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5 Lessons Learned at THR's Women in Entertainment Breakfast

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Lena Dunham

Words of wisdom, courtesy of Lena Dunham, Melinda Gates and Barbra Streisand.

Being at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast means getting inspired by a room full of successful women in the entertainment industry. Like last year's event and every year before that, the early morning affair, held on Dec. 9 at Milk Studios in Hollywood, left us feeling empowered, motivated and grateful.

The breakfast — which coincides with THR's annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 list — saw a group of influential women stepping out to support one another, including Lena Dunham, Melinda Gates, Kathy Griffin, Olivia Wilde and Barbra Streisand, who was presented with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award by The Way We Were co-star Robert Redford.

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With this year's ongoing conversation for gender equality, the speakers — Dunham, Gates and Streisand, included — urged that the attendees could be part of that change by supporting women.

Here, we present five little nuggets of wisdom that we're passing onto you from THR's Women in Entertainment Breakfast. Enjoy.

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1. If you have the power to help someone, do it.

During Lena Dunham's opening speech, she called upon the room's "power bitches" to use their talents and resources to support women — not just to tell their stories, but to hire them for jobs. "Reach out a hand the way Nora [Ephron] did to me when I was 24 years old and utterly terrified," she said. Because we've all been there — scared and uncertain — about the future, so why not lend a hand to those climbing up the ladder and letting them know it'll all work out. It usually does.

2. We're only as successful as our peers.

"Remember: the more we support each other, the stronger we become," said Barbra Streisand during her speech. And we couldn't agree more.

3. Remember that not everyone is so lucky. Be grateful and use that gratitude for good.

Sure, it's easy to joke about #firstworldproblems (we get it, the WiFi is, like, never fast enough), but remember that not everyone is so fortunate. During Melinda Gates' keynote address, she spoke about her 13-year-old daughter, Phoebe, who she brought along for the breakfast, and how she leads a life different than most young women around the world. "In every country and on every continent, women and girls continue to be left behind," Gates said. But the philanthropist offered that women in power can help make a change whenever "you insist on a strong female lead, or on hiring the most qualified person ... or on giving a woman a seat at the table, or a chair that says director."

4. Don't let anything take away your humor. Or style.

Despite being diagnosed with bulbar onset ALS, veteran talent publicist Nanci Ryder, who co-founded BWR Public Relations, gave a touching speech (via a letter read by longtime friend DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg) that proves a strong spirit trumps any obstacle. In describing what she does now in between doctor visits and long strolls with friends, she added that, yes, she still shops online. "I may have met my match, but I still love a great bag. And I want to look good while we defeat ALS," read the letter.

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5. Let's work together — both women and men.

As we advocate for more women in positions of power, let's not forget that it should really be about teamwork among everyone. As Dunham put it, "I am not advocating for a world where women erase men from the workplace, as pleasurable as that might be for me on certain days. I am advocating for all of us here to make it our mission to use our resources and turn this around as a team. … It’s the right thing to do and it’s the only thing to do." Amen.

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