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 realized I could make a difference at a young age. My mother always encouraged us to volunteer our time. It started at church baby-sitting during mass, and now it's something that has become part of my life. My mother enrolled me in girls scouts where we learned how to take care of the environment and were taught how to be leaders in the community. As a teenager, I taught cheerleading to young girls at the Jewish Community Center one year. They wanted to emulate what I did and know all about my life. I was a roll model to these girls, and I realized this at a young age. It's important to instill community service and leadership in children at a young age when they feel like the world is their oyster and anything is possible. I am now thirty years-old and I am a director at a company. Throughout the years, I have learned that the qualities my mother instilled in me are ones that I can pass on to others and make a difference in the community and possibly--one day--the world.

    Posted by LeaderOfTomorrow, 18 May 2010.

  • I had wanted my daughters (ages 14 and 16) to become more involved with community service, but because of their busy schedules, we couldn't fit in volunteering on a regular basis. So, I helped them launch their own organization, Operation Dress Up! which collects clothing and books for homeless students in Los Angeles. To date, we've collected and distributed over 1,500 articles of clothing and over 1,200 books. Forming this organization was two-fold: first to make a difference in our community and raise awareness of homelessness among students in Los Angeles, and second, to teach my children the importance of charitable work and showing them that with hard work and determination, they can build something from the ground up on their own.

    Posted by shejuggles, 17 May 2010.

  • I am an Iranian American Jewish woman. I am a psychotherapist, author, TV host, and I have been in the United States for 33 years. Many of my family suffered persecution at the hands of the Islamic regime in Iran, but even before the Fall I had decided I need to be an agent for women's freedom. My Minerva moment came when a patient of mine shared her experiences in Iran's prison when she was 16.
    After that day I took every opportunity on my TV shows which broadcast directly inot Iran to talk to women about standing up and fighting. I used every caller's problem to empower women. I dressed provocatively, talked about my own experiences being raped and molested on the air, became willing to be bold, outspoken and an example that women can and will change the laws of the land.I receive over 500-600 e-mails daily but the one I will never forget was on June 15th/2009. I came into my office and saw an e-mail from Caspian, Neda's fiance. Neda was the young woman whose death shook the world last year. She was a friend of mine on facebook. The e-mail said: she had two wishes to be a mother and to have a phone session with me from Iran- he was sorry he didn't get to give her either of those wishes. Since that moment i have tripled my efforts. I have w omen's workshops which consist of mostly Iranian women. I am on every Iranian TV station that broadcasts into Iran, and I have been the voice of freedom, democracy and women's empowerment in Iran. I am certain the women in the Middle East are the agents of Peace and it is my vision to speak out everywhere to reach them. That is Who I am and that is What you can count on me for.
    Azita Sayan
    Los Angeles, Ca.

    Posted by Azita Sayan, 17 May 2010.

  • I was having coffee with a girlfriend; she was sharing her excitement of purchasing a hair salon. She explained about this card she found in the salon talking about helping women in domestic violence situations, how a hairdresser could help a client in need. We proceeded to tell each other how we are survivors of domestic violence and we cried.

    We started Hearts of Confidence in Tulsa, OK; we are on the ground floor, completing all the legal paperwork, working on first fundraiser. Some of our services for survivors of domestic violence: professional makeovers, providing a professional wardrobe, self defense classes, a free month membership at a local gym, a professional recruiter to provide training and assistance with résumés and interviews, to a financial planner who will provide money strategies and assistance with managing a budget. We couldn’t imagine we would receive this much support; everyone wants to help or provide some kind of assistance or service. We have already received donations of clothing from someone in California. Someone donated her time to help with the foundations logo. Being that my partner and I are both survivors ourselves, we cannot express the gratitude for the response we are receiving. It is my goal to help the women in Oklahoma. Through this journey, I have learned, one person, well in my case, two soccer moms from Oklahoma can make a difference.

    Posted by hearts, 17 May 2010.

  • Not sure if this would be considered a Minerva moment, but I do remember as a young girl I changed a homeless man " called Hobo's back in the hay days attitude by giving him my lunch on the way to school. I didn't know at that time how poor we were, but I felt he needed my lunch more than I did. Today, I've always wondered whatever happened to him.
    Now that I'm a grandmother of 8, with many mouths to feed, I encourage them to eat all their food, never waste food because it can be your last meal. Bytelling them the story about the man who lived under the bridge by my home who had hardly anything to eat it has given my grandkids the out look to respect food more, appreciate the person who prepares it and actually lick their plates if they really like it. If we can pass on those types of experiences to our young people on how life was growing up before the internet, cell phones, and even TV, maybe they will take life more seriously. My mother always said, It's not we want out of life, but what will we contribute to life ...and that my friends is to share.......

    Posted by Puppetrina, 17 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment came like a lightning bolt. I was reading the paper and came across an article about Duroville, CA, an impoverished community that suffers much deprivation including no hot water. It struck me immediately that what this community needed was portable solar showers! My family and I had just returned from a camp trip where we had used our shower; it gave us enough piping hot water for two showers plus water for dishes and it cost only eight dollars. I was moved to act. I contacted Dr. Alberto Manetta who spearheads a UC Irvine medical outreach program for the community to see if he would support the idea. He said yes and I was off and raising money for this project I now call Shower to the People!

    As a first step of our pilot program, we recently installed 25 showers. What a day that was! While Duroville is terribly poor, the children laughed and played like they do everywhere. They even wanted to jump on the full showers like they were trampolines! The people were friendly, curious, grateful - and engaged. There are some powerful women in this town and they are dedicated to improving the lives of their families.

    This week I begin the process of turning Shower to the People! into a bona fide nonprofit whose mission will be to provide solar showers to needy communities and disaster areas the world over; I am so humbled by the possibilities of my Minerva moment.

    Posted by, 17 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment came ten months ago, when my 23 year old son Stephen died suddenly.
    I decided grieve with gratitude...meaning I approached my loss with peace and acceptance, and looked for "one little thing" to be thankful for each day in spite of the pain I felt over losing my son.
    The focus on the goodness in life shifted my perspective on my loss, and allowed me to celebrate the life of my child.
    I wrote a book about the first two months of my journey, titled Gratitude in Grief. In addition, I write a regular blog called Gratitude in Grief ( I decided to share my story, in the hopes that my approach may help others who take this journey through loss. Since publsihing, I have heard from people all over the world, who are approaching their own losses in life with a new perspective. I am so humbled by the response.
    My Minerva moment came at the worst moment of my life, where I decided to choose to celebrate his life and life in general, even through my tears. Through that decision, I have discovered my purpose and will continue to try to help others navigate the path of loss.

    Posted by ksbuckley, 17 May 2010.

  • When I realized that I had a chance in helping to guide a group of young girls through adolescence and into adulthood focusing on good values and good judgment. My Minerva moment was after being a Girl Scout leader for several years, I could see that my leadership and the girl scout values were actually working. That these girls were becoming strong and insightful, smart and considerate. It was evident that they were making the right choices and taking care of themselves. I feel that I had some part in this as the facilitator. I considered all of them to be “my” girls. Almost like my own children. The assignment was not something that I planned to do, or planned to do for long, but in hindsight, I was placed in this position for a reason. For myself, to learn patience and compassion. For the girls, to learn how to make themselves and the world a better place.

    Posted by Cheryl Sorenson, 17 May 2010.

  • Several supportive business women have encouraged me over the years to start my own business. I grew tired to being passed over for promotion and playing politics to get ahead. I asked myself "why not" and "why not me?" I made a vision board in January of 2009. I quit my job in June of 2009. In August of 2009, I went to work for a business woman who changed my life. She literally handed a business over to me and said "go for it." It has been exciting, challenging and the best is yet to come.

    Posted by eDennPM, 17 May 2010.

  • Con't - And I told myself good people like me shouldn't have to go through multiple abusive situations like this anymore, so I put my foot down and I started fighting for our right to live in a world free of violence and crime and I said No More Abuse, No more, this is it, we must make a change for the better! Okay, that's it for now. I have lots to share though :- )

    Posted by Woneman, 17 May 2010.