The lines to get into Michelle Obama's keynote at Dreamforce in San Francisco began forming at sunrise at the site of the world's largest software conference. With thousands of people waiting to get in, the excitement and anticipation to see the former First Lady could easily be felt in the air outside the Moscone Center.

Obama opened her speech with her two keys for a better future: education and youth

She said the U.S. has a solid public education system in place but that we can do more to better educate our youth through "new, engaging" curriculum. "Education is at the very center of their possibilities," she said. "Training and preparing youth is the foundation to building a better world for us all." 

Obama also gave powerful advice to leaders in the corporate world, starting with a message about creating company cultures that support parents. "Think about creating work structures that support healthy families," she said. "Don't think that tables with all men are going to get it right." 

She encouraged leaders to invite a diverse array of people into the "important conversations," and to be more open to listening to fresh perspectives that will pave the way toward actual change. She added that gender equality starts with hiring: "If the men in the room see no diversity in the boardroom, it's time to change who sits at that table."

Obama was adamant that leaders need to be more vigilant in speaking out against sexual harassment and domestic abuse in the workplace. Too many women still feel unsafe at work, and that needs to change immediately, she said.

She left possibly her most powerful message for last and it's one we should all take to heart: "We live in a nation of really good people. And that includes those who don't agree with us."

Published on: Nov 7, 2017