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From the heart

Feminine leadership gathering acknowledges strength in community

Celebrating the Feminine in Leadership organizers: Jamie Whartenby, Jillian Marie, Celeste McNeal Wood and Jade, Ivy Norris, Sharla Ember, Rev. Anne Clement, Yadenee Hailu (not pictured: Jennifer Thompson and Judy Keefe)

Greg Bollinger

We know plenty about what masculine leadership looks like, but what does it look like when feminine energy leads? Like a Stanford-educated woman in a pantsuit? A nursing mother speaking at the UN? Maybe like Malala Yousafzai, or Rebecca Solnit, or Erica Garner?

Galvanized by a changing cultural landscape, more women are doing publicly what they’ve always done privately: meeting together for reality checks, wisdom-sharing, problem-solving, and inspiration for questions just like this. Such gatherings linking self-care with community vision are as old as womankind, spanning many cultures and ethnicities, all in the service of leadership—of oneself and of others.

It’s this spirit that Ivy Norris—a holistic health practitioner with two decades of experience—tapped into when organizing Celebrating the Feminine in Leadership, which will be held on Feb. 10.

“We wanted to have a gathering that more accurately reflected the community we’re in,” Norris said. “To set down, at least for an afternoon, political focuses or insecurities related to competing with other women, for a truly intercultural, intergenerational, nonpartisan gathering where we help to light each other’s torches.”

The event will open with a prayer by Carmen White Janak, who emceed the 2018 Tulsa Women’s March, followed by an exercise to help attendees hone in on their individual strengths.

A panel discussion is the afternoon’s main event, featuring five women with diverse ethnicities, ages, and areas of expertise—but the thread of leadership runs through everything they do. Yadenee Hailu, a 22-year-old whose family is from Ethiopia and who studies at Phillips Theological Seminary, will focus on the self in leadership; Native American bodyworker Jamie Whartenby will discuss creative self-care; doula Celeste McNeal Wood talks about leadership through motherhood; longtime hospice volunteer coordinator Jennifer Thompson will address the importance of volunteerism in leadership from a business perspective; and 86-year-old Rev. Anne Clement will tell a story about the importance of elders in decision-making processes. Live music by Sharla Ember and the Cherokee Girty Family Singers will round out the event, and there will be plenty of time for networking throughout.

“Some men have asked if they were welcome to come,” said Norris. “I wanted to call it ‘the feminine in leadership’ rather than ‘women in leadership’ for a reason. If you honor the feminine in leadership, or you will bring support to that, then please come.”

“This is coming from a place of abundance,” she continued. “We really do stand on the shoulders of giants. This gathering will be an internalized, clarifying time of interpersonal relationships to get clear on making sure we’re being and doing both what’s fulfilling and what adds to the whole.”

Celebrating the Feminine in Leadership
1:00–5:30 p.m.  | Saturday, Feb. 10
All Souls Unitarian Church
2952 S. Peoria Ave.
Tickets ($35) available here

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