The 10 Best Moments from the Smart Girl Summit 2014


9. Col. (Retired) Martha McSally On Making A Difference

Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, a candidate for the House of Representatives in Arizona's 2nd congressional district, led off the day with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. She then went on to tell the stories of how she became the Air Force's first female fighter pilot and how she led the fight to strike down the regulation that American servicewomen don Muslim garb in public in Saudi Arabia. She encouraged the crowd to get involved, telling them how one person can make a difference:

"People feel like, 'I can’t make a difference.' I made a difference. I stood my ground. I persevered on my own, no matter what the cost. I’m here to tell you that one person can make a difference. We’ve got some real challenges in our country. We’re not going to be able to fix them as bystanders. I’m an athlete, not a cheerleader, and I’m going to do something about it."

"Our country is failing us. Our president is failing to lead. Our allies do not know if we’re there for them, and our enemies no longer fear us. You don’t lead by leading from behind.

"One of the best things we can do in 2014 is know that congress provides oversight to the president. We need to elect legislators who understand that. We need to make sure that people across this country understand this issue."