On Sept. 13, 2018, the North American Division (NAD) Administrative Committee voted to adopt and endorse the Adventist Women Leaders (AWL) initiative. What started with a lunch for 15 women gathered in a conference room at the NAD Year-End Meeting in October 2017 has grown to more than 50 subscribers to an email newsletter published twice each month.
“AWL is a community where we can connect, tell our stories, learn from others’ experiences and find inspiration in our shared journeys,” says Debra Brill, NAD vice president for Ministries, who chairs the initiative.
The goal is to create and foster a nurturing and supportive community for women who serve in leadership capacities for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Women who serve as presidents, vice presidents, directors, associate and assistant directors, administrators, superintendents and leaders of Adventist ministries are invited to join the community. They will find a group that acknowledges the gifts God has given to each woman, offers leadership development, and fosters a culture of inclusivity and opportunities for growth.
“We are here to say to women in leadership: ‘We see you, we acknowledge your call and accomplishments, we rejoice in how God is working through you, we are here for you, and we are praying for you,’” says Celeste Ryan Blyden, vice president for Strategic Communication and Public Relations for the Columbia Union Conference, who spearheaded the initiative.
Blyden saw a need for a leadership community among women based on her own experience. She reached out to Brill, Tamyra Horst, communication director, as well as women’s, family and prayer ministries director for the Pennsylvania Conference, and Ann Roda, vice president of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care for Maryland-based Adventist HealthCare, to form the community’s organizing committee.
As a resource network, AWL offers an email newsletter twice each month. It features profiles of women leaders, spiritual encouragement and lessons learned. And in each issue, readers are asked to pray for a woman in the network.
AWL is now organizing a division-wide luncheon on Jan. 16, 2019, at the close of the NAD Ministries Convention in Albuquerque, N.M. Women leaders are invited to get better acquainted and engage in an interactive learning experience about emotional intelligence.
“The ability to recognize, analyze and respond to how we think, feel, act and relate to others accounts for 80 percent of our success,” says Jennifer Stanford, a career coach and consultant, who will give the keynote presentation.
Through assessment activities, roundtable discussions and reflection time, participants will access tools and learn methods to help foster healthy workplace and personal relationships.
— Michele Joseph is managing editor of the AWL Newsletter.
4 Ways to Help AWL Grow
We invite you to join our community to help the movement grow. Here’s what you can do:
- PRAY for AWL’s ministry and the women leaders serving in a variety of capacities across the North American Division and around the world.
- HAVE LUNCH with us on Jan. 16 in Albuquerque, NM. Register today!
- SUBSCRIBE to the Adventist Women Leaders email newsletter.
- SHARE the newsletter and the luncheon invitation with other women presidents, vice presidents, directors, associate directors, assistants to the president and superintendents in your circles.