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
  • I remember in 3rd grade being fascinated with our classroom study about slavery in America, the underground railroad, and the genius of George Washington Carver. Being Asian American at 9 years old in a suburban town, I had no idea that I was even a "minority" until the lesson about Japanese American internment camps was taught. What was interesting was that my 4th grade teacher Mr. Hill was suspended and the parents agreed that it was inappropriate for him to go outside of our textbooks to teach us something he felt was important in American history. It as at this point, I knew I was different but I didn't have a voice. After finishing college, I founded my own nonprofit organization supporting Asian Americans theatre artists. Now almost 20 years later and after consulting for many other organizations and working for a notable philanthropist in my area, I have realized that the girl who questioned discrimination at 9 has empowered me to fight against the injustice to mankind that still exists today.

    Posted by mikster, 1 May 2010.

  • 1994. I was working in organized labor: strategizing, writing press releases. Meanwhile, front line organizers waged battle with newly organized registered nurses in Orange County, NY. An NLRB election certified them 1199 members, legally entitled to bargain collectively for fair wages. But management refused to come to the table, permanently replacing these women from the only workplace they’d known, in a rust-belt economy where they were often sole breadwinner for their families. This was a Catholic hospital; management was nuns; I a practicing Catholic. I knew Church teaching on organizing: it is a right, essential to human dignity. I acted. With Caesar Chavez as my inspiration, I pitched a Fast for Justice. Just four months into the job, my Latina EVP gave my passion for justice free reign. Two women would fast: one nurse, formerly a Franciscan nun, and our female V.P. I scoured parishes to support vigils; pitched everywhere. Mostly, I made way for these extraordinary women, who’d held together for nine months, to have their eloquent say. Three weeks into the fast, Charles Gibson featured it nationally on CBS. Five days later, as nurses spoke of transformed lives, the Cardinal called the hospital. Then: Redemption.

    Posted by parradelleode, 1 May 2010.

  • I've recently been doing alot of work on changing my "mindset", which has made a tremendous shift in my life. I have struggled with an eating disorder for quite a while, and it wasn't until I began to really step it up and do the work on shifting how I "think" that I began to overcome the battles that take over my mind and how I eat.
    Fast forward to today, about a year after doing intense research on the law of attraction, the power of positive thinking and spirituality and I am a much more balanced soul. I have been blessed by God to have discovered such an incredible discovery of empowering my mind. I have taken the work I've done on myself and am now passing it on to others through fitness. I am now teaching spinning classes here in NYC, and am empowering, inspiring and leading groups of people to better themselves. I inspire people by encouraging them to have an "intent" on why they came to class on that particular day. I use powerful phrases to keep them in the mindset of a champion, a warrior, and to do this ride for themselves and make it about them. I create an environment that puts the power of belief in your mind as you ride during class. I am changing peoples lives with each spinning class through vision, belief and passion!

    Posted by ginafata, 1 May 2010.

  • The "first moment" we make a difference, being aware that we are all human and need each other everyday. As far back as I can remember, I have been sensitive and compassionate with a 6th sense to recognize when someone needs a helping hand, word of wisdom or roof over their head. My intuitiveness reminds me of the lady on Star Trek Next Generation who is Betazoid. An early life experience that comes to mind is when I was a counselor at Camp Sugar Pine counseling 4th-6th graders; one of the girls in my group had a serious heart condition her family wanted her to have as normal a life as possible. She wanted so much to be able to do everying the rest of the campers could do. I remember when all of the children were playing with the Medicine Ball and she wanted desperately to play with the other children. I got the staffs approval and she joined in the activity. You should have seen her eyes light up when she joined in and began playing with the other children. This was a stellar moment. The way her face lit up a Hallmark moment.

    Posted by Shelly Conley, 1 May 2010.

  • When I was 11 I began to recognize how inhumanely animals are treated. I stopped eating meat and then teamed up with a friend to start raising money for PETA. We baked coffee cake (the recipe for which she'd learned in her 5th grade home ec. class) to sell to our neighbors. In exchange for the money we raised, Peta started sending us their newsletter. I became more informed. Now, looking back, I realize that that was My Minerva Moment, when I began to take an interest in and a responsibility for my wider community. I used what was available to me to improve a situation I found inhumane (the abuse of animals). While my interests have shifted to women and people, that recognition of my own ability to make things better remains.

    Posted by meliayates, 1 May 2010.