Today kicks off the Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women in Long Beach.

Nearly 15,000 women and — a smattering of self-assured men — will arrive at the Long Beach Convention Center for what will be a most amazing two days.

Just to give you an idea of the line up…Jennifer Lopez, JLo herself, kicks off the conference followed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Warren Buffet in a discussion moderated by MSNBC’s Chris Mathews.

Lunchtime speakers include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Indra Nooyi, the Chairman and CEO of Pepsi. The afternoon session features Bono, the lead singer from U2 and co-founder of the One Campaign. Bonnie Raitt closes the day with a rockin’ concert, as if there was any other kind.

In between are panels with inspirational speakers including Michael J Fox and Russell Simmons doing a panel entitled “Men We Love who Use Their Voices”. Gloria Steinem and Marilyn Right Edelman will join Nancy McFadden of PGE and Farai Chideya of NPR on the panel “Once in a lifetime Conversations — Two Warriors on the Front Lines.”

Just to name a few others… Sarah Jessica Parker, Deborah Roberts, Rita Wilson, Heidi Klum and Sally Field…..the list goes on and on with the who’s who of health, business, spirituality and entertainment.

This conference tops the Davos in Switzerland for bringing together deep thinkers and major doers. I call it the Chicks in Charge Conference or a Spa Day for Your Soul but really this is a conference that has something for everyone. Also, all the proceeds raised from the conference go to programs to help Californians who are struggling in these tough economic times.

How did this all come together? Two words: Maria Shriver. She is the Architect of what has to be the most amazing two-day event in the world. The highlight is always her inspiring words. She is an extraordinary person and she works nonstop with a dedicated team of professionals all year round to make this a once in a lifetime event.

At every conference, Maria honors five remarkable California Women and highlights their extraordinary accomplishment. The awards are presented at a ceremony capping the conference. This year, Maria appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to announce the recipients. They include:

Billy Jean King: Pioneering Women’s Tennis Champion and Author

Gloria Steinem: Ceiling-Shattering Women’s Rights Advocate

Louise Hay : Self-help Author and Founder of Hay House Publishing

Betty Chinn: Advocate for the Homeless in Eureka

Ivelise Markovits: Creator of a center for Foster kids in Los Angeles

The ceremony is always a tear jerker!!!

I attended the first Governor’s Conference for Women hosted by then Governor George Deukmejian. I was an assistant press secretary for him and worked on the creation of the conference. It was a one-day Woman in Business event held at the Bonaventure Hotel with about 1000 participants. The first keynote speaker was Mary Kay of Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Well we’ve come a long way Baby…

This conference is the hottest ticket in town not only for women but men. Tickets sold out in 30 minutes when they went on sale in late July. So how can you get a ticket….well you can watch it on line with a front row seat at starting at 8 am Wednesday morning.