Today begins the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit–our annual gathering of the world’s most influential women in business, government, philanthropy and the arts. Oh, and a few powerful men are here in sunny southern California with us too. Among them: Warren Buffett (BRKB) will be interviewed by my colleague, Fortune senior editor at large Carol Loomis, tomorrow. Tonight, Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein will present the Fortune-Goldman Sachs Global Women Leaders Award to two remarkable rising-star African women. In just a few hours, before our opening dinner, Larry Summers will be interviewed by my colleague, Fortune Washington Editor Nina Easton.
Really big guys and 400 powerful women. My boss, Fortunemanaging editor Andy Serwer, will interview Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz on stage tomorrow.
We have a record turnout and the lowest cancellation rate ever, in 11 years of convening the Summit (a positive sign for the recovery, you think?) We also have a record number of “list” women–taht is, leaders who made the 2009 MPWomen rankings. Besides Bartz, who is No. 8 on the just-released list, the Summit participants include: ADM (ADM) CEO Pat Woertz, Avon (AVP) CEO Andrea Jung, DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman, Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, bank-industry analyst Meredith Whitney, Xerox chairman Anne Mulcahy and new CEO Ursula Burns. The two Xerox women are sitting down with Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore for their first interview together since the historic handoff a couple of months ago: The Xerox succession represents the first time ever that a female Fortune 500 CEO ceded the position to another woman.
The top women at Google (GOOG), IBM , Disney , Wal-Mart , Exxon Mobil , and American Express are here as well. Tomorrow CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo will interview FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair. Also on the program: Condoleezza Rice, Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, Campbell Brown, and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. She’s running for Governor of California, as you probably know, and I’m interviewing her on Wednesday morning.
I could go on and on, but I have to run and host this three-day show. Watch Postcards all week for updates and insights from the leaders and newsmakers gathered here. — Patricia Sellers