05/16/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
YOUR OFFICE MAY HAVE BEEN A LITTLE noisier on April 28. Ours was. It was the hum and rattle of the second annual Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Fifty-two of the 3 million participants worldwide were padding down the carpeted corridors of our Manhattan headquarters. And the footsteps of another 200 girls reverberated through the marble halls of the White House, where PEOPLE and the Ms. Foundation for Women sponsored a picnic lunch. Created by the Ms. Foundation, Take Our Daughters to Work is designed to inspire girls between the ages of 9 and 15—when self-esteem is thought by some psychologists to plummet—by allowing them to see women making vital contributions in the workplace. Or, as President Clinton told the young relatives of government employees and local schoolgirls munching peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches on the White House South Lawn: "You can grow up to do anything, to be anything, to achieve anything that your imagination and your effort and your talent will let you achieve."
At Time Inc.'s New York City lunch, 275 of the daughters (and nieces, cousins and friends) of workers at five of the company's magazines listened to speakers describe their childhoods. Our visitors learned that newscaster Jane Pauley felt "invisible" until she found a place—and a voice—on her high school debating team, and that PEOPLE executive editor Susan Toepfer "read while everybody else did sports." But it may have been 4'10" jockey Julie Krone who offered the best insight on self-esteem. When asked if she were ever teased for being short, the winningest woman in horse racing told the audience, "Of course they laugh at me because of my height. But everybody in this room has something they feel different about."
The day offered more than a free lunch. Some White House daughters looked through letters to the First Family (including Socks). Others tried answering missives addressed to Tipper Gore. At PEOPLE, the girls, including "adopted daughters" from The Bronx's St. Pius V High School, designed covers for the magazine using Blossom star Joey Lawrence as cover boy. Summed up Leah Friedman, 10, whose dad is Dick Friedman, one of PEOPLE'S senior editors: "The day was funner than I thought it would be, even though I still think what my dad docs is kind of boring."