Philanthropy

Sex Trafficking Horrific, but Successes Transform Lives

Happy Mother and Daughter
Victims of sex trafficking endure horrible abuse and trauma, but their stories can actually end happily. Dedicated people in organizations around the world are saving victims every day, and they need our support. I’d like to share with you some success stories from Washington State, California, India and Nepal.

Dream Center Helps West Coast Victims

“Hope” is in her early 20’s, and has a one-year-old daughter.  A few years ago, she took the greyhound bus to Los Angeles, but when she got off, her boyfriend wasn’t there to meet her.  Walking to get some food, she was kidnapped and forced to work on the streets for about seven months.   She had to serve 8-10 men per day and bring in a quota of $1500.  There was no room for trying to escape from her pimp because she was constantly watched.
One night, a Vice Cop said he could help her get out. They staged an arrest and safely removed her from the situation. Although she had escaped, she had been brainwashed that he was her only source of protection, and she went back several times before she was finally able to get out and stay out. Life was still hard, she served time on an old warrant and lost custody of her daughter. She heard about the Dream Center, and now is working to complete the program, get her daughter back, and pursue a degree in social work.

“Lover Boys” Groom Girls On Internet

Michelle met her “lover boy” on the Internet while struggling to rebuilt her chaotic life and take care of her two sons. He was “sweet and kind” to her, but introduced her to meth to ease her stress. When she needed surgery, he moved in to help take care of the boys. Despite the drugs, she thought she had found her happy family until he began pressuring her to earn more. She started working the streets and he directed her by phone while home watching the kids. “The more I made, the more he did for me – got my hair done, nails, clothes, stuff for my boys they never had before and more drugs. I felt like a princess.” But he started abusing and cheating on her and she lost custody of her sons. The situation worsened until her mother told her about the Dream Center and she escaped to Los Angeles. She intends to start school in the fall and is working to regain custody of her children.

Nepalese Girls Turn to Shared Hope

Reshma was little more than a child herself when she was lured from her remote village in Nepal to Kathmandu— then enslaved by a bar owner who sold girls for sex along with the drinks.  Soon she found she was pregnant and, friendless and terrified, Reshma surrendered her baby “Angel” at birth. Soon she found her way to Asha Nepal, a partner organization that Shared Hope helped establish and supports. Seeing other children there, she realized she had not needed to give up her child and Asha Nepal’s founder helped get her back. They spent over three years there, and in 2016, gainfully employed, Reshma and Angel moved into their own small apartment in Kathmandu.

Children of Sex Slaves Can Rise Above Circumstances

Manisha is 20 years old and has made her home at Asha Nepal since she was 7.  Her mother fell in love at 16 with a man who betrayed her and sold her into India. She soon got pregnant, but rejected her child, who appeared to have no future other than sex slavery. Aunty Renu, also trafficked to the same brothel, began caring for Manisha until she was rescued by Shared Hope International’s local partner organization. Now a second-year college student pursuing a degree in Social Work, Manisha dreams of restoring trafficking victims back into society and seeing sorrowful lives transformed to joyful ones.

Former Sex Slaves Become Leading Business Women

In a typical tea shop with a small front kitchen and several tables, Shamita and Kala have found strength, success and freedom from Nepals’ brutal sex trafficking industry. They have escaped sex slavery and become two female business leaders in a Nepalese culture that often devalues women as property of men. Shamita and Kala once thought their lives were no more valuable than providing their bodies to man after man in the brothels of Mumbai. When they escaped they encountered a familiar story: their village shunned them and their own father forced them to leave. This lack of options forces many back into the violent arms of the brothel. But they went instead to Asha Nepal, a home that allows women who were trafficked to India to return to their home country.
Shamita’s and Kala’s lives are testament that life beyond the brothel is possible. Success is possible. Freedom is possible. Anything can be possible.

Want to report sex traffficking? Need to call for help? National Hotline is 1-888-373-7888

Resources and Partners

Women Like Us Documentary

In the documentary, Women Like Us.  Three Journeys.  One Mission.  To Change the World, Women Like Us tells the stories of women who are sex trafficked and those women who are leading initiatives to eradicate it.

Women Like Us Books

In the most recent Women Like Us Book, Women Like Us.  Together…Changing the World by Founder and President, Linda Rendleman, we share personal stories of women fighting to end sex trafficking and homelessness and advocating for education both locally and globally.
2017 campaign funding women’s leadership
to eradicate sex trafficking

Women Like Us Foundation has a long history of creating awareness of sex trafficking both locally and globally.  Our support of women’s leadership against sex trafficking is making a difference for lives of women and girls.
Shared Hope International  is a global community dedicated to protecting children on a local level. It trains parents, youth workers, community leaders, and teens how traffickers operate and how they can protect themselves and their friends.
Dream Center is a volunteer-driven organization that finds and fills the needs of over 40,000 individuals and families through approximately 70,000 encounters each month, including victims of human trafficking.
Somaly Mam Foundation We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of slavery and the empowerment of its survivors, based on the vision and life’s work of Cambodian survivor Somaly Mam.
Purchased The mission of Purchased is to educate, equip, & empower the community to end modern day slavery.

You Can Be the Woman Who Is Helped Today

Keynote Speaker, Author, Leadership Coach

Judy Hoberman


After a successful 30-year career in sales and writing numerous books on gender differences in business, Judy Hoberman has found her true purpose and has focused on her newest goal, “to help one woman a day.” When she announced this goal to different groups of women, she was always surprised when a woman in the audience would raise her hand and ask, “Can I be the woman you help today?”
This is why Judy has expanded her reach in two ways: she wrote her new book, Walking on the Glass Floor: Seven Essential Qualities of Women Who Lead, and launched her new foundation at the same time. Judy knew that her purpose was to give women the tools they need to succeed in their careers, provide for their families, and have time to do what they truly desire. She already did this through the business she founded, Selling In A SKIRT, which is an acronym for:

  • Standing Out
  • Keys to Success
  • Inspiring Others
  • Results Oriented
  • Time Management
  • All while having Fun!!

Through coaching, consulting, sales training, speeches and a weekly radio show, Judy gives women important tools to help them succeed at their purpose.

Women Who Are Mentored Become Amazing Role Models for Other Women.

Walking Glass Floor BookWalking on the Glass Floor is different than anything Judy has ever done. She began with the idea that if you have cracked through the glass ceiling, you are now walking on the glass floor. If you’re there, you have a responsibility to help other women get there too. Her purpose turned the corner of feminine leadership, to help women realize that we are phenomenal leaders and many of the skills that we don’t think of as being leadership skills are in fact the best tools for effective leadership.
Growing up and being told that she couldn’t do certain things because she was a girl created an obstacle for Judy that she felt she must overcome. In the process, she discovered her gifts, one being the way that she coped with being told that she couldn’t do something. It fueled her fire and she became all she wanted to become and in turn, was determined to help others do the same.

Create Relationships Before You Need Them.

Although her career was in sales, Judy doesn’t think of what she did as selling. She saw it as a form of communication and creating relationships. She helped people and worked with them to achieve what they needed. She advises her clients now to make relationships. It doesn’t matter who you are speaking to, there is always an opportunity for a wonderful relationship.

Help Another Woman Today

This conversation is full of helpful information for women leaders. Judy comments on women’s lack of self confidence. Even women who are at the top of their field have told her that the most difficult thing for them is having the courage to show their self-confidence. Dr. Nancy adds that it’s also fear of failure that holds many women back and comments on how much she likes Judy’s chapter on taking risks. Judy says she knows how important this information is for women and that is why she formed the foundation, to get the book into the hands of the women who need it and to help women in more ways than she could otherwise. The mission is to support women and women’s initiatives through writing, workshops and publications.
Underneath it all is Judy’s desire to help women know what incredible leadership skills they already possess. It only requires a shift of perspective to see how passion, a sense of purpose, a talent for creating relationships and working in collaboration can be essential tools in the hands and heart of a gifted leader.  Check out Judy’s website, Sellinginaskirt.com, for more information and listen to this conversation for more of Judy’s personal story and why she and Dr. Nancy say we desperately need more women leaders.

BE the Change You Want to See in the World

entrepreneur and philanthropist

Mea Boykins


International philanthropist and entrepreneur Mea Boykins may have been born with service in her heart. She started early helping others and her passion developed quickly. While still a junior at Spelman College she founded the Student Emergency Assistance Scholarship to provide funds to two friends who faced expulsion when their money and resources ran out. To date, she has awarded five scholarships and launched a speaking career telling people how she did it. Now a 501c3, her foundation also works with disadvantaged youth and displaced individuals around the world. Mea is a positive force on a global scale connecting with others to live her mission to BE the change she wants to see in the world.
Mea credits several things for propelling her into her life of service. First, her small town upbringing in Opelousas, Louisiana, where opportunities were few and education wasn’t valued, exposed her to people living in impoverished circumstances. However, it also exposed her to a broad range of church-going experiences. Mea was curious and attended churches with everyone she knew. Whether they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic, Mormon or Pentecostal, she tagged along. The result: she became deeply spiritual and opened her heart to other people.
Moving to New Orleans in her teens to live with her father transformed her life. She enrolled in a private Catholic school, where she was the only black student. The emphasis there was on community service and she participated by helping the elderly. She also traveled to Paris for the first time, where she learned French. Her well-established taste for travel and experiencing different cultures deepened during her time at Spelman College. Although a liberal arts college for people of color, Spelman’s students represented 49 states and 15 countries, including the Caribbean Islands. The heritages represented are rich and varied. Mea followed that education with two master’s degrees: one from Kings College in London in Child Psychology and a second in International Studies in San Francisco during which she also studied in Spain and Asia.

“You can never do too much. There is always more.”

When Dr. Nancy asked Mea, “What makes you different? You saw a great need and reached out to solve it. Why don’t more people do that?”, Mea answered, “Because of all the hardships I had to overcome, I realized that my life’s purpose was bigger than me.” When she would face an obstacle, she felt that God put it there for her to overcome, not just for herself, but so she could help others overcome it also. She is empathetic, but warns that you also have to be balanced, stay focused and do the inner work within yourself, so you can be happy and whole and continue to be a vessel and servant to do God’s work. She stays focused on her spiritual path and her purpose in life.

Most People in the World Are Good

Having lived in five countries and developed positive relationships with people from dozens of others, Mea is firm in her belief that people really do want to get along. She says that only a few have hate in their heart, but they get a lot of attention. She also credits the imbalance of wealth as a root for world-wide problems with the top 3% not doing what they should to help equalize it.
In April Mea founded a company: Global Management and Marketing, LLC, providing project management, event planning, sponsorship, proposal writing, marketing, branding, social media management and web development.  Beginning with global clients that she met while traveling, she is already starting to spread her wings in this new business venture. She is also directing  strategic relations for Noirbnb, a travel company for millennials of color that identifies accommodations people can rent and unique venues for fun experiences. She says they are looking for organizations and rentals that fit their target market and travelers to take advantage of what they offer.
Check out Mia’s website and listen to this interview to hear more of her inspiring journey to live her life’s purpose and BE the change she wants to see in the world.

Special Services for Special Needs

Brandi OReilly

Dr. Brandi O’Reilly, DPT


Since receiving  her doctorate in physical therapy ten years ago, Brandi O’Reilly has been listening to the parents of the special needs children that she works with at Dynamic Strides Therapy and becoming aware of  a lot of unaddressed needs. While the children have access to wonderful medical care, their physical condition has confined them to a round of clinics, therapies and doctors week after week without any break in the mundane routine. Brandi’s vision is to create a therapy center that incorporates all kinds of services and therapies: matching horses with children for equine therapy (also called hippotherapy), a sensory gym and numerous other services to give the special needs children something truly special to look forward to every week.

Horses and Kids – the Perfect Match

Brandi OReilly Child TheraphyBrandi says that horses are so intelligent, they can perceive emotionally what a human being needs. When this is matched with a special needs child, who cannot express herself verbally and is also too disabled to walk, it empowers the child. The thrill for Brandi when she sees the child smiling is the greatest reward possible. Even better, that empowerment lasts long past the horseback ride. Brandi tells a story about a little boy with autism spectrum whose outbursts and headbutting almost prevented getting him on the horse, but after a few sessions, he began to love it, brings carrots to the horse and his mom said that he is, not only most verbal during equine therapy, he stays verbal for hours after returning home. Dr. Nancy notes that this is the goal, to create positive change for the family and the community as well as the child who receives therapy.
Equine TheraphyDr. Nancy also points out that this connection is also good for the horses. Since she began showing and breeding horses, she has often encountered people who buy a horse without thought for the responsibility of owning a large animal that lives over 30 years. She remarks that many people don’t buy insurance and if they’re showing the horse and it’s not winning, they want to get rid of it. Brandi says that most of their horses are, in fact, donated. One horse that was recently donated is diabetic and its owner couldn’t get to the stable daily to treat its diabetic needs. However, the horse is only 13 years old, is quite active and perfect for their therapy needs.  As a charitable organization, the horses are also tax deductable for the donors.

Goal Is Full Services Year Round

With the current facility, therapy is limited to an 8-week session in the fall and a similar 8-week session in the spring. The new facility that is being built will accommodate year round, climate-controlled therapies. Speech, occupational and physical therapy can be done with or without horses. A sensory gym is in the works, but funds will have to be raised before opening that phase of the facility Sensory gyms are used for children with autism spectrum or have sensory processing disorders. This can be used for therapy and for public use. Brandi also hopes to have scholarships available so all children will have access to the services. Currently many facilities have to limit services for Medicaid patients because they can’t operate at a loss. Brandi hopes fundraising will cover the need so every child can benefit and reach their maximum potential.

Ongoing Vision and Upcoming Fundraiser

Brandi notes that there are many new exciting tools available in larger cities and some parents travel and take their children to utilize these sensory gyms and other facilities. Her dream is to have it all in Southwest Missouri and  make it available to everyone. Coming to a farm where there are animals and different ways to interact and experience life is preferable to the routine of the clinical setting. They plan to have a doctor on the premises for examinations and as many teams of therapists as necessary to meet the needs of the community.
Dynamic Strides Facility
Right now, there is a waiting list of 80 children, but they are working on hiring a second team. A fundraiser, called Harvest Moon, is being planned for October 14, 2017 at Brandi and Ryan’s farm. The best restaurants in Springfield, Missouri are providing food and there will be a food and wine pairing during the fundraising portion and music and dancing under the stars afterwards. Check out this Facebook page for more information. Listen to this interview for more stories about how Brandi came to dream of this amazing facility and Dr. Nancy’s experience with horses.

Empowering Girls Creates Empowered Women

Girls Inc. with Dr. Nancyby Dr. Nancy O’Reilly
My mission of empowering women began with my own daughters. I embarked on a college career while my girls were still young to provide them with a role model of infinite possibilities for their own futures. I had wonderful role models in my mother and both of my grandmothers, so I know how important this is to growing up strong, self-reliant and having the skills to live the life you want and deserve. Unfortunately, too many girls don’t have these benefits resulting in our juvenile justice system being overrun by girls. In fact, the fastest growing population in our juvenile detention centers is girls.
Girls Inc. is working hard to stop this trend and to equip and inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold. I recently had the opportunity to participate in this mission at Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara. Their summer program built on the Wonder Woman theme and invited women to share their stories with the girls involved with Girls Inc. The initiative continues in their after school program, so it’s not too late to get involved. If you’re not in that area, Girls Inc. is national organization, which has supported girls for 150 years. Recently it was ranked among the top high-impact youth service social profits!
Dr. Nancy Presenting to the Girls Inc.“If you can see it, you can be it!” Those words inspired Geena Davis to found the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in the Media, SeeJane.org. I firmly believe this is true. I try to show up every day as an example of what feminine leadership can achieve. Sharing my story with the girls at Girls Inc. was tremendously rewarding. Their enthusiasm and warmth was contagious and I want to encourage you to share your story, too. If you don’t have a Girls Inc. chapter near you, please seek out other girls clubs. They need our support and inspiring examples. We’re all Wonder Women under the skin.
Here’s a shortcut you can use for your proposal to speak to a girls’ group near you. It’s the invitation Leah Tabas, Center Director for Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara put together for her Wonder Woman program.

Are you someone who is passionate about life and would like to inspire girls to be STRONG, SMART, and BOLD?  If so, please consider participating in our Wonder Woman project. This volunteer opportunity involves preparing a five to ten minute presentation about yourself – What YOU love about your life, your job, your hobbies, and how YOU got to where you are today.

Your story can create a spark and help motivate girls to see how much opportunity there is for them.  Your enthusiasm and experiences will encourage girls and help them see they CAN achieve their goals and even their wildest dreams.

WHO:  You and a group of fourteen 5th–6th grade girls (+ one of our staff to help with behavior management and participation).

WHAT:  A 5-10 minute INTERACTIVE presentation or activity that discusses and introduces your professional and life experiences, how you’ve gotten to where you are and ways that your story and passion can relate to these girls all while encouraging them to pursue their dreams whether it be in a similar field or something completely different.

WHERE:  Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara – 531 E. Ortega St. Santa Barbara, CA 93102

WHY:  There is nothing like a positive, encouraging and successful role-model who is able to relate to young girls and spark their interest in a variety of careers as well as open their eyes to the possibilities that lie before them.  At Girls Inc. we encourage our girls to actively explore the world around them, find their own voices and strive to be responsible, confident and independent young women and would love your help in doing the same!

DO:  Talk about what you LOVE, your hobbies and your job.  Ask the girls about their interests and try to find ways to relate these interests to specific skill sets within your hobby or profession.  Share what you loved doing as a kid and if it influenced your career choice.

WHERE TO BEGIN:  Please contact Leah Tabas, Center Director at ltabas@girlsincsb.org

Whether you contact Leah, another Girls Inc. director, or some other group near you, please do reach out to share your story. There is nothing more empowering than telling girls how you grew into the person you are today. Every day that offers us a challenge also offers an opportunity for growth. Telling others how this happened to yourself may say something special that you cannot imagine. I especially want to encourage you to reach out to girls. They are the women leaders of tomorrow and they need our help today. Check out the good works of Girls Inc. and the many ways a little support can transform lives when they need it most.

Amplify Women’s Voices Around the World

Lauren Anderson

Lauren Anderson


International Geopolitical Consultant Lauren Anderson is excited about the huge world-wide momentum that’s building of women reaching out to help one another across the boundaries of professions and countries  in the many organizations where she serves. Driven by the need to be of service to others and the benefits of justice and equality in our world, Lauren has journeyed through a 29-year distinguished career as an FBI executive, both in high-risk domestic and foreign service, overseeing anti-terrorism and FBI relations with 24 different countries to present-day global efforts on many fronts to empower and help women and girls become leaders in their chosen professions. Lauren serves on  numerous boards and in many capacities, including service as a public speaker and expert with the Women’s Media Center , as Global Ambassador with Vital Voices, Leadership Ambassador with Take the Lead, and  more.
While in the FBI, she saw an enormous amount of talent not being used. In fact, cultures in many countries actually held women back from contributing their skills and talents. While she saw the limitations, she couldn’t dream of all the possibilities. When she became a fellow with the International Women’s Forum, she says it exploded her world open. For the first time, she was in an environment with women from all sectors and many nations from around the world. She saw expertise, knowledge and sharing that could go beyond what she had considered with her background in law enforcement, intelligence and diplomacy.

Vital Voices Partners with Leading Women to Make Their Vision A Reality.

Founded in 1991 by Hillary Clinton and others, Vital Voices is made up of powerful bi-partisan women. Lauren says that Vital Voices identifies and works with women leaders around the world. They started where women had no capacity, in the Middle East, Africa and south Asia, regardless of their sector. Their programs range from something as basic as how to write a business plan to the global ambassador program that Lauren is part of. They select women who are at a tipping point in their profession and pair them with another successful woman. She says that the beauty of Vital Voices is they cross sectors and match people with their skill sets. For example, she currently is coaching a Somali obstetrician-gynecologist, a Filipino businesswoman and a woman in Beirut who makes cookies, though her own sector is much different.

Red Dot Foundation-Safe City Identifies Hot Spots to Protect Women.

Lauren was just asked to be the board chair for Safe City in India. The program was started by Elsa DeSilva after the horrific rape, torture and ultimate death of the young Indian doctor in 2012. Compelled to do something about the violence and sexual harassment in the streets that women go through, she and a couple of friends created the The Red Dot Foundation–Safe City. Lauren says that when it was formed, it was the only crowd-sourced and crowd-funded platform where women could share their stories. Now, Safe City has collected 50,000 separate stories of women who have experienced everything from sexual harassment to rape. The analytics this collection is providing has helped the police identify hot spots within 4 cities in India where they can increase coverage to protect women.
The Safe City model is so successful that it has expanded into Kenya, Nepal, Trinidad,  Nigeria, Cameroon, and others are set up to come on board in the future.  The United States is also looking at ways this model can be used in work environments and on college campuses.

Taking Take the Lead to Global Ambassadorship

Now Lauren and Gloria Feldt are looking into taking Take the Lead’s Leadership Ambassador program world-wide. The Leadership Ambassador  program  applies Gloria’s “9 Power Tools” to help women transform their relationship with power so they can use it to accomplish their intentional goals. They partnered with the Leadership Foundation Fellows of the International Women’s Forum and delivered a partial version of “The 9 Power Tools” to a group of women from around the world. The Leadership Ambassador program expands  beyond Take the Lead, as each Ambassador teaches entire new groups of women, so the message and the method grow exponentially.
Listen to this interview to learn about more collaborative programs where women are reaching out to help other women around the world. Check out the links of the programs that offer these opportunities for more details about how you can become involved in the movement of women reaching out to help other women around the world, and visit Lauren on Linked-In, Twitter and Facebook.

Three Ways You Can Help Change the World

Volunteer, Charity, Give Help and Share
An estimated 4.5 million Americans, mostly female, made history when they joined the Women’s March the day after the 2017 presidential inauguration. Since then, many have taken up political activism for the first time. According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, women are rethinking how they allocate their time and energy. They are either engaging in political activities, joining grass-roots groups or finding new career paths, including running for office, to further causes they believe in. In fact, organizations that recruit and train women to run for office have reported unprecedented interest in their programs at every level nationwide.
The recent election has motivated women at all points on the political spectrum to get involved. Many people are recruiting women to become candidates, and overall volunteer numbers are on the rise. Many women realize that running for office isn’t the only way that they can advocate for a cause they’re passionate about; funneling energy into community activism can also make a difference.
It’s definitely an exciting, perhaps unprecedented time for activism. Actress Kerry Washington summed up the connectedness many women are feeling right now in Glamour, “That idea of holding each other’s hands at the Women’s March – it feels like we are being invited to do that every day. So many of us are feeling attacked, and feel the need to protect and defend our democracy. And the march toward the dream of being ‘We the people.’ So that’s exciting, scary, and frustrating. We’re awake. We are awake more than ever before, and we have to stay awake.”
The sense of activism that’s swept the country is undeniably powerful, and history has proven that women who are passionate about a specific cause can be highly effective. So, the question is, if political office isn’t in your immediate future, how can you best get involved? You should definitely volunteer. Here are three great ways you can get busy making a difference in your community today.
Support a candidate you believe in. Whether you’re canvassing neighborhoods, making phone calls, or helping organize special events, female candidates need women like us to support them and help them reach their goals. It is only by helping them get elected that they can be our voice and help bring about change. Women are underrepresented in politics at every level of government. Whether the candidate is running for school board, city council or a state or national elected office, she needs our help. A simple phone call to campaign headquarters can get you started.
Align with a cause to move women forward. Whether it is joining the fight for fair wages or women’s equality, there are plenty of established causes and new outlets popping up every day that can help you make your voice heard.  You can spend a few hours each week doing everything from making calls to Congress to helping get voters educated or registered. Look locally and nationally for causes or movements that resonate with you, and make the call to get involved.
Connect with what matters to you. Is it education? Animals? Parks? Literacy? Food assistance? What excites you? What pulls at your heartstrings? Volunteer for something that is meaningful to you. All non-profits love volunteers, and you can usually get started with a phone call and a few simple forms. If you don’t have a particular organization in mind, there are several online resources like VolunteerMatch.org that can help you choose just the right outlet.
Whether you have a few hours a month or a few days a week, getting out there and getting immersed in your local community is where change starts. By lending our time, treasure, and talent to the places that we call home, we can build a solid foundation for growth. We need to work together to make our voices heard, and celebrate the women who are out there paving the way. When women get involved to help other women, we all win! It is time to help one another and change the world for the better!

Reach Out to Help Another Woman Lead

by Dr. Nancy O’Reilly
Women keep saying to me, “This is our time. There has never been a better time to be a woman.” It’s true. We have more degrees and opportunities than ever before and, even though we lag behind men in earnings, more women are achieving independent means than ever before. My Leading Women coauthor, Joanna Krotz, tracks women’s progress toward wealth in her chapter, “Redefining Sex and Power: How Women Can Bankroll Change and Fund Their Future.” Joanna says, “Women alive today belong to the most affluent, educated, and longest-lived generations in history.”
Women Reach Out and Help Each Other
It’s no wonder many of us who promote women empowerment are impatient to see women take their seats at the tables of policy and power. It’s time for each of us to step up and speak out to create a better world for all of us. It’s proven in study after study that when women lead, their policies benefit the lives of the people they serve. It’s not rocket science then to conclude that having more women leaders will make the world a better place.
I’ve been on this soap box for quite awhile now, encouraging women to reach out and help each other. Leading Women: 20 Influential Women ShareTheir Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life was created by 20 skilled leaders who did just that. They reached out with expertise and wisdom to share actionable tools women can use to accomplish their passion and purpose. With the influx of women signing up in recent months to learn how to run for public office, its messages are especially relevant today. The expertise in this book comes from a broad range of ages, races and countries. Women everywhere are looking for ways to continue — and accelerate –the momentum of the world-wide women’s march. That’s one reason why women are reaching out to share their time, talent and treasure.
And women do give, and at higher rates than men. Women give at all levels and by all means. Many establish foundations like my own WomenConnect4Good, Inc.
Leading Women co-author Linda Rendleman established her Women Like Us foundation to support other organizations working to benefit women and children. Her chapter, “Poise, the Final Ingredient,” tells how she developed the perspective to define herself in ways that would help her create social change. She chose Audrey Hepburn for her role model, because of her “poise” and quoted the actress as saying that her ambassadorship for UNICEF was the most difficult role she ever played.
If you read history closely, you’ll find women throughout the centuries who stepped up to care for those forgotten by society. They founded schools, charities, hospitals and agencies to fill countless social needs.
My co-author Shirley Osborne tells the story about one such school in her chapter, “Information: The Best Philanthropy.” A simple school that began to help female immigrant factory workers learn English became Simmons College, which instituted the first MBA designed specifically for women’s career and leadership success. That’s where Shirley, originally from a tiny Caribbean Island, received her MBA and gained the tools to realize her personal and professional vision.  With that inspiration and the stories of the women she met there, including one from China who hid her studies from her husband, Shirley noted the improvements in the lives of women and girls brought about by women philanthropists. In fact, Shirley Osborn has gone on to become the recently elected Speaker of Montserrat’s Legislative Assembly and Executive Director of The Women’s Resource Center.
There are literally thousands of such stories, in which one woman reaches out to another, in turn empowering them to do the same for still others, as did all 20 of the Leading Women co-authors. The single message here is that now we have an opportunity to engage women like no other time in history. Women are stepping forward to say, “I care. Women’s Rights Are Human Rights. I want to be respected. I want to make a difference. Feminine leadership is powerful leadership.” As my co-author Gloria Feldt says, “It is not power over; it is the power to” join with others to create a world that supports a culture of respect for all of humanity.
We have a responsibility as citizens of a free world to protect and exercise our civil rights. This is the way to protect ourselves and our families and create more women leaders. Most women already function as leaders in their families and communities; we just need to believe in ourselves and gain the self-confidence to go forward. Read the stories in Leading Women to find out how others overcame their fears, stepped into their “power to,” and achieved their purpose while helping others achieve theirs. The stories in Leading Women will inspire you to step up and make a difference in the world.

The Historic Women’s March Is Over. What’s Next?

By Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly
Dr. Nancy with Gloria Feldt“Women Marched; Now What?” was the theme for a recent discussion of Women and Power at the famed National Press Club in Washington, D.C. An amazing group of people met to discuss how women can advocate for gender equality in leadership, which I believe will make this world a better place for all of us to live in. Being at the National Press Club felt like being on hallowed ground. The pictures on the wall reflected so many historical greats who had spoken at the Press Club, including Gloria Steinem, Chris Everett and our own Gloria Feldt (who joined me in facilitating this discussion) pictured during her term as national CEO of Planned Parenthood.
Take The Lead and Women Connect4Good developed the program to introduce the concepts in Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life to the Washington D.C., community. Interest in the topic has escalated since the recent general election. Whether people were happy or disappointed by the election results, the example set by Leading Women, namely a collaboration among 20 women leaders in various fields of expertise reaching out to help other women, demonstrates the most productive path into the future. The need has never been greater for women to step forward and take their seats at every table where decisions are made. We must collaborate and support one another to protect our women’s rights as human rights and to work to protect our basic freedoms and the well-being of our communities in the future.
The most important aspect of the evening was bringing people together to talk. The March demonstrated the enormous energy generated by the 2016 general election, but a hundred or more causes were represented in the demonstrations. In order for that energy to create positive change, individuals and groups need to create a focused agenda for moving forward.
Many answers were offered to the questions: What will I do now? What can I do now? Some are looking at running for an elected office. Others are talking about how they can communicate their activism and invite others to join. Suggestions came in many forms, including one woman who described how her grandson’s Facebook group in Virginia formed to stay abreast of political issues. Another suggested supporting other women in workplace meetings, keeping the recognition honest as to who was contributing good ideas and helping each other’s voices be heard.
These may seem like small actions, but the March itself began as a small action–a grassroots dynamic that grew organically and by January 21 had attracted millions of participants all over the world. Every day small actions we make change the world in unforeseen ways. It’s important to have these conversations that dig into the culture and how we allow it to shape us with regard to gender, especially if we want to change that culture into one that supports us equally. For gender parity in leadership to happen across all sectors, men and women must work together to achieve results that will benefit all of us.
We need to recognize how much stronger we are together than when we are polarized around divisive issues. The more we choose sides made up only of people who think exactly like ourselves, the more we limit our outcomes and the possibilities for future generations. We must release feeling that it’s “us-against-them” and focus on us, We The People, to fulfill our promise as a nation that offers a light of hope to the entire world.
Our discussion followed the positive flow of women united in wanting to engage and move forward in making a difference. Words like hope and inclusion, and actions like mentoring each other set the tone. The need for women to trust and support one another must form the foundation if our actions are to succeed. To get to trust, we must continue to talk, even if it’s about things that make us uncomfortable. That became a mantra for the evening. “Get comfortable talking about the things that make you uncomfortable.” This is how women can Take The Lead and join together, engaging at a meaningful level to transform our country and our world into a place where gender equality and human rights are available to all.
I am grateful for the organizations who supported this event and deserve your generous support:
Convoy of Hope LogoConvoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment Program gives women the opportunity to generate income, which not only impacts their families, but positively impacts their country’s economic standing as well. Their goal is to empower women in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Tanzania to make strategic, independent life choices through community-based training in peer-oriented cooperative savings groups and non-traditional micro-enterprise development. Convoy of Hope helps to facilitate sustainable income-generating activities and entrepreneurial thinking that equips women to make positive choices for themselves and their families in the area of health, education and economic welfare.
To find out more about how to help make a difference through Convoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment program, click here: https://www.convoyofhope.org/what-we-do/womens-empowerment/
Take the LeadTake the Lead is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that thinks like an entrepreneurial start up. Because we have set the ambitious intention of gender parity in leadership by #25not95, our scaling up strategy is collaboration. We believe that just as power is an infinite resource, when it comes to accelerating women’s leadership, the more there is, the more there is.
We partner with a wide variety of nonprofit, academic, and for-profit organizations and generous funders. To find out more about participating in our programs or supporting our goal of gender parity, check out our website, https://www.taketheleadwomen.com/
Women Connect 4 GoodThe Mission of Women Connect4Good, Inc. foundation is to educate people to develop women-helping-women networks to raise the status of women and change the world.
“We should celebrate women’s accomplishments in this male-dominated culture, even though we still earn less than men, the ERA is still not law, and millions of our sisters around the world suffer violence at staggering rates. We must follow in the steps of our fore-sisters, who founded The Red Cross, The United Way, and won the right to vote. We must connect with our sisters and create a new women’s movement of women helping women.”~ Dr. Nancy
To find out how you connect with WC4G, click here https://www.drnancyoreilly.com/women-connect-4-good/

Find Your Voice and Give It To Those In Need

Cindy Dennis“I’m never going to quit. I’m going to do this until the day I die.”
Those are the words of Cindy Dennis, a woman whose experiences of trauma and heartache ultimately shaped her life’s work—educating and empowering children to recognize and speak out against all forms of abuse.
Cindy’s journey began in the 1980s when her young son was abused by a family member. This event set in motion the long process of therapeutic recovery, but it also sparked a deep desire in Cindy to learn how she could be a voice for other children who experienced abuse. She earned a degree in psychology, and in the process of learning how to give a voice to others, Cindy recognized that she needed to give herself a voice as well. Speaking out on behalf of the sometimes-voiceless victims of abuse would make demands of her personally, so she sought the counsel of professional coaches in addition to her personal network to help her define her voice.
Cindy benefited from the insight of her coaches, but she also found tremendous value in surrounding herself with other women who provided her with strength, empowerment, and encouragement on her path of discovery. Though others may not have experienced the same hardships that she had, Cindy recognized that there was power in reaching out and comforting the women in her life who were also going through difficult times, as many had done for her. Relationships built on transparency and vulnerability provide a strong sense of safety and mutuality. She acknowledges, “We’re all in this together.”
Your Voice is PowerThese days, Cindy is using her voice to help children and their communities develop an awareness of abuse while taking steps to prevent it. In 2016, she established the Give a Child a Voice Foundation, an organization that strives to be the nation’s leader in educating and empowering children to protect themselves from all forms of abuse. Cindy says that many people are reluctant to talk about abuse because it brings up bad memories or feels awkward, or they just want to pretend it doesn’t exist. Her goal is to smash that way of thinking and confront the issue head on. Her work is rooted in the belief that every child was made to shine, and her convictions embolden her to break down the walls of discomfort and shine a light into a very dark subject. From community events to sales and giveaways of a series of picture books written and drawn by Cindy herself, Give a Child a Voice is removing the stigmas of abuse and giving communities the power to recognize and prevent child abuse.
To learn more about the Give a Child a Voice Foundation, visit their website, and be sure to check out Cindy’s book series at her site. For every book purchased, a book is donated to a child in need.

Scroll to top

© Women Connect4Good, Inc. All Rights Reserved.