Inspiring Speakers at the Clinton Global Initiative

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Inspiring Speakers at the Clinton Global Initiative

I have been extremely fortunate to be the voice of the Clinton Global Initiative for the past seven years in New York City. In addition to it being a most prestigious job, I was privy to hearing talks from world leaders, U.S. Presidents, and captains of industry. But the most compelling speakers, the ones who have made the deepest impression with me, are people who are agents of change, the risk takers, the individuals who are making waves because no one else will. Those are the people who stayed with me and will continue to stay with me. In the case of this final summit, the incredible speakers were young women who, despite their cultural norms, lack of formal education, and in some cases enslavement, have been able to speak out against atrocities like child marriage, sex slavery, and genital mutilation. In many cases, these are young adults who are on the front lines now, and realize that they must take control of a very screwed up world.

The CGI is ending, but for me, what I saw and heard will stay with me forever. How can we keep the momentum of doing what is right for the world going? How can doing business for profit be married with the dedication to changing old school rules, while creating opportunities for others, building sustainability and helping the millions of people who are mired in poverty with no opportunity?

The truth is it can be done and is being done now on a global level. The biggest obstacle is the steadfast resistance to one word; change.

People resist change with all their might. But think about it. If we don’t change, we will go the way of the dinosaur. Their massive bodies did not adapt, and so they could no longer survive or function, and they perished.



  • Valerie Smaldone

    Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has just directed and produced her first film featuring Gloria Gaynor and is producing a docu-series starring Erik Estrada. Visit her website at

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