You know her as the tough, sexy-dressing, single mom from the 2000 movie bearing her name, “Erin Brockovich.”

Brockovich continues her stick-to-it-ness activism 17 years later, and along the way has refined her strategies for getting things done, for the world and for yourself.

Brockovich comes to Phoenix in May to teach a master class on how to “Become an activist in your own life.” Brockovich is part of the line up at the International Women’s Summit, featuring CNN’s Lisa Ling, Oprah regular Marianne Williamson, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” Elizabeth Gilbert and author and founder of website Momastery Glennon Doyle Melton. Produced by Mishka Productions of the Valley’s Celebrate Your Life events, the conference, held May 4-7 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix, seeks to empower women with keynote speakers and individual workshops.

Yes, she dressed like that

Let’s get this out of the way. Yes, she possessed a “potty mouth” and dressed in sexy outfits like Julia Roberts does in the biographical movie in which she confronts and wins in court against a Hinkley, Calif. water company. Why? “Because it was fun and I liked it.” Though these days she’s apt to dress more professionally as she stands in front of TV cameras speaking on the fight for clean drinking water  and women’s health.

Brockovich, 56, still stands out by speaking up, and she wants more women to do the same.  The wardrobe and the words they choose are their choice.

“I think people think you have to become an activist for a certain cause,” she said. “You really have to become the activist for yourself. Speak up for yourself and speak out for yourself. Don’t wait for someone to do that for you. I want women to learn to be their own heroes. In some instances, women wait for someone else. That’s where I was — waiting for my prince charming. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be loved or I’m not motherly and friendly. We can want and be all that and still be very intelligent and in tune and very strong.”

We offer a sneak-peek at what she’ll discuss at the International Women’s Summit.

5 hacks for becoming an activist in your life 

1. Tune in, drop out — daily

Brockovich says it’s an everyday struggle as she travels all over the country, lending her voice to causes and researching the law. The first thing any woman needs to become an activist in her life is to assess what she believes and cares about, she says. That doesn’t happen unless women can “cut out the noise,” Brockovich said.

“Motivation is the key and to do that you have to engage in self-renewal first. For me, that’s watching the sun set on the Grand Canyon. You need to do what you need to do to hear your own voice, whether it’s a round of golf or getting a spa treatment. It’s that reboot you need every day.”

2. Turn your ‘weakness’ into your super power

Brockovich is dyslexic. She struggled in school and received poor grades. A teacher noticed she knew the subject matter, but didn’t test well and gave Brockovich an oral test, which she aced.  “She got outside her box and saw a student who was more than capable and gave them an opportunity,” she said. “That made me look outside the box.”

Today she calls her dyslexia her “greatest gift.” Before teachers noticed her learning challenge and in the decades after, Brockovich said she learned to memorize facts and figures on a page to make up for reading difficulties. “I don’t forget anything. I have an incredible memory and when you’re going through complicated lawsuits I can remember that the number on page 162 is different than the number on page 169.”

3. Ask, keep asking

“I’m not afraid to ask questions if I’m not certain what something means. When I worked with (residents) in Hinkley, I wasn’t afraid to say that I don’t know but I’ll find out. That’s how I gained their trust and respect.

“Your mind starts going, ‘maybe I should know this and I don’t.’ No. Go out and ask the questions. None of us knows everything. Don’t be afraid to be who you are.”

4.  Educate yourself, but don’t become a victim to degrees and distinctions you don’t have

“I had situations in Hinkey that I will never forget,” Brockovich said. “(People said:) ‘You’re not a doctor, you’re not a lawyer, you’re not a scientist, what do you know?’ I don’t think I have to be any of that. I can use my common sense and stand here and say that a two-headed frog and green water is not the norm.”

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5. Watch what you take in, so you have the energy to give back

In the last few years, Brockovich changed her diet to include organic fruits and vegetables and exclude processed foods. She receives routine acupuncture, works out regularly in a gym and is an advocate of testing your drinking water and getting a high-quality filtration system.

“Changing my diet has been huge for me,” she said. “I feel light. I like the way I look and it’s become part of my routine. I realized going forward, and in the value of everything I teach, health is at the heart of it. That’s a whole other conversation. But the lifestyle component is part of bettering yourself. If my heart, my head and my gut are not in alignment then it’s not worth it. Find a moment to yourself. That’s where it is. That’s where you find your inspiration and motivation.”

Details: International Women’s Summit. May 4-7. Sheraton Grand Phoenix, 340 N. Third St., Phoenix. $486 for four-day passes, which includes lunches, $891 for four-day passes with preferred seating, lunches and bonus Saturday, May 6 evening dinner and panel discussion.  480-970-8543, CelebrateYourLife.Org/womans-summit.

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