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
  • One of the moments in my life was when I chose to raise my Granddaughter when she was 3 years old she is now 9 years old or as she says Grandma I am 9 1/2 :)... And it was a choice I would do all over again...

    Posted by liberty12, 22 May 2010.

  • When I slammed into an open door of truth that pulled down the black curtain on my excepting and living a lie. The lie: 'A diagnosis, of mild mental retardation is a life sentence of a dead woman walking.' I was told i was nothing, and I'd always be nothing, you're strange, weird, crazy, half-breed etc...etc...etc... "You'll never be able to read or write. No man will ever want you, etc...etc...etc... You'll never, never, never, matter". The passed physical, sexual, and emotional abuse is my muse for living 'ALIVE'.
    When I saw things that others could not, but were definitely there and proven so, I KNEW. When what I had to say stopped women from beating their children, committing crimes, and giving them the courage they needed to CHANGE, I KNEW. When this so called DUMMY, created and started teaching, JOURNALIZING: A SPIRITUAL QUEST at the ANN DOUGLAS REHABILITATION CENTER (Micheal Douglas mom), and Created a faith-based S.O.A.P. and women leaped into successful lifestyles of Change, I KNEW. When I started teaching cognitive, art therapy, Spiritual health and recreational sessions at the MS SOCIETY OF AMERICA, I KNEW. When I stop trying to justify my value/worth, financially along side loved ones expectation's, I KNEW. When i stopped waiting for someone else to jump-start my life, and my passion to help others proved stronger, I KNEW.
    Does the lie try to invade my truth from time to time? Heck yes!!! When it arrives, it is quickly (most of the time) escorted to the door past my certificates of accomplishments. I've never received a college degree but, life experiences and surviving them have made me a women who embraces her uniqueness. Who holds on with great expectation, for the next Godly gifted wrapped collection of experiences for the furtherance of greatness for others. When I couldn't be aborted, I think at some point even Mom knew, "That child is here to be a WORLD CHANGER". Have I arrived? "No". Will I make it? "Yes". How do I know? When I was suppose to have died several times, I KNEW.


    Posted by stephsways, 21 May 2010.

  • Shaking with fear I tried not to look down. I’d decided months earlier to do this - a flying trapeze lesson. So I really committed, making it part of an intensive coaching session that I planned for some clients, a mother and her daughter.

    I revealed the plan, my mild fear of heights and said I’d be participating in the lesson with them. After all, how could I expect them to try something I was not willing to try myself? I think they felt better – like they wouldn’t be walking the plank alone.

    Navigating a divorce, my client was afraid of losing relationships with her children, had little confidence she could take care of herself and thought her best days were behind her. Fear had become her close companion.

    Off we went, trembling yet boldly, where none of us had gone before. Afterward my client said that before she thought at age 50 she was too old and this gave her a knew outlook on what she could still do. The concept of possibilities started creeping into her awareness.

    Her daughter exclaimed “now I feel like I can do anything!” She’s 15. Witnessing their new perspective was my Minerva moment.

    Posted by Loree Bischoff, 21 May 2010.

  • It happened one day after I had finished my Master degree and licensing. Not believing that I really had the skills to be a Therapist - I was told to "fake" it. Yes. "fake it. So, in my drive to move forward and honor all the wiork I had done - babysitters I had obtained, dinners I made ahead of time and papers to write and deliver, I took a deep breath and saw my first clients.
    Well, to mu shock they believed I knew what I was doing. For the first time I felt like a true professional - that I had not tricked anyone into believing I was a competant professional (even though, very green).
    When I left the building after 4 therapy sessions with patients that first day, I remember skipping accross the parking lot and saying to myself, "I can do this", "I really can do this." The joy and satisfaction I felt was greater than anything I had felt to that point in my life - because I really had done this myself - and it felt really right and good.
    I have been a therapist for 19 years and I still love listening and coaching and helping others work out the seemingly obstacles that keep them from beind their best. I always remember my mother saying, "If you want something bad enough, you can get it" and "If you don't acheive it, just maybe you really did not want it." Thanks MOM - I Love you always - even though you are no longer here on earth.

    Posted by Geudi, 21 May 2010.

  • The first time I truly believed I could make a difference in someone’s life was back in 2005, the day I coordinated a day of professional development conference for Administrative Professionals from our organization. I started the conference on a shoestring budget and only 10 vendors and 65 attendees. The idea of a day of professional development was not something that administrators were completely sold on in the beginning. It was viewed by many, even our administrative assistants, as a waste of valuable time away from their jobs. But attitudes changed to joy and excitement. Many claimed they just felt appreciated. People came to me in tears and expressed how attending the conference made them feel like their position in the organization was valued and respected by our administrators. Our conference now includes our administrative professionals, coordinators, administrators and assistants from our 34 school districts. We have over 350+ attending our conference. The conference includes speakers, success stories, workshops on health & wellness, beauty & fitness, technology skills; a vendor fair; an awards program.
    My moment came as I realized that an idea backed up with a vision can become reality in order to make a difference in this world.

    Posted by T. Trevino, 21 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment began to flicker in me about 30 years ago. I was Xmas shopping at a local mall. They had a Xmas tree there with little notes on the tree. The idea was to choose a note and on the note it would have something an elderly person would need at the local convalescent home. I ended up getting a man's robe and slippers to donate. At the time I thought it was a great idea.

    It hit home moreso when my grandma was in a convalescent home a few years later. There were so many forgotten people at Xmas in the home. Many had no family or their family was far away.

    People tend to always remember the children at Xmas and the seniors are often forgotten. I did a "Gifts for the Elderly" program for people to donate for the holidays. I would put boxes in the office I was working at just like they do for Toys for Tots. It was a small thing to do and I got a very good response from my coworkers.

    In the past five or so years my dog (truly my best friend) and I would visit the convalescent homes as a therapy dog. It's amazing to see people's eyes light up when you visit. They really look forward to the visit. The sad thing is many times we may be their only visit for the whole month.

    I'd like to remind people to please remember the elderly in your community. One little visit will make their day.

    Please don't forget them during the holidays. A gift is always welcomed and appreciated more than you will ever know. I've found that many of the convalescent homes are helpful in letting you know who in their care has no family and what they'd really like as a Xmas gift.

    Make friends with the elderly. You'll not only help them, but it's quite rewarding for yourself as well. :)

    Posted by CSRChar, 20 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment was a gradual process that began when I was nine years old. It was the first time I had ever been to Washington D.C. and I was touring the First Lady exhibit at the Smithsonian and I feel in love. Even though I knew who the Clintons were and I could remember Barbara Bush a little, before that moment I never really thought of the President’s wife too much. My interest in the exhibit wasn’t shared with the group but as we continued to tour the museum all I could think about was the exhibit (mostly the pretty dresses) and begged someone to take me back. Before leaving the museum I bought a book on the First Ladies and read it cover to cover on the ride back to Michigan. My interests at first were pretty superficial. I thought Jacqueline Kennedy was gorgeous. Over the next several months I read every First Lady book I could get my hands on. I memorized all of their names in chronological order and could tell you everything about them. In time my interest grew and I began to admire the actions of the First Ladies and not just their pretty dresses. I began to read more about Eleanor Roosevelt and strongly admired her advocacy for civil rights and the poor.

    By the time I was in middle school my interest changed from the First Ladies to their husbands and American history as a whole. Again my vanity played a role and as I learned more about Eleanor Roosevelt I learned that her husband was elected four times. That was a very impressive number and I decided that if he could be elected so many times he must be the best president. I haven’t changed my mind about that but I now have substantial evidence to support my claim. The Roosevelt’s tireless effort for the country and the world did and continues to amaze and inspire me.

    Although my superficial self had grown some I still admired Jackie O as a fashion icon and enjoyed learning about her and her family. I remember reading about President Kennedy’s inauguration speech – “Ask not what your country can do for you-- ask what you can do for your country.” That has been my motto and life goal since I was 12. I know that I can do great things and I believe it’s my duty to make the world a better place for others. I don’t feel complete unless I’m volunteering my time to an organization and I feel guilty if I don’t donate to my charity of the month. I’m far from being financially rich but I’m rich in so many other ways that I can’t imagine not sharing my good fortunate with others.

    I’m not always a beacon of good cheer but I try to be. And when I get into a slump I think of all the people I’ve read about and studied and who I admire like the Roosevelts and very, very sincerely the Shrivers. Sargent and Eunice Shriver inspire me civilly but spiritually as well. I admire their loyalty to the Church and that they went to services every day. I even tried to go to church every day for one summer. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have the energy of the Roosevelts and Shrivers but I’m working on it. I’m working on helping build up the city of Detroit which needs it so badly and is where I grew up and currently work. And I know with faith in God, the fine example of the Rs and Ss and the inspiring works of J.F.K. that I can do it.

    Posted by 21860 Manor Court Apartment 1006, 20 May 2010.

  • I remember when my abusive first husband took out his box cutter. It was tweny-one years ago, but the details are as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

    I will never know whether he intended to kill me, injure me or simply intimidate me. For the first eight months of our marriage I would always submit, cry, cower and wait for his remorse and apologies.

    But on that day in the spring of 1989, my survival instinct finally kicked in.

    I grabbed hold of his wrist as he stood before me, in his silent rage, the blade pointed towards me. He was a fairly short, slight, but immensely strong man. I was 24, he was 31.

    I held on to his wrist and looked him straight in the eye. He was stunned. I let go. He reached up and cut a chunk of my long hair. I was in shock, but relieved that he had cut my hair and not my face or body.

    That day was the beginning of the end. I left him for good two months later and divorced him the same year. Luckily we had no children.

    I knew from that day on that by standing up for myself I could make a real difference in my own life and that by continuing to tell my story I can also make a difference in the liives of those who feel helpless in the face of abuse.

    "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

    I am living proof of that. Literally.

    Posted by BearMama, 20 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment happened while I was fighting for my life to get healthy from the ill effects of toxic mold. I lost my health, my home, my two businesses, my personal belongings, my money and my ability to work. I fought the injustice as I helped get families evacuated from their unhealthy environment, helped get laws passed and two apartment complexes remediated from mold.
    But the many respiratory sicknesses took their toll and I wanted to give up. When I attended the Women’s Conference in Long Beach and learned about Minerva, I decided not to give up my fight but to win the race. I “got out of myself” and volunteered with the CA Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to get Californians healthy!
    Though the life threatening disease of Acute Asthma and other allergic diseases affected my everyday living, I fought to overcome adversities. I teach people to do the same and to Celebrate Life! I continue to help, inspire, and motivate people to live healthy, balanced lives. I promote exercise as medicine and to have faith. I teach about good nutrition and physical activity and exercise especially to children. I am now serving my 5th year on the CA Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Spotlight Awards Committee. I am using my Minerva moment to bless others and commit to change and healthy lifestyles!

    Posted by Diane Sabba, 19 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment

    I had already been through a life of abuse, poverty, a traumatic injury and the loss of my first spouse, when I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Needless to say, I was angry at the timing of this latest challenge! I was in my Master’s program, my marriage was not going well, I had two school age children and a toddler who had special needs. How could I deal with cancer? Worse than that, how could I deal with dying? I decided my priority was to write my story to leave behind for my children. Fast forward seven years... after year one I woke up and realized I could live like I was living or live like I was dying. With encouragement from a friend, I self published my memoir and began to share my story. I was amazed and surprised beyond belief that my story, was encouraging and inspiring to others. That was my Minerva Moment when I realized everything I had been through was worth it, if I could share with others what I learned on my journey and if just one person could find hope in that, my story mattered!

    Posted by Angela Schaefers, 19 May 2010.