2002 Feminine Face of Leadership Conference

The idea for the Feminine Face of Leadership Conference came in May 2001 after spending a delightful afternoon at the home of Sherry Anderson and her husband Paul Ray. While Victor and Ray were deep in discussion about Cultural Creatives at the kitchen table, Sherry and I curled up on the couch to discuss women's issues. She mesmerized me with her many stories about the women she had interviewed in preparation for her book, The Feminine Face of God.

On our way home I was musing about our conversation and the importance of women taking action in the world. It came to me that a WOVA event could actually be a catalyst for creating positive change in every spoke of WOVA's Wheel of Transformation (each spoke represents a sector of society connected by Spirit at the center). What if we sponsored a conference where the WOVA membership voted prior to the event on 3 spokes that they would like to focus on? And, what if those attending the conference chose beforehand which spoke they wished to participate in? And, what if the entire conference were a process whereby the participants, who were separated into three different spokes and using spiritual principles were to come up with the BEST idea for positive change in their particular spoke? And, what if the three ideas generated by at the conference were then acted upon by a group of people who participated a Global Action Forum that would actually manifest the idea?

The inspiration filled my very soul. The next day I contacted members of our WOVA Board and ran the idea past them. They thought it was great and we immediately set the ball in motion to produce a Feminine Face of Leadership Conference. The date that was chosen was 02-02-02 (actually it began on 02-01-02 and ended on 02-03-02).

I sent out a questionnaire to the WOVA membership to see if there was support for such a conference and the idea was overwhelmingly embraced. I then sent out another questionnaire asking members to vote on which spokes they would like to focus on. The three that were chosen were: Spirituality, Community, and Health & Healing.

I pulled a team together to design the conference, recruited Lynn Bieber and Beata Lewis to facilitate, recruited other participants to serve as spoke facilitators, asked Kimberly Pfeil to design a logo and invited Sherry Anderson to be our keynote speaker.

It took 9 months to birth the event from inception to delivery (May 2001 - February 2002). Sixty-seven women attended ranging in age from 14 - 83. During the three days of the event, we all felt like we were going through labor pains that became so intense that some participants bailed out. Yet on the third day, the babies were delivered and everyone was overjoyed with the co-creative ideas that we had birthed.

The Feminine Face of Leadership Event, held at the Headlands Institute in Marin County, CA, was definitely a catalytic event. Below is a summary written by Conference Facilitator Lynn Bieber that gives a good description of the outcome of this unique conference.

What Have We Wrought?
By Lynn Bieber, MFT

In February 2002 Women of Vision and Action sponsored the Feminine Face of Leadership Conference. The weekend was full and reactions were mixed. Three spokes of the Wheel of Transformation were addressed - Community, Spirituality, and Health and Healing. Members chose the Wheel that had the most interest for them and as a group generated a mandate that was to be taken to a Global Action Forum to be formed after the conference.

I, for one, was doubtful about how the mandates could be carried out. First of all, in my own experience I have found it a challenge to get ideas manifested even when the originators are fully committed to do so. I wondered how someone else might have the energy and commitment to fulfill the mandates we garnered.

Two of the three groups (community and health & healing) presented the same mandate: to create a network for non-profit networks. The spirituality group presented a mandate for a global call to prayer. Now those are two big jobs!

Soon after the conference the steering committee for the Global Action Forum met. Victor Grey, Carol Hansen Grey's husband, was in attendance. When he heard the request for the network for networks he said he would like to present the request to some of the men he worked with in the computer software design field. The following meeting he reported they were not only willing, but excited about doing the project. And they wanted to do it for free and offer it for free. These software tools are now being developed by a group within the Planetwork Consortium and are scheduled to be shown at the upcoming Gather the Women Congress October 17-19, 2003. Wow! One mandate down and one more to go.

A Global Action Forum (GAF) Steering committee was also formed for the Global Call to Prayer (GCP) and an email list was set up to facilitate planning. In the meantime, the Gather the Women (GTW) idea was being birthed. When the Global Call to Prayer GAF committee started encountering some stumbling blocks, Carol Hansen Grey called committee members Kathe Schaaf and Bonnie Kaback to see how they felt about the idea of trying to morph the GCP into the Gather the Women project. They both got excited about this possibility and volunteered to serve on the GTW steering committee. The GCP committee disbanded and the Global Call to Prayer idea became part of the larger Gather the Women project that included as one of its activities a Global Day of Prayer that happened on March 3, 2003.

I found out about these miraculous occurrences while planning the WOVA Annual Retreat for 2003, and felt it was very important for the Feminine Face of Leadership attendees to know what their hard work produced. Within one year both mandates had taken physical form. Gather The Women will continue to grow and enhance the Global Prayer vision that emerged out of FFL. The Networking of Networks will be introduced in October 2003 where over a dozen international women's organizations will send representatives to participate in the first annual Gather the Women Congress: Weaving a World that Works. These organizations collaborating on this Congress will represent thousands of women worldwide.

What in the world do you think we will pull out of the hat in 2004?

--Lynn Bieber

You can see photos and more information about the event at the: WOVA website