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AOL Maker - lead
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What do you get when gather the country’s most empowering influencers in the California desert for three days of strategizing how to spark change? The 2016 AOL MAKERS conference, which was held in Rancho Palos Verdes and featured speakers like Caitlyn Jenner, Reese Witherspoon, Gloria Steinem, America Ferrera, Sheryl Sandberg, Halle Berry, Katie Couric, and more. The impressive participants spoke to the theme of the conference, #TheTimeIsNow, to prompt positive action around the issue of gender equality and diversity. Here, some of the most inspiring and thought provoking quotes from the festivities.

Caitlyn Jenner (above)
"Gender is a journey that we’re all on—male and female—constantly learning about ourselves and who we are. Everybody’s story is different."

Halle Berry

HALLE BERRY
Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

“As filmmakers and as actors, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. And the films, I think, that are coming out of Hollywood aren't truthful. The reason they’re not truthful, these days, is that they’re not really depicting the importance and the involvement and the participation of people of color in our American culture."

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

“As filmmakers and as actors, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. And the films, I think, that are coming out of Hollywood aren't truthful. The reason they’re not truthful, these days, is that they’re not really depicting the importance and the involvement and the participation of people of color in our American culture."

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg 
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"It's not just that a more equal world is the right thing. It’s that it’s the smart thing. Study after study of diversity and team performance show us that when teams are more diverse, they perform better. One of the most important things for us to overcome is the unconscious biases that we have."

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

"It's not just that a more equal world is the right thing. It’s that it’s the smart thing. Study after study of diversity and team performance show us that when teams are more diverse, they perform better. One of the most important things for us to overcome is the unconscious biases that we have."

America Ferrera

AMERICA FERRERA
Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

“In Hollywood, we have to ask ourselves, how do we get more diverse voices to join an industry that seems so unfriendly to them? The playing field isn’t level and equal."

Jerod Harris/Getty Images

“In Hollywood, we have to ask ourselves, how do we get more diverse voices to join an industry that seems so unfriendly to them? The playing field isn’t level and equal."