This quote embodies the sentiment shared last weekend at the NAPD Women's Conference. Nearly a thousand women in public defense – across all professions – gathered to share in our passions, our triumphs and our hardships. Although this event was virtual, the spirit and the fire were there, and in many sessions you couldn't find a dry eye in the room. As the Executive Director of NAPD, I could not have been prouder of this convening.

The zoom chat was electric; women lifting each other up, showing their gratitude for the true authenticity that our conference offered and encouraged across faculty and advocates.

The conference highlighted sessions that focused on: women, family, and children; wellness and self-care; racial justice; and, leadership and professional growth. The 60|PLUS| sessions were highlighted by ten amazing plenary speakers. We learned to say, "I'm not sorry," when we have family obligations or make unpopular decisions. We recognized that no matter how accomplished we are, someone will be there to doubt us. But that's not our issue. The stories elicited overwhelming feelings of validation, understanding, and appreciation in knowing we are not alone and that we are stronger together.

At the conclusion of the conference, women had the opportunity to send in words to describe how they felt after the past three days. These were the words that echoed over and over: rejuvenated, grateful, validated, inspired, empowered. The list goes on. It is truly amazing how the women in our public defense sisterhood came together to lift each other up and sustain us in the commitment to why we do this work. These women, who effect change at all levels of the criminal legal system, continue the fight against injustice, against stereotypes, against racist and sexist ideologies. I am amazed and energized by these women's commitment, strength, and dedication not only to their work, but to their families, friends and each other.

The wait is over- we are here and here to stay! World, you better be ready for us to create great change.