Award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien is bringing one of her “PowHERful Summit for Girls” to St. Catherine University.

“We’ve been asked to bring it to the Twin Cities in the summer of 2015. We’re going to have 1,500 Minnesota girls from disadvantaged areas coming to St. Paul,” O’Brien told me.

It should be a lot like what O’Brien told me about the inaugural summit, held this year in NYC. “We had the girls come for a full day, starting with breakfast at a morning keynote. Iyanla Vanzant was our big keynote this year,” said O’Brien.

I try not to miss Vanzant’s riveting “Fix My Life” episodes on the OWN Network.

“She’s phenomenal,” said O’Brien. “I love her almost too much. I got crazy about her. Then we did a breakdown session on STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics], because those are career areas that pay really well and are growing in the economy.”

Speaking of paychecks, there was also “Finance 101: How to Organize Your Finances in College,” said O’Brien. “We did health, beauty and wellness. How to monitor yourself online — don’t put stupid things on Twitter and Facebook because that’s what your bosses are going to look at when they look at you for a job.

“We did a whole college fair. We’re going to add career counseling. We did a second keynote and ‘Networking 101: How to Speak Comfortably to High-Powered People.’ I invited 50 of my girlfriends for a cocktail hour, without the alcohol, and they chatted with the young ladies with the idea of testing them on their networking skills.”

Right now, 2015 PowHERful Summits are slated for NYC, L.A., New Orleans and St. Paul, with cities possibly being added.

“We are looking for people to come in and help talk to the girls, make presentations, and we also are looking for people who are interested in sponsoring,” O’Brien said.

She hopes Vanzant will speak again at the summits, and, of course, O’Brien will be a speaker. The girls who attend will be selected by community-based organizations.

Diana Ross’ May stop

The legendary Diana Ross is headlining the 2014 PACER Gala at the Minneapolis Convention Center on May 3.

“We are very excited,” PACER’s Executive Director Paula Goldberg told me Monday.

Are Goldberg and staff ready for an ultimate diva? “We sure are,” she said, unconcerned.

“People are saying they can’t believe we got the legendary Diana Ross. People are already buying tickets. She’s bringing 22 people, including her musicians, singers, dancers. [Fans] can go to to order tickets.”

Heather Brown’s baby

A noteworthy Tuesday e-mail arrived from WCCO-TV’s Heather Brown:

“I just wanted to share some exciting news with you. My husband and I are expecting a baby later this spring. We’re over the moon and can’t wait to meet the little boy or girl sometime around May 25! If you’d like, feel free to use our news in your column. Happy Holidays. Best, Heather.”


Concert is emotional reunion

Moving moments reportedly came in waves Saturday when former Minnesota Orchestra music director Eiji Oue returned to conduct the locked-out musicians.

In one of the musicians’ series of fundraising performances at the Minneapolis Convention Center, ReVamp! SalonSpa founder and Makeover Guy Christopher Hopkins and his partner in life and business, GM Robert Lindquist, told me the all-Tchaikovsky evening played out like a future documentary.

“It was a highly emotional reunion of Eiji and the orchestra. So many tears. Beautiful music, of course. Eiji finished the concert and spontaneously reached down to pull a red rose out of the bouquet given him that was on the conductor’s stand. He then finished conducting with it to show the orchestra his love for them,” said Hopkins. “Thought [there should be] some scoop on this monumental event that seems to have been muted.”

Lindquist told me Oue was dressed in a jacket made for John Lennon. “Yoko Ono gave it to him [Oue] in 1979 when they were living next to Leonard Bernstein, and Eiji was his assistant. He was supposed to wait something like 30 years to wear it,” said Hopkins.

Harteau won’t dance

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau has told the fifth annual “Dancing With the Twin Cities Celebrities” charity ball that she won’t be able to take part in the Feb. 22 event. Too busy.


C.J. can be reached at and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.