Featuring Warren Buffett and beyond, there's a wealth, so to speak, of video from last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Especially now, with the markets in turmoil, these video segments are worth checking out. There's Buffett on the $700 billion bailout. Buffett on why he expects to make a hefty profit on his recent $3 billion investment in General Electric (GE), and Buffett on gender equality (wise and amusing words about women). It was a relief, actually, to have the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) CEO hanging out with us last Wednesday through Friday. Our 300 women leaders in attendance seemed to feel that if the world's greatest investor could take three days to relax and share ideas about the precarious state of the markets and the world, we'll all eventually be okay.
Lots more video to explore on the Fortune Most Powerful Women page, including ING (ING) wealth management boss Kathy Murphy, Martha Stewart, and Oppenheimer & Co. bank-industry analyst Meredith Whitney. On Friday, during a panel on the tumultuous financial markets led by my colleague Carol Loomis, Whitney was terrific on the topic of Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC) battling to acquire Wachovia (WB). America's most powerful bank analyst -- she's No. 35 on Fortune's Most Powerful Women list and was on Fortune's cover in August -- contends that Citigroup seriously needs Wachovia (or some other consumer bank with a strong deposit base) to stay competitive with JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) and what would become, with a Wachovia buyout, a mightier Wells. As of this afternoon, Citi had filed suit against both Wachovia and Wells, seeking $60 billion in damages over its deal gone awry. Who could have imagined this even a month ago?
It's difficult to laugh through the pain of all we see happening now, but I have to tell you, Whitney is not only the most powerful analyst on Wall Street today. She's the funniest. On Thursday night at our Most Powerful Women Summit in North San Diego, where our post-dinner activities were bridge with Buffett (Procter & Gamble (PG) group president Melanie Healey won!) and Wii Sports courtesy of Nintendo (NTDO.Y), I hung out in the Four Seasons bar with Whitney and a motley crew of women leaders. Sitting beside me on a sofa, Whitney riffed relentlessly on how she felt "like Jan Brady" in a sea of Marcias: "Look at her," she said, gazing across at one particular glamorous participant of the Fortune powwow. "She's powerful and beautiful. She would have stolen my boyfriend in high school. I know she would have stolen my boyfriend. I can't even look at her..."
For those of you who remember that The Brady Bunch was baby-boomer must-see TV in the 70s, get a load of this coincidence two nights later: On Saturday evening, up in Los Angeles, I was having dinner with Arianna Huffington and her sister, Agape. Who was at the table next to us but Florence Henderson, the original Carol Brady! She looked 38. We Googled her: She's 74. When I shook her hand, Henderson's eyes bulged, and she commanded her husband and daughter and friends: "Shake this woman's hand. It's the best handshake you've ever seen!" Strange.
Carol Burnett was also part of Carol Brady's dinner party. Burnett looks 60. She's actually 75. She acted utterly starstruck meeting Arianna ("I'm soooo glad to see you. I so admire the work you're doing."). When Arianna, the diva of the Huffington Post, introduced the legendary comedienne to me, Burnett burst out , "I love you!" Obviously Burnett believed that I was some celebrity or Nobel Prize winner. Or maybe, just maybe, she's a fan of Postcards. You think?
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