Announcing The Great May Giveaway Winner
  • Architects of Change

06/9/10 | The Women's Conference | 6 Comments

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Just last week we announced the recipients of the 2010 Minerva Award®. This week we want to share with you the many, many more Minervas among us in The Women’s Conference community.

On May 1st we asked you to tell us when you first realized that you could make a difference -- What was your Minerva Moment? 

Hundreds of you have had Minerva Moments and recognize the power you wield in your day-to-day lives. Many of you have started foundations and nonprofits to answer a need in your communities and the world; others have used your time and skills to raise money or awareness on behalf of others. Some of you have stood up to abusive partners, and still others of you have taught your children the value of giving back.

Explore The Women’s Conference community’s many Minervas and Minerva Moments here, My Minerva Moment.

Below is The Great May Giveaway winning response, as well as the three honorable mentions. These women found the strength – sometimes in the face of adversity – to help the women in the Congo who had been brutally raped, to remember that giving back is something we can do every day, to reach out to AIDS patients, and to help other women who have been in abusive relationships.



My Minerva Moment occurred when I was a senior in high school. My mother was watching the Oprah Winfrey show as she normally did after work. One night she called me into the room and told me to watch something very important.

As reporter Lisa Ling told the horrific stories of women who had been brutally raped in the Congo I sat there, tears falling from my eyes. I was so moved to do something—anything!

My heart ached to help so I went before my school administration with the idea of a fundraiser. I was denied at first—told the topic was too racy. I fought for these women because their story needed to be told.
Eventually I received enough support. I ordered the transcripts from the Oprah Winfrey show, created a slideshow of images and retold the stories of these women in front of my entire community.

I put faces to stories, which made the topic real for people, who knew nothing of third-world suffering. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house.

I organized a weeklong bake sale to raise awareness. Donations came pouring in with notes of encouragement. We raised $1,100 and sent it to Women for Women International.

This was my Minerva Moment and it has become my life’s calling. I now work for a women’s magazine in NYC. There is no greater bond than that of one woman to another. It is a bond that knows no boundaries.

Honorable Mentions:

Sally Ann

How great would it be if we were all capable of not only having "Minerva Moments" to share, but we can share what it means to have a "Minerva Lifestyle". So I challenge you all who are writing about your "moments" to really think about not just having "sprinkles" of kindness, greatness, compassion....but consider living a life full of these "Minerva Moments". So many of us take on causes which we excel at but we fail in our day to day life to be loving to our children, kind to housekepeers, compassionate with our know where I am going with this. It is our interaction and relationships with others that allows us to live a "Minerva Lifestyle". Do you inspire every person you meet to be better in some way? Do you bring sunshine as you enter a room? As trivial as this may sound, it is these little acts that send out energy to others that they also deserve a "minerva lifestyle" and hey...before you know it, we are all "minervaing".....if such a "verb" even exist. And if it does not, well maybe it should since Minerva is a word of action so it should be a verb;-) Best of luck to all of you!


In 1995, my husband and I were active in a local church. Our pastor was very dynamic but vehemently homophobic, a trait I found troubling. After working for years in the fashion industry, I had many gay friends and a great compassion for the gay community. Rather than change churches, we decided to confront the issue by spearheading an outreach to AIDS patients. The church wanted no part of our proposal, so we pursued the ministry on our own, launching a weekly Bible study at a nearby hospice. Many of the men we ministered to were wary – they had never received love and acceptance from Christians before. One evening, a very ill young man learned I was going through fertility treatments and offered to pray for me. His sweet, simple prayer touched me – he’d wanted nothing to do with God just a few months earlier. He passed away right before his prayer was answered – I gave birth to my son eight months later. At his memorial, the young man’s family thanked me for making a difference in his life. In truth, he was the one who made a difference in mine. Today, my husband and I are still called to reach out to those the traditional church rejects and have a passion to touch all people with God’s unconditional love.


Being in an abusive marriage, hiding behind lies and not telling anyone because I felt ashamed; I took this energy to help others. One day at work a supervisor came to me and pleaded with me to help one of the female worker's who had been out "sick" for several days by asking the owner not to terminate her. She was getting out of the hospital after her husband abused her. She did not want to press charges because she had two small children and was afraid. I went to my car and brought a handful of domestic violence brochures in Spanish that I helped create with the Los Angeles DA's office explained that she needed to be safe for her children and her was a list of programs and shelters. The next week the supervisor asked for more brochures. She wanted to hand them out in her neighborhood and she found out there was another lady at work who was also being abused. I gave her a box of the brochures and later learned that the female worker was in one of the shelters and getting help for herself and her children. I decided to start a program "Refuse to Abuse" for high schools along with celebrities, the Los Angeles DA office and people who had been effected by abuse to educate kids and make them accountable to stop the abuse and don't become part of the cycle.

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  • Three things empower me as a woman to be a strong and compassionate leader: Faith, the Feminine, and Telling the Truth.

    Faith: Whether religious or not, it is what compels us to hope, to courage, to belief in self and/or something larger. It is what enables us to lead in courageous, imaginative, and powerful ways.

    The Feminine: All-too-often we struggle to understand who we are, uniquely and provocatively as women. But tapping into to a nearly DNA-level connection to all women - past, present, and future - the Sacred Feminine - is what invites leadership that is strong and tender, passionate and commanding, beautiful and transformative.

    Telling the Truth: As a woman and a leader, this has been the realm in which I (and so many women) struggle. We hold a powerful truth within, but feel the risks of voicing and living it. When we speak and live our truth - without editing or censoring - AMAZING things happen. Lives are changed. Worlds are split open.

    Faith. The Feminine. Telling the Truth.

    Women as leaders. Leadership, indeed.

    Posted by RonnaDetrick, 30 July 2010.

  • I find age to be empowering. Now 45, I find that the older I get, the more qualified I am to lead. I once read a comment by a writer -- I think it was Margaret Atwood -- who said that a woman comes into her own durng her forties. I believe that's true, and I aspire to be someday a wise old woman!

    As a leader, I hope and expect to continue to learn and evolve throughout my entire life. I believe a leader must be what we in the teaching field call a "lifelong learner." I do not have the answers; I lead with a thirst for knowng, with belief in others, and with a sense of doing what's right. My own curiosity, and my openness to who others are and to what they might think and know, dirve my leadership. I know that I do not have all the answers.

    The more I age, the more I am able to recognize my own ego and to place it aside. A few years of suffering -- of facing failure and learning more about myself (the good, the bad, and the ugly) -- were terribly difficult and wonderfully instructive. As women, we can say that the hardships we face can be seen as assets toward our personal, and spiritual, growth; they help us gain access to the goddesses within -- to our feminine powers. They also help us understand, and empathize with, other people's pain.

    Having been "broken open," I bring increased modesty and respect to my leadership. My diminished ego is definitely an asset to my leadership, as is my focus on purpose. I lead with an eye on our responsibility to others and to the world. My heart, nurtured by my experiences as a mother, daughter, sister, wife and teacher, is one with the hearts of others. As a leader, I know and spread the idea that we are all connected to one another; we must be as compassionate to others as we are to ourselves. We must lead and learn together.

    I am one of five sisters raised by a single mother who despite all odds raised us all to be happy and successful adults. As a woman raised by a powerful woman, I have tremendous drive -- and tremendous faith in possibilities. I believe that we as women have unique ways of knowing. As a leader, I look forward to continuing to cultivate, in myself and others, those intelligences, an openness to the many dimensions of life, and a sense of urgency about caring for others and for the earth.

    Posted by danateacher, 25 July 2010.

  • The following qualities and empower me, as a woman, to be a strong and compassionate leader.

    Simply being born female has taught me that not all is fair, not all are entitled.
    This knowledge, along with a lifetime of doing the work of two for the reward of less than one, makes it far easier to identify others equally disempowered.
    Along with working that much harder merely to survive comes an inherent strength. A strength unafraid of reaching out to others in similar circumstances and join forces towards our mutual empowerment

    Posted by Joanne Jubert, 21 July 2010.

  • "When you act from the highest, you will not only feel the delight of such a connection but others will be uplifted in your presence and get a hit of their own Divine light."
    Unique qualities for compassionate leadership are really quite simple.
    Believe in your dreams.
    Ask for help and receive.
    Face your biggest fears
    Take risks that you know will lead to greater things.
    Trust and empower the people around you; trust in yourself and your abilities; trust your gut; trust that moving forward includes hurts, failure, darkness, as well as growth and achievement; trust that NOTHING is static, NOTHING ever goes as initially planned; trust that not knowing everything at all times is OK, life is unfolding as it is meant to.
    Let go of all preconceived notions- they will hold you back; let go of limiting behaviors; to “let go” is to fear less and love more.
    Accept yours and others flaws, intricacies, gifts, beauty; accept that you have no control over the universe and it will guide you.
    Become to others the same role model that moved you to greater things.
    Impart the wisdom you've learned to others moving along those same paths you once travelled, helping them reach the level of inner comfort and outer freedom you yourself have found.

    If we envision a world where women support each other and help each other find their place in an ever-changing world, then we can become the change we want to see.

    Posted by EdenDeGenova, 21 July 2010.

  • I would say that my unique qualities that empower me have to do with my imperfections. I learned that I was profoundly deaf at the age of 25 and recently got a cochlear implant. I also am a certified music practitioner and I play therapeutic music for patients at a University hospital nearby. The fact that I know what it is like to be isolated, to suffer, to misunderstand people, to miss out on things due to being profoundly deaf has made me have more empathy for others. I feel people open up to me because they see my own humanness. Though I have a hearing disability, I am an accomplished musician... this inspires others who may feel they have a long way to go in their healing journey. I say to them don't give up. There is still so much beauty and love in the world...and I say this with music. The universal language.

    Posted by wrenblue, 21 July 2010.

  • Hi Maria, whoa, the conference is really hotting up, and have you noted how the World Cup is all about the men, maybe they should call it the mens world cup, while the drunks have a good fight, where are the girls is all of this? not one, except the girly girls who got busted for wearing an orange dress and a pair of sun specs i guess then South Africa is no go place for women now or then.

    Here in the Britland, sadly women wont be part of the male dominated and old boys club of the UK Parliment, mind you i dont think they are missing anything, and the whole place is one big rotating spin doctor dispenser, it seems that women once again are being left on the side lines, hope that you really can find a way to real equality.

    Posted by azureoasis, 16 June 2010.