouraged women to “embrace ambition,” her eponymous foundation is focusing its annual summit on challenging stereotypes and biases.

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“Our programming is unique,” Burch says of the Embrace Ambition Summit, which will take place on March 5 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. “We cover a myriad of topics regarding bias and stereotypes, everything from representation on-screen to biases in artificial intelligence.”

The day-long summit is an extension of Burch’s “Embrace Ambition” initiative, which she launched in 2017 to address the notion that the term “ambition” was a pejorative when applied to women. She says business and society have made progress, but notes that “at the root of gender inequality is millenniums of deep-seated bias, and that is what we will be addressing with our summit.”

Speakers include Burch, actress Ashley Judd, journalist Gretchen Carlson, Time’s Up president Tina Tchen, venture investor Kirsten Green, and Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments. (You can view the live stream by signing up in advance.)

The foundation does not charge for attendance; would-be participants apply by writing essays on how they embrace ambition in their own lives. Burch says she and her team were so impressed with the stories that they invited nine applicants to speak at the event.

One speaker in particular stands out: This year’s summit features Diane von Furstenberg, who is holding her own International Women’s Day event, InCharge Conversations 2020, at her store in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Asked if she had any reservations about featuring another designer at the Embrace Ambition Summit, Burch replied: “Not at all. Diane is extraordinary. Our voices are stronger together.”