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Kerry Washington appears (on screen) at conference

Kerry Washington appeared at the conference via video.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
Blake Mycoskie was one of the speakers at the conference.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

“Scandal” star Kerry Washington didn’t make it to the Massachusetts Conference for Women on Thursday — at least not in the flesh. She was supposed to be one of the day’s big speakers but wound up calling off her trip because of a last-minute scheduling conflict and instead spoke to conference-goers via satellite. Organizers had also booked “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts to come to Boston to interview Washington, but then Roberts also canceled at the last minute because of weather, according to conference spokeswoman Julia Wright. Both women appeared on screens in front of the crowd during the afternoon of the sold-out event at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which drew 10,000 people. Washington told the group, “I’m so deeply saddened by the fact that I can’t be there with you. . . . I’m a woman who really values showing up, whether it’s for my career or service or friends or family. I try to live my life fully and be wherever I can.” She then talked about her character Olivia Pope. “She is like so many women I know — myself included. She excels in so many areas and she’s really challenged in others. She’s kind of like a real life woman — least to me because it’s my job to make her that way.” Washington also said some nice things about the people who run her show, who include Milton Academy grad and “Scandal” producer Betsy Beers . “I love working for women. It’s so important that we step into our power as women because it’s awesome to work for women and with women who appreciate our power.” Speakers who did get to the conference in person included historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Blake Mycoskie of the philanthropic shoe company Toms, and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee . Gbowee was added to the bill late after getting rave reviews at the Texas Conference for Women.


Mark Shanahan can be reached at shanahan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkAShanahan. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeredithGoldste.