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 never really knew what life had in store for me, I thought I would be a successful business woman one day like my teachers in elementary school always said I would be but my life took me down a totally different path! From raising my brother, sisters', & even my mom to violent relationship to another and working in a nightclub atmosphere, life showed me another side of this world that is not a fairytale we all grew up with but a world full of neanderthals! One day I had my first nervous breakdown after being arrested a second time for defending myself against my exs'. I told the whole truth & they used it against me. I even told them how he chopped me with his hands straight down my spine, along with all the many many other reports I had made on him but they did what they wanted to do anyway for whatever reasons. I had finally give in to the dark side but I came out! I finally got out, got on with my single life, life was great! Then I met a guy I thought was my soulmate, married him, and thought I would live happily ever after, Not! He turned out to be worse than the rest of them. He is still turning people against me, falsely accusing me for being a bad person cause that is what he is. So, after being dislocated from heat to toe by different guys to the most extreme verbal/mental abuse I have ever put up with, not being able to get or be able to work for several reasons, and moving to another country with my so called husband, I decided that I needed to spend my time doing something to help spread awareness and help other people out that are in similar situations. I knew I couldn't afford to help people out money wise but I sho'nuf can help with my wisdom, knowledge, experiences, advice and ideas to make this world a better place for us all and that is what I've been doing and I will not stop until we SAY No to Violence, make this a Safer World for Women and all People Worldwide!!!

    Posted by Woneman, 17 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment came when my father was dying of lung cancer. My dad was my soul mate, along with my grandmother. They taught me to move in response to different cues, they spoke a different language which was spiritually based, I thought that we were the only native speakers. Compassion and empathy were the core of their lessons. As I moved into the world, I found myself surrounded by people who were much less kind, more indifferent. When my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness I was devastated. I did not know how to move in the world without his guidance and feedback. I found the hospice people to be incredibly tender and responsive to my father's needs. My mother and I were given training in how to provide care for him and allow the dying process to proceed with love as the buffer. I knew, right then, that I wanted to work in hospice. I knew it would take a long time for me to process my own grief, in order to be able to be fully present to provide care for others, and I knew I would need additional education. I went back to school, got a Master of Social Work degree and now work as a hospice social worker with very under-served populations. My work is sacred to me and it is my way of continuing my parents' and grand-parents' work.

    Posted by Anonymous user, 17 May 2010.

  • Every women has their Minerva moment since we were born but the problem is to realize and make concient this moment in our lives. So each women most be concient about this big opportunity of change and legacy to our world become a Remarkable Women & Remarkable Legacies is to recognized a problem, identified the solution, and pursued it with strength, courage, perseverance and compassion.
    And 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 doesnt matter if is just one person or many the main thing is that you transform yourself to make the change in your and our lives. My Minerva momment was in 2007 when I decide to be Elizabeth again and I am transforming my self each day and I invite others to do it in my Radio participation with my friend Jose Ramon Ramos Silva in our programe Mundo del Bienestar Integral, every friday from 9-10 Mexico City timing at my dream is comming true.Thanks Liz Torres Chavez or and also in facebook Elizabeth Torres Chavez

    Posted by GENTE CON TALENTO, 17 May 2010.

  • When I was 4 years old, my uncle gave me a book of flags. I am sure he never realized what a huge impact that would have on me and my future.

    Looking through that book, I realized there was more than one country in this big world. I was so shocked to find out that my whole world, Seoul, Korea, was not as big as I thought.

    When my dad got home that night, I asked, "Dad! Did you know there are over 136 countries in the world?"

    He said, "Of course!"

    I asked again, "Which is the number one country?"

    He reluctantly replied, "The United States, I guess."

    I said, "When are you moving to the United States?"

    He laughed and said, "One just can't move to the United States."

    "Why not?" I persisted. "Don't you want to live in the number one country? I want to!"

    He looked at me and laughed again, "If you think you can make it happen, go right ahead."

    At that moment, I knew I would be part of the "best" country in the world someday. Be careful what you wish for and be careful what you say to your daughter! She just might make it happen.

    My dad was shocked when I told him that it was time for me to move to the United States and realize my dream. After a long and difficult struggle with my family, I finally arrived at LAX on Sept.15, 1993 at 2:07 p.m. I was 23 years old.

    When I first arrived, I didn't really speak English. I vividly remember seeing an African-American lady at the McDonald counter at LAX for the first time. Despite months of practicing English, all I could do was to point at a picture that had a hamburger. I pointed and said, "Please." I handed her a $20 bill hoping I had enough money.

    Sixteen years later, I have to pinch myself at times. Did I really graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with honors? Have I really been teaching English to American-born students for the past seven years? Inspiring them to become the best that they can become?

    My father couldn't believe it, either. When I first told him about teaching English at an American high school, he said to me, "Are you sure? You mean you teach math, right?" Even when I showed him my three credentials in English, social studies and health, he said, "Okay, now I get it. You teach history."

    Since moving to a new school this year, I have been working with other teachers, as well as students. I have provided several English-related workshops to other teachers at the Kern High School district office. I also provided a day-long district-wide workshop on grammar instruction to the instructional assistants. I was asked to do a presentation on the same topic to the English language development teachers in the near future.

    I tell my students: “When I grow up, I want to study neuroscience at Cal Tech. I want to study the human brain and what it is capable of learning, so I can be a better teacher. Watch out! I will be Dr. Glazer soon."

    My students laugh and say, "You are already grown Mrs. Glazer. Aren't you almost 40?"

    But I know that in this country, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. My dad was right when he said the United States is the best country in the world, because it is.

    Posted by kglazer, 16 May 2010.

  • My Minerva moment came when I was in remote Maya villages in Central America. I noticed that it was commonly accepted that many women were dying in their 40-50’s, and after gathering some information, I discovered that this was most likely due to diabetes. While these Maya had heard of diabetes, they call it “sweet blood” and have no understanding of diabetes. I began testing the women’s sugar-levels, which were extremely high. These villages are so remote that there is no electricity, and insulin is impossible to maintain. So, using the foods that they normally eat, I devised a diabetes diet in their language and explained why this diet was necessary. Most women had extraordinary improvement. However, I realized that some older women still had high-sugar levels, and I discovered that they could not all read their own language. So I simply drew pictures of the diet, and this easy measure made a dramatic difference. Many women lost weight, felt healthier, and most sugar-levels were drastically reduced. This picture diet was passed on to other remote villages and has saved the lives of countless women…and all it took were drawings of food to change the existence of so many. As an art historian, I am humbled at how a few basic drawings could rescue lives so easily.

    Amy Dyson
    Art Historian-Etiologist

    Posted by AmyDyson, 16 May 2010.

  • My minerva moment occurred on the night that President Bush was re-elected. At that point I knew I couldn't survive the next four years of his leadership decisions, enough said. I decided to embark upon a tree planting project in my urban neighborhood. I intended to offset the poor decisions above me that I couldn't control with posiitive life-affirming ones, trees were my avenue. Urban tree plantings have their challenges but during that four year period we removed 36 squares of concrete and have planted trees in those locations. I thought I could take a break when the current president took office, but instead he asked everyone to pitch in and volunteer. Inspired by request, this year we have planted 18 more trees for at total of 54 and are working on a second planting in June of about 20 more. I have a goal of 100 then I can take a break.....or not.

    Posted by Rosiee, 15 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment came in 2006 when I was speaking with my new friend Barbara after an early morning prayer meeting. We were talking about having a passion about helping women in abusive relationships. At that moment our hearts connected and I knew that together we could form an organization that could empower women coming out of domestic violence situations. Now long after our talk that day, I approached Barbara about forming such a organization and she was on board. In September of 2006 Options Beyond The Box (A Spiritually Based Women's Resource Service) was launched. We chose this name because we want to convey to women - "whatever box you have been put in, however you have been held hostage by an abusive relationship, whether you know it or not you have "options" and you can break out of the box you have been put in and you can live your life exactly the way you were meant to"IN FREEDOM"

    "Options" exist to help women heal from the brokenness of domestic violence relationships. "Options" was born to shout it loud and clear to women that they have "options" that they are not stuck in any situation, they just need someone to come along side them and show them the way out. That's what we do.
    We offer hope, empowerment, resources, support, and counseling.
    I am passionate about ending abuse against women and children in our society and all over the world.
    I Believe Every Woman Has The Power Within Herself To Live Her Life "Beyond The Box"

    Posted by options4life, 15 May 2010.

  • I have been training the 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers for four years now. Having risen through the ranks from dispatcher to director, I know all of the struggles women face at each level in the male-dominated domain. I was recently asked to keynote at the APCO Women in Public safety leadership symposium and address how to get to the top. For me it is always about knowledge and "standing on what you know."

    My Minerva moment came when I received a phone call from a teacher at Detroit's International Academy for Young Women. She wanted me to avail myself to her class of 12, 13 and 14 year old girls as they compiled their data for Project Citizen. The girls wanted to take a tragedy of child-callers of 9-1-1 and speak to their frustration. We have communicated a lot and role-played and discovered more knowledge about 9-1-1 than all of us knew originally. The girls inspired me. They recently took their project citizen report to the state capital and won 1st place for their poster board. It now goes on to National.

    My parallels with these remarkable young women concern making the 9-1-1 system better, and advancing our knowledge in every way we can. As I pursue my Doctorate in Public Safety Leadership, I was equally awed by the problem statement, solution identifcation, and action plans of these incredible young women.

    As a plus, the girls will be Keynoting with me in two weeks at Michigan NENA (National Emergency Number Association) to a room full of 9-1-1 professionals, asking them to hear their voices, and listen to their calls. Pretty powerful young women! I'm proud to be their friend!

    Kelly R. Rasmussen

    Posted by 911Kelly, 15 May 2010.

  • As told by my students In USA Today:

    A Teacher Had a Dream
     Our teacher woke up in the middle of the night with a dream to change the world…a dream to remember and be remembered for humanity….Since she was a child, our teacher dreamed of helping Africa, dreamed of making a difference to those who suffered at the hands of hate…Then this year, in truly what can only be described as a “dream”, she awoke with a plan to help change the world. For the past couple of months we had been studying genocide and the brutality of humanities hate. Ms. Gipson teaches the unit on genocide in her gifted classes and has for the last 5 years. Our class had recently watched “Ghosts of Rwanda” about the Rwandan genocide. one white American woman from a hospital outside of Kigali.
    Less than a week after we finished the video, after we shared our outrage with our teacher at how the people of Rwanda were treated, how they were cast away as nothing by the world, our teacher dreamed the dream that led us to this day, to this article, to this life changing journey of Never Forget those who died in Rwanda. Everyone knew that Ms.Gipson was crazy about ending genocide, it was basic student knowledge. We’ve always known that changing the world’s view of hatred, was her life long passion. She shared daily in our two years with her how we must end hate, how we must get involved in the world, how we must stand for peace. We knew if there was a plan to make a difference, she would be the one who would come up with it. We knew that she would find the way to take our belief in the idea of ending genocide that would change the way people looked at the human race. How we as teens looked at our role in making change.
    It was complete and utter chaos the day she came bouncing and sputtering into our insane asylum of a classroom, odd behavior was just part of our class; we never expected anything unusual to happen that day. Our class IS unusual. We are gifted teens with a gifted teacher…crazy is part of our daily education! But this day was different, even for us because after seeing her spring around the room like she had just found the golden ticket, most of us thought she had officially crossed over to the clinically insane! She was glowing in joy, and speaking so fast that we couldn’t understand her!
    The first comprehensible words that flew from her mouth were “I had a dream!” and suddenly images of Martin Luther King Jr. popped into all of our heads, and it was apparent on our faces that we utterly bewildered. “ONE TWEET! ONE MILLION!” was the next remotely sensible phrase that left her lips, creating a whole new level of confusion. After many exasperated minutes filled with nothing but “Calm Down!!”s and “Talk slower!” and what had to look like a game of charades…. what she was trying to say was finally making sense.“We are going to create a memorial for Rwanda! One million tweets in 100 days! One tweet for every Rwandan who died!” We responded with blank stares. “We’re gonna make a Twitter! And a website! And a memorial!? What???”We all knew that our teacher was more than passionate about changing the negligence of the world in how they have responded to genocide; We knew her heart was truly in Rwanda, one of the world’s most brutal genocides; but at the time it seemed a little ridiculous, that WE could do anything. When we delved deeper into what the world had done to attempt to atone for their disregard of the inhumane slaughters, we found that the ONLY memorial was bones, rotting in a small desolate church building in the heart of Rwanda.After an hour of discussing and collaborating our far-fetched ideas, we had a slightly reasonable plan. Our goal was to make an online memorial and use Twitter to evangelize our ideas. We would find a way to give the million who perished in Rwanda, a voice! We would build their memorial online and remember them in the upcoming anniversary of their deaths!
    And here’s where reason takes a backseat; we wanted 1 million Tweets, in one-hundred days, starting April 6, the 16th anniversary of the genocide. This was crazy! Right? Yes, but change isn’t found in the sane…it is born from the chaos of wonder and from the minds of those who dare to paint the world a different color that black or white. So for almost a month, the 7th and 8th grade Gifted and Talented classes worked diligently to get the website built, we had emails, letters, press releases, and one BIG Dream! That’s about it…and our teacher who told us daily, “ If all we accomplish is getting a few tweets, I will have accomplished proving to you that YOUR voice matters, that each of you MAKE a difference, that you have to STAND for something and follow through! The universe WILL answer you! It has to. Its in the design.”…April 6th rolled around, all the classes were antsy .The Site launched with a hitch or two but hey it was built by 13 and 14 year olds! And immediately we students saw results. The comment box which we had posted to see what people thought began to bear names such as: Frank DePino, Sonia Muagbo (a genocide survivor), Paul Polak, and the list grows….This is where the story takes another turn….Soon the comments began to putter out. We called local media, newspapers, we Tweeted and Tweeted…but nothing really was moving until …on April 13, our teacher called one of her students in a mad frenzy , “I just had an idea! USA Today is hosting a Twitter competition, where the organization with the most Tweets written a certain way gets a FRONT PAGE ARTICLE!!” she paused a nanosecond to take a breath. “We need to get people to Tweet us! So on Saturday we can all get together and stand by a road with signs that say ‘Tweet for teensMAD4Rwanda…’” Ms. Gipson continued for about three more minutes, just enough time for her student to grab another phone, and call the rest of the class. When we got to school the next day we discovered (much to our dismay) that the contest ended Friday, and we attempted to get permission to go advertise our project on the side of the road, but as any sane principal would say, the answer was “NO.” As discouraged as we were after this, our dear teacher would not for a moment let up, she spent two school nights in a row staying up to three in the morning, Tweeting her guts out, repeatedly being kicked out by Twitter. When that Friday came, we were struck with another idea: Twitter Party. Each student (with parent permission) acquired Twitter accounts, and Tweeted MADly! At one house, there were ten laptops opens, with 2-4 accounts each (that way every time we were kicked out, we just got back in), and several phones out for when the computers got slow. At another house, two girls had five accounts each and Tweeted over 2,500 times. When the deadline was only minutes away, you could almost taste the determined frenzy which possessed each student, teacher and parent. You could hear the computers groan in protest as their owners gave one last push. rapidly clicking “Retweet” believing that their lives depended on it. The following days were filled with anticipation. “Did we win?” was the constant question floating around in our heads. Three agonizing, monotonous days later, we got the call. The 23 GT Students were informed and all rushed to the room where their teacher was speaking on the phone. We had won 3rd place in the Twitter contest, even when we were up against foundations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and The Humane Society. Despite not getting first, euphoria set in immediately.  Thanks to our remarkable teacher, there are now 23 students who KNOW they individually can make a difference. 23 students who WILL make a difference, and help the chain reaction of teensMAD4Rwanda grow.

    Posted by Tarakendyle, 14 May 2010.

  • My minerva moment came when i had been treating a client with tongue cancer (i'm a physical therapist). She'd really inspired me with her courage, strength and perserverance throughout our months together. Her cancer had come back and we'd done visualizations with the cancer and she really showed her courageous fortitude with the visualization. When she had regressed i came to visit her at her home, she'd said that it was me that had helped her spiritually to weather her storm! I started to cry as it was truly HER that had changed my life in a major way. True compassoin for another and between two people is the strongest thing in this life. My life has been changed by her and i know now that i unknowingly affected her life in a significant way. Isn't life grand!

    Posted by Makin IT Happen Event, 14 May 2010.