My Minerva Moment



Since 2004, The Women’s Conference has honored extraordinary women with the annual Minerva Awards. These Remarkable Women & Remarkable Legacies have recognized a problem, identified the solution, and pursued it with strength, courage, perseverance and compassion.

Each one of us has experienced that moment when we first realized that we have the ability to make a difference and transform the life of someone we love, someone less fortunate or someone in need. That's your Minerva Moment!

So tell us –

When did you realize for the first time that you could make a difference? What was your Minerva Moment?  

Share your story in 200 words or less in the comments section below.


My Minerva Moment
  • On a fateful morning in December 2001, a hospital loaded me, along with the promise of a home, into a taxi and dumped me in the parking lot of a Santa Monica, California social service agency. Standing there among men and women whose faces I was truly seeing for the first time, I realized my life no longer worked. For years, I had been trapped in a revolving door of hospitals and institutions, receiving ever-changing psychiatric diagnoses and swallowing a pharmacy of cures. I had had three series of ECT. Yet, there I was, homeless again. Then, I met a man whose name I have long since forgotten but whose face is permanently etched on my heart. He led me inside, where I met my first case manager. In her eyes, I saw the miracle of hope. Homelessness is not a choice. It is a circumstance which will steal one’s dignity and crush one’s soul if given the opportunity. Today, I have the honor of working for the agency that empowered me to rebuild my life. Today, I have the honor of, hopefully, giving others the hope that my first case manager gave me.

    Posted by mttsrul, 13 May 2010.

  • While my minerva moment happened almost 20 years ago I did not act on it until this year with the development of my own business, Business Women's Advisory Coucil. My minerva moment was when I was in the early stages of my career while working for a large NY based retail chain. I had a high level job in Human Resources and remember thinking one day that I would work with women to make them stronger business women. I spent the next 30 years working around my passion and moment but never fully embraced it until 2010.
    I beleive that the years after my moment added feul to my inner fire and kept moving me toward my passion. Today I offer women entrpreneurs the opportunity to meet with their peers to discuss their business challenges and successes and to get the support and help they need to be successful in business.
    A moment can come anytime, just make sure you know when the right time is to act on it!

    Posted by rrussell, 13 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment happened when I realized that having a disability was only a circumstance and not a mindset.

    I was born with Muscular Dystrophy and since 2005 have ambulated with a cane. I was often frustrated by things that compromised my mobility such as stairs, uneven walkways, etc. But it wasn't until I started using my cane that I began to pay more attention to this frustration. I realized that I could sit and stew in frustration about lack of access issues or I could transmute that energy into positive agency. I decided I would undertake the latter.

    I am now a disability rights advocate and sit on a commission that raises disability awareness, furthers the rights and works toward improving the overall quality of life for people with disabilities!

    It will be 20 years in July since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a key piece of legislation ensuring the civil rights of the disabled. Many strides have been made with many more to come and I'm ever confident we'll get there!

    Posted by Heather927, 13 May 2010.

  • Realizing that you can make a difference is a gift from the universe. I don’t think I’ve had one moment, but I recall at least two moments in my life when I needed to be reminded that my service to others makes a difference—in my life and in theirs.

    As a teenager I helped to support my family as we coped with the terminal illness of my step-father. He came home one day and had an attack from symptoms of sickle cell anemia. We didn’t’ know that is what it was then because he’d never been diagnosed before and he never recovered from that first attack. There were months of intensive care treatment and intensive in-home care treatments—this all began during my senior year of high school. I made a difference in the life of my family by working as a bank teller and staying home to attend a local college. I declined several offers from colleges in other states and out of town. I supported my mother and two sisters. My mother, sisters and I forged a bond during that time that sustains me to this day. My youngest sister, a new PhD and Assistant Professor, told me that because I stayed at home during that time, it made all the difference in her life. She told me this as she achieved her highest degree …I knew I was making a difference, but I didn’t know how big of a difference I was making at the time.

    Today, I know I can make a difference in the lives of young people. I volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in my community. I teach the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program with a focus on public speaking. This is important because I’m between jobs. During this time, I realized that I can still do what I love; that I can continue to give back to the community that I live in. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that I can create a good life in these “in-between” times and continue to be of service to others. I can use my life to make a difference in the good times, the bad times, and in the “in-between” times.

    Posted by Mignonne , 13 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment started in 2007, when I decided to become an entrepreneur. I am starting my own Magazine Busines, because I enjoy motivating and encouraging other women to hold on to their dreams. My Magazine will make a difference in someone life, because it's a vision of me, and how I persevered to make my dreams come true. I know that God has blessed all of us with a gift. My goal is too used my gift to reach out to other women that migt be struggling with starting their own business, or have a dream, but that's all it is. I am committed to making sure my Magazine's serve the informational needs of women who are interested in reaching their goals, beauty, fashion, lifestyle and entertainment. My Magazine is dedicated to Average Women Doing Amazing Things. I know that all women aren't "business minded", but each of us has a "gift" from God and I believed that these special gifts has made a difference in somebody life. My goal is to shine the spotlight on these women, so that their story can be motivating to someone who is trying to achieved success or make a difference in their community. I would love to meet Maria Shriver, she is a true "DIVA".

    Posted by veronica038, 13 May 2010.

  • A Beautiful Change
    A few years ago I researched play equipment for our backyard for my son who has a disability. After thinking about this unique play set, I knew other children with disabilities would also enjoy such a playground. Roseville, California, my home, has over fifty playgrounds, yet none of them was universally accessible. About the same time, I met a grandmother in our community whose granddaughter wanted a special swing to accommodate her needs. We put our heads together and asked our city to build an accessible playground for our community. The city saw the need and answered it; they knocked our socks off! Three years later, we have two accessible playgrounds and one more is on its way. I am glad I listened to my heart and helped develop a unique playground for all, giving children with disabilities more freedom and independence. Additionally, parents and grandparents, regardless of their own abilities, are able to join their kids in a whole new way. It has truly been a dream come true. My son and I love to go to the playground to swing and watch all the kids play. It brings tears to my eyes every time.

    Posted by LNewton, 12 May 2010.

  • The You-Tube video of the young girl, Neda Agah-Soltan being brutally shot gave me my Minerva moment. At 26 years old, I've heard the call to make a difference throughout my life but the Iranian elections in June of last year gave me my true Minerva moment.
    These young women were putting their lives on the line for freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. I can't comprehend why being born with certain chromosomes objects you to certain restrictions in parts of the world. The restriction of an education, of the right to vote, to hold public office, etc...

    These women that are my age are yearning for something that every human on this planet deserves no matter who are where they are...that is freedom and the most important human right.

    The courage of the youth in Iran, inspired me, humbled me, and moved me. As they protested the streets in danger, I was in my comfy home. How could I sit here in safety and remain silent? How are they any different than I am? I decided then I must be an advocate and have been fighting for them since.

    To whom much is given, much is expected.

    Posted by globallysavvy, 12 May 2010.

  • In Dec. 2008 after being w/o power for 2 weeks, my minerva moment, along with the help of a full moon and a bit of PMS, all kicked in! I had watched as the days went by and we saw NO response from our utility company and realize it was time to be an empowered consumer. After seeing our Governor bring in another utility to restore power, I started a petition doing hardcopy pet.drives and an online version and collected over 6000 signatures in a little over a month. I then pursued our legislators and with their help delivered the petition to our Gov. to ask for our utilities removal. Since that time the grassroots movement group has been effective in helping to bring a new law into place named after the utility so that what happened could never happen again. Additionally we have continued our efforts with bill drives, protests and appearing at the Dept.of Public utilities hdqtrs. to testify against rate hikes. We continue to advocate for competition in utilities thru new legislation which is currently now being debated in our statehouse.

    Posted by cclarkre, 12 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment came in 1998, when I was working as a adminstrator of a residential care home for abused and neglected children. The home was closing in the summer of 1998, and one of the residents, let's call him "Mickie." "He said," please don't leave me!" "Would you please adopt, my brother and I?" "We do
    not have a mommie." "We do not even know, what her face looks, like."
    A Minerva Moment flashed, since the home was closing, I was going to stay at home, and be a stay at home mom, with my
    two sons. (ages 11 and 13). However, I had worked at the
    residential facility for many years. I thought that I had made a difference in many children life, but now I had a opportunity to give two children, who were also developmentally disabled and had learning disabilities, their own family. Both boys that I adopted, were 11 and 13, the exact same age as my two sons.

    Posted by Elder Denise Turner, 12 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment began in 2007 while my husband and I were planning our wedding. We decided that we wanted to donate the money we received in wedding gifts to an organization helping children in Africa, but the question was, which one? We wanted to be sure we chose an organization that would assure us of exactly how each dollar would be spent. I shared this intention with friends, who told me of their experience with Joshua Orphan Care Trust in Malawi. The work that Joshua was doing sounded like what we were looking for, so we contacted the executive director of Joshua Orphan Care Trust in Malawi, Sylvia. I then began a relationship with Sylvia over the internet and after the wedding we wired the contribution to the Joshua Orphan Care Trust. The money was used to purchase three acres of land where Sigerege feeding center was built. In 2008, my husband and I had the opportunity to go to Malawi, visit the land and meet the children who go there each day. This was one of the best days of my life. I was so inspired by the work being done, that I decided to establish Friends of Joshua Orphan Care in Malawi, Africa as a non-profit in the US. We received our 501c3 status in December 2009. It would be an honor to win these tickets, meet Maria Shriver, network for Joshua and hear the speakers share their wisdom.

    Posted by lglockler, 12 May 2010.