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 was in my 40's, surrounded by twenty-something classmates on our first day of film school, when I had my Minerva Moment. A psychologist came in and introduced us to the concept of archetypes and the Hero's Journey and I was in love - and I don't say this lightly. Then he told us that all story from all time is based on the Hero's Journey and I suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my life. I recognize that stories awaken our powerful instinct to take on the ultimate challenges of life. The story we tell ourselves is everything. I want to show that beyond being self-sacrificing Heroes, we need to be Virgins who know our intrinsic worth and follow the path to self-fulfillment. So I developed a new theory with the hope that it will bring the feminine in balance with the masculine. I'm excited to see how the world might change if we all held a promise to live up to our unique potential.

    Posted by Kim Hudson, 29 May 2010.

  • Im new so Im not sure what to write. On mothers day, no one in my family acknowedged that i was a mom. It hurt of course, but being the "nice" one, i just went on through the day like nothing happened.
    I decided to go into town and get lunch alone, and there was a lady who was not the best dressed, hair was mussed up, and in my heart i thought, i wonder if she is a mom, and has a child somewhere.
    I pulled over and asked her if she needed help or food, and she said she was hungry, so i pointed to a dennys restraurant, and she walked over and we went in to eat.
    She told me that her children, and husband were killed in a fire a year ago and she was never able to recuperate from it. She told me her name, and the address it happened at, and i was in tears, thinking to myself how selfish i was to feel bad that no one told me happy mothers day.
    After we ate, i offered to buy her clothes and put her in a motel for a week or two, and she said no, that God would provide for her. I gave her all the cash i had and went home.
    I looked on the internet, and everything she told me was true, even her picture. I was greatly humbled that day, and in the future, i wont mind if my family doesnt recognize me, but i will cherish that i have them to go home too.

    Posted by joyharbour, 28 May 2010.

  • That moment was when I saw the whole blood flowing down a tube from my arm at the Red Cross. I have donated whole blood and platelets as often as possible since then and I have been glad every time I did it.

    Posted by Debbra, 28 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment came on a sunny Saturday afternoon when I first laid eyes on my twin daughters at a hospital in Woodland Hills, California. They were born healthy and beautiful on that Thanksgiving weekend in 1998. I realized that day how much I love my mother and understand her more now than I did before the girls were born. I made a promise to my daughters that I will make them proud of me and most of all, proud to be born girls. My mother was born the first child of 11 children born to a child bride in Cambodia. My grandmother promised herself and all her daughters that they be educated. My mother became a school teacher and married my dad who was a medical doctor and both were able to leave the country with three small girls (my older sisters and I) before the country fell to the Khmere Rouge Regime. My family immigrated to Canada where my sisters and I grew up with mom working during the day and going to English and typing classes during the evening while my dad studied for his medical exams for foreign graduates. At the age of 9, I didn't understand why my mother needed to take night classes; I just wanted her to be home. She tells my sisters and I to strive to make the next generation better than the last; always drive for improvement in everything and stick together for there is strength in numbers she says. I'm making and keeping the same promise to my daughters that my grandmother made to hers many decades ago.

    Posted by What I believe, I am, 28 May 2010.

  • My moment came when I was 5 years and I wanted to be able to help African womens raised their childrens.
    My young brother was born in 1967, in the same day also an African woman had triplets, two girls and a boy. So my parents despite having six children, help the woman giving to her food, clothe and some money.
    One day my little heart was broken.
    The women was in the backyard of our house and her cry was so sad and so low, that for me, the birds stopped singing and I only was listening to that awful sound. My mother explained to me that one of his daughters had died, for lack of hygiene had caught a disease. Months later the boy died. And my parents could do nothing. In the culture of the women she could not take their children to the doctor. They tried all ways and the third child died.
    That day I cried a lot, was their Birthdays I had lost all three.
    I promised to myself that when I grew up I would help all women of Africa to have schooling in order to be independent and have conditions to educate their children. But we went back to Europe in the 70s and I leaved sad and knew that never again could not ever help those womens.
    My parents explained that we'd have to live in Europe for the rest of our lives.

    During 34 years I have not forgotten my promise, would be achieved, and so today I'm working in a NGO, and We Have a project to women's in DRCongo, who help them get education, a job and raise their children, in peace.

    Posted by auzie, 28 May 2010.

  • I am writing "My Minerva Moment" on behalf of my mother who for the past 24 years has been an English teacher in South Central Los Angeles. Every school day, she commutes from Long Beach, Ca. to Los Angeles to teach at a school where children often come into class without pencils, without paper, and sometimes without a will to learn. But every day she comes prepared with activities that span the arts, from drawing stories to acting out parts in Shakespeare plays in an effort to teach them what they will need for life and to get them interested in the arts.
    On numerous occasions I have gone with her an office supply store to help her pick out pens, paper, colored pencils, and markers that the children could never afford and the school often doesn't have. Most recently, a student from the past (and now a college graduate) came up to her and thanked her for helping her get into the magnet program at the school which opened the door for college. She has always been an advocate for working hard, going to college, and doing something meaningful with the life you have.
    What my mother has accomplished in her life won't end up on TV or in the movies, but I have learned the most important life lesson from her: love what you do and do it with passion.
    She will be retiring next year, and I'm sad to say that the school will lose an amazing teacher.

    Posted by wonderingheights, 28 May 2010.

  • My mother raised me to make a difference. My Minerva Moment came when I was young. It was common for dinner table discussions to include current events. As a result, I was the six year old who watched on television as hostages were held for 444 days in Iran. Once freed, I wouldn’t go to bed until the plane landed in Germany. I clearly remember not wanting people to be held from their loved ones and hurt. I wanted to change the world so it didn’t happen again.

    I tried to change the world by working in Fundraising and Development for two non-profits. I transitioned to the profit sector and kept volunteering but that didn’t feel like enough. Nineteen months ago I was laid off and decided, it’s time to change the world, or my small corner of it. I’ve completed various women’s political advocacy trainings and was recently selected as a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee 2010 Campaign Fellow. I’ve taken another step along my journey to making a difference and helping to change the world. I understand the work will be hard and the rewards few. However, small victories that will make a difference will make it all worthwhile.

    Posted by JenniferErland, 27 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment came to me the summer I turned eighteen. I am now forty-seven and the amazing thing that happened to me back then is still so fresh in my mind it feels like yesterday. I was struggling through an abusive relationship, drugs, alcohol and growing up. I asked God every day to show me a sign. I prayed and prayed and begged for just one sign to let me know he was listening to me, to let me know he was really there. After all, how could I truly be happy until I knew for sure. It was a long time coming, this sign. I spent hours alone, waiting for it and as you can probably guess, it came at a time when I was distracted and not consciously anticipating it. I was living in an old rent house in Texas with my brother and his wife and infant son. This house must have been a hundred years old, which is to say there was a lot wrong with it. There were doorknobs on only half of the rooms and one day I found an old glass doorknob. I turned it over and over in my hands, imagining the people whose hands had touched it and which door in the house it belonged to. I marveled at how beautiful it was and how the light shone through it, it was almost as if I were in a trance, I shrugged it off and actually thought how odd it was that I found myself so enthralled by this stupid doorknob. A few days later, I was watching the baby and decided to lay him on the master bedroom floor while I ducked in the bathroom for a quick shower. We were alone in the house so I decided to close the bedroom door. As soon as the door latched I realized there was no door knob on this door. And it suddenly came to me, this must be why I was acting all weird over that glass doorknob. This must be the room it goes to. I swear to you, at the onset of that thought, I heard a faint little bell, so faint it didn't quite register. At that, my next thought was Oh God, this is the time he's going to show himself to me. And that's when I heard the second little bell, not much more distinct than the first. I just stood there frozen, the baby playing on the floor, everything normal except that I had locked myself in a room and it felt like something extraordinary was about to happen. I thought I saw movement from the corner of my eye and turned in its direction, movement so slight it compared to the first bell I dismissed as my imagination. Of course nothing was there. I scanned the room once again waiting, knowing. Movement caught my eye once again in the same place as before and I saw a lampshade move ever so slightly. Of course at the time my mind refused to believe what it saw yet I was sure something more was coming. As soon as my attention shifted from the lamp I saw it, my eyes were drawn to a poster on the wall above it. It was only one sentence. It said "You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true". Even now, I don't know what it really means, but at the time I sat down and I cried joyous tears of relief and understanding. I felt like my life was worth living if only for the power of the truth, the ability I have to share it and be an example for those who might be lost in the dark, who might need to find their own sign.

    Posted by RachelRachel10, 26 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment: "Be true to yourself, but do it with kindness and consideration for others." As a 24 year old gay woman living paycheck to paycheck with nothing on the career horizon, out of nowhere this phrase shot into my consciousness. The simple acceptance of the phrase allowed me to pursue my degree in Law Enforcement - a career path that had been quashed by my parents years earlier.

    Greeted by much public debate, in 1992 I was hired as the first woman on an entirely white male, 117 officer, police department in Rochester, MN. Over the course of my career I have taken a lead role with the recruitment and hiring of minorities and women to the department; wrote departmental response procedures to acts of sexual and domestic assault; been honored by receiving both local and state awards for my contributions in the area of sexual assault response and investigation and currently serve as the vice chair for the Olmsted County Human Rights Commission.

    The RPD currently employs 16 female, several openly gay and lesbian, four African Americans, three Hispanic, one Cambodian and one Native American officers. My contributions to my community and department would not be possible if I was not living true to myself and acting with kindness and consideration for others.

    Posted by eliump, 26 May 2010.

  • Looking back, sometimes I think,despite my plans and dreams, it's the small things that I did that changed, possibly saved someones life. But when I read this, the incident that lead to more,was I met a young heroin addict who was 4 months pregnant. She was going to try and find someone to abort the child. I took her to my house, helped her get clean, took care of her, set her up with with adoption lawyer (she was 18, I was 21) found a loving home for her son, stayed with her through her doctors appointments and was at the hospital when she deliver the boy,who was then handed over to the new parents. She then stayed clean, went to school, boy thrived in new home. Before and after this time, I helped a lot a girls, and still do. From getting them on tract, to finding them jobs, getting them in school.. I have come to believe after all these years, young girls have always come to me, confided in me... but because I was so young, and she was so young, I knew this would always be a part of the tapestry in my life.

    Posted by raerae67, 26 May 2010.