On Friday, April 4, I attended the Women, Faith, and Finance Seminar in Decorah, Iowa. Luther College established the one-day event in 2004 and hosts it every year at the Hotel Winneshiek. For the10th anniversary, the organizers brought back keynote speakers from previous years. The anniversary panel included Kathleen Rehl (who will lead a workshop at the Ninth Triennial Gathering), Christine Grumm, former CEO/President of Women’s Funding Network and leader in mobilizing women for bold philanthropy, Connie Kilmark, financial counselor, and Jenny Peterson, philanthropy consultant.
I was delighted to attend with Syd Brinkman, a regular contributor to this blog, and Mike Klinefelter, the ELCA’s regional gift planner in Iowa. The speakers shared many great ideas that you can expect me to share with you in future blog posts. There’s one idea I’d like to share with you today.
In the closing session, the panelists were asked to share advice for women wanting to become more effective as donors and managers of money.
Connie Kilmark had this to say. “Set the agenda.” For generations, she said, church women have made a reputation for themselves by helping others with their projects. For many women, she noted, it will be a change to say “This is my project. This is how I want to change the world. Won’t you help me?”
“Set the agenda” is powerful advice. So often, I hear pastors and church leaders praise Women of the ELCA by saying, “If you want something done, ask the women.” In one way, this is a compliment. In another way, it’s a reminder of how often women let someone else set the agenda. As communities of women, how are we asking each other this question: “What’s the something that we want done, and how can we invite others to help us make it happen?”
Do you have examples of when you’ve followed Connie’s advice and when you haven’t? If you were to set the agenda, what would it be?
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development.
Photo provided by Emma Crossen. Used with permission. Syd Brinkman is pictured left, and Emma Crossen is pictured right.