Nearly 50 women from around the world joined Adventist Women Leaders for the first Let’s Talk events on Feb. 23 and 25. Vice presidents, departmental directors, pastors and church leaders from California, Maryland and Nebraska to Guam, South Africa and Zimbabwe shared ideas on how women in the AWL community can support each other.
Celeste Ryan Blyden, Columbia Union vice president for strategic communication and public relations and AWL director, told attendees that “AWL works to support women leaders in three practical ways: providing opportunities for connection and engagement; listening and advocating; and leadership development.”
The event provided a safe space for women to share their stories and ideas for how to fill the professional development needs of the community. Those ideas ranged from a mentorship program to seminars and discussions on communication, dealing with imposter syndrome and more.
We need to “create a directory of who we can connect with when we need mentoring with certain skills,” suggested Esther Knott, associate director of the North American Division’s Ministerial Association.
Women were already using the opportunity to share contact information. After bonding in small-group breakout sessions, they planned to stay in touch.
“I enjoyed meeting more women leaders and hearing their stories,” said Heather Crews, pastor of the Courthouse Road Church in Virginia and managing editor of Best Practices for Adventist Ministry e-newsletter.
Blyden told attendees that the next steps will be to compile the ideas and recommendations shared by participants of both meetings, review them with the AWL Committee, and identify needs and opportunities.
— Michele Joseph, managing editor, Adventist Women Leaders newsletter