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
  • It's been a long time but I recall one day while at school. I was thinking about my wardrobe, or lack of it. As a stared at a friend in my classroom, it hit me. I wasn't so bad off after all. My friend has even less than I. I noticed she never attended extracurricular school activities, parties, nothing that would involve "dressing up". I started talking to her more and discovered she came form a family with several girls/siblings and from a ver low income. I decided then that instead of complaining I'd pick out those clothes I thought she'd like and give them to her. She was lovely enough to never reject my anything I gave her. I made sure it was the best I had. We became good friends and she later was able to complete and AA and became a teacher.
    After all these years, I find myself helping co workers thru their struggles whether financial or emotional. I now have better a financial situation and have more information on where they can help themselves.

    Posted by petitesandra, 5 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment happened as I was sitting at my computer several years ago. I received an e-mail carrying very disturbing information. The e-mail informed me of a death of a young woman that I had only known for a short time, who had become a friend and co-laborer, in fighting for the rights of incarcerated youth. We met through a mutual friend. Both of our sons had made some pretty poor choices and had been incarcerated. She and I both decided that we would get involved with bringing about a change on behalf of our young people. When the e-mail arrived, I certainly had a problem digesting its content. This young woman had barely lived and was actively pursuing her future in carrying out her desire to be an serious engine of change by attending City College. As I begin to obsorb the facts on the e-mail, I immediately felt this deep pain in my heart. I began to cry as I thought of her son. I thought about how my son would feel if it were me. I could not shake the sadness for this young man. It took some time, but I finally made contact with this young man. He and I bonded right away and now I am his G-MOM and he is my son. I have recently started a support group for Mothers of Incarcerated Sons or (MOMs). We now have several sons that we support in various ways.

    Posted by LaMOMs, 5 May 2010.

  • I'm 37, a wife and mother of two, and I have worked for non-profits and foundations for over 17 years. Whether working on the Lower East Side with immigrants or working on funding projects for the Rockefeller Foundation, I always felt compelled to help others. However, it wasn't until I started by job at Baby Buggy that I felt that I could transform a life. At Baby Buggy, we served some of the poorest families in NYC by giving them donations of cribs, strollers +other essential items. Giving a mother the tools she needs to keep her baby safe and protected is truly a transformative experience. Although they may seem like simple items-- the gift of a crib, for a baby who was once put to sleep in a box or a drawer-- these donations can potentially save lives. They can also provide peace of mind for parents and the ability to save money for other critical items like food and rent. While there are so many issues of concern to me-- the environment, war, human trafficking in Asia and hunger in Africa-- I know that I can make the most impact by helping my neighbors in New York City (where over 500,000 children under the age of 5 live in poverty) in this veryy real and tangible way. I've now come to feel that so many of these other problems could be prevented with early interventions of our most vulnerable population: babies born into poverty in our own neighborhoods.

    Posted by babybuggy, 5 May 2010.

  • “...Well I was in the [bathroom] stall overhearing peoples’ conversations. I get out to wash my hand and asked a woman with a nametag (Shoot... did I need one?), “So what’s your organization?” She says that she is with the Global Observatory, an organization that serves as a communication platform for climate change. I tell her about my Global Echo Online Forum and how I use a relatable approach to bring global issues to a broader demographic! She said, “We NEED you, let me introduce you to some of my colleagues”! So forget Miracle on 34th was happening right then and there in the WOMEN’S RESTROOM! I had realized that the miracle was that I had showed up..." My Minerva Moment happened in the most unlikely of places, the women’s bathroom at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers during The Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in September 2009. Please read more about, the obstacles I faced, fears I overcame, what exciting things happened that evening and the amazing people I met, by visiting, and clicking on "Be The Change"!

    Posted by Birungi Ives, 5 May 2010.

  • My name is Alfiatunnur and Dedek is my nick name...
    Unforgetten moments drove me to make a change..

    I was about 15 years old when I opened the door for a mother with 2 children and asking for help. She needed to feed her two children.

    When I was 23 years old, my friend and I worked for my local social department. We helped the government to provide houses for homeless..
    We travelled a lot to collect the data for homeless..
    I was stopping at small house when I saw 6 children came out to answer my greeting..
    It is unbelievable..
    Six children with very very small home...
    They let me to came in and took note,,,
    I saw two mattress laid on the ground, there was no floor..
    close to the mattresses, the kitchen..
    I was about to cried...
    Two weeks after my visiting...a huge tsunami disaster struck Aceh, Indonesia...
    then my friends and I, we were trying to collect some food or whatever the victim needed...
    Several days after tsunami I visited temporary refugees camp...
    It was unbelievable..One tent could be used by hundreds people..
    what touched me tho most...when I saw children were crying and have no relative anymore. Those experiences have inspired me to create a better world for mothers and children in my hometown..
    Since 5 years ago, I begin to work to persuade my local government to help me to make my dreams come true..
    Fortunately, my local government supported me by provided 9 hectars lands for community service projects..
    Then, one of International Non Government Organization agreed to fund the building..
    We provide the mothers from rural area to re start their bussiness after tsunami disaster, and we provide the houses for the orphanage children. Hopefully, in the long future I can see those mothers and children with a better life, and I'll be the person who keep smiling for you all, cause your bright future is my only dream..


    Posted by Dedek, 4 May 2010.

  • My name is Jasenka Šabanović, 34, and I have spent years in the civil war in Bosnia...and years as a refugee in different countries, finally ending up in USA...and for many of those years I was looking to find happiness, until I finally realized that it is not a destination, but a journey.

    My Minerva moment/happiness was in realization that my family was with me, that it had stopped shooting, that we were living in peace, that we were living in democracy, and that I can trust again. Happiness is having a purpose, mine is PEACE.

    I work as a life coach now, and every moment I can spend supporting others create that peace is gratifying. Now I wake up every morning excited about life and the people that cross my path. I am grateful to have come across people that supported me to turn my biggest pain into realizing my purpose - PEACE. My life now is about teaching others how to turn their biggest obstacles into learning ground and create purpose.

    I realize that going through war, learning different languages/ cultures, trying to find my identity for so many years, had a purpose, and that is to share my experiences to support others find peace. And my goal is to reach as many people as I can to make a difference, so we can stop wars, and children do not have to go through what I went through.

    Posted by Jasenka, 4 May 2010.

  • Over the years I always volunteered with various non-profit organizations. When my son went off to college I felt I needed to add something special to my life and volunteer to help children in need. I spent the next five years volunteering for Caring for Babies with Aids in Los Angeles, a shelter for children affected and infected with HIV. My Minerva moment came one day when I had gone to the house for my regular time with the children and heard that a new family had come in with five children and their mother, the father had been killed. I walked in and meet one of the little girls in the family, I said hello, she put her hands on my face and asked me my name. She still had so much trust after all she had seen and been through. I was lucky enough to spend quality time with her. Actually, I felt she did more for me than I could have done for her. I will never forget these children, each were so unique, I felt so fortunate to had these kids pass through my life.

    Posted by Debtalk, 4 May 2010.

  • As a photographer, through my lens I capture images of children. When you look at the photos I take you see children through my eyes. You see freckles, bruises, tears and giggles, but it is through the eyes of the children themselves that we see what is truly important. To see the world through the eyes of a child is to see a world filled with wonder, joy, excitement, love, purity, peace, curiosity and the celebration of simple moments. I believe that all children are full of such wonder, no matter if they are healthy or ill. Five years ago I began a non-profit, focused on capturing portraits for families that have a child with a potential life limiting illness. Now, with a cadre of over two hundred professional photographers in California, we capture precious images of more than 600 families each year. Together, we have discovered that the spirit of a child does not hide in their illness. Through our lenses, when pointed at these courageous children, we capture a spirit that radiates hope, courage and an unbreakable connection with their families. We capture those wonderful moments that will provide indelible memories to share with others.

    Posted by Karen, 4 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment came when I spoke at our National Book Tour for the Professional Women"s Network in 2009. I shared my opinion of leadership skills with the audience. This was the first time my daughter had experienced the impact of me speaking after a long journey of life changes. While I have spoken years before in here senior year at school on career choices. Now 14 years later, I spoke on taking responsibility for your actions, goals, influence and gratitude. The speech was well received by the audience but my daughter was overwhelmed at the profound way the audience reacted. She merely said with tear filled eyes " I am so proud of you". I had finally reached the most important person in my life with my words and child. As people came up to me with the same tearful reaction I could not have imagined that I could touch so many lives. Now it is I who am grateful.

    Posted by rmedel, 4 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment is so clear to me. My sister had just died. Her daughter had found her on the floor already showing evidence that she had been there a few days. When I got the call, I was in disbelief. We had not had a lot of death in our immediate family. I begin to think, how can I support my niece? She was just finishing up her summer courses and was moving into her senior year in college. She was left with no support - emotionally or financially. How do you replace that 'Mommy' love. I come from a familiy that does not talk about a lot of things. Needless to say, what could I say or do at this moment. My niece is my sister's only child and she is stunned and just going through the motions. I am not equip to deal with this situation. As we made the preparations for my sister's funeral, it became very evident. Our family would have to come together to build a net around her. We had to help her make it through. So through all of the planning, to the memorial service, to her getting back to school, ordering graduation announcements, and so on. We all would just have to be there to support her. You never know in this life what you will be called to do. You just have to do it.

    Posted by getonwithit, 4 May 2010.