top of page
Search

118. Together Women Rise: Communities Creating Change with Barb Collins and Beverley Francis-Gibson


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world - it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead Do you doubt your power to make positive change in your workplace or community? Then you need to listen to this episode. Barb Collins, a visionary leader and co-founder of Together Women Rise, has dedicated two decades to empowering women and girls across the globe. Barb's passion for change was ignited during her life-changing trip to Tanzania, where she was inspired by the resilience and determination of local women. Alongside her co-founder, Marcia Wallace, Barb created an organization that would harness the power of collective action to make a lasting impact. Beginning with a single dinner party and a small group of women 20 years ago, Together Women Rise capitalized on the power of community to grow exponentially. Today, Together Women Rise, led by CEO Beverley Francis-Gibson, has provided over $11 million in funding to 250 projects in 60 countries, positively affecting the lives of 5 million women and girls. In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Understand the power of uniting communities to achieve transformative and sustainable change.

  • Dive into the world of women empowerment through the remarkable efforts of Together Women Rise organization.

  • Investigate how gender equality can be furthered by extending grants to ground-level organizations.

  • Learn how you can support Together Women Rise AND your own leadership development through Coaching for Good.

Resources shared:

  • Coaching for Good! Support the work of Together Women Rise with a donation (suggested minimum of $25) and get a leadership coaching session with Teri for FREE!

    1. Send your donation receipt email to teri@strongertoserve.com before May 10th and we'll send you the link to book your FREE 45-min. leadership coaching session


About Barb:

Barb Collins
Barb Collins

Barbara Fintel Collins is co-founder of Together Women Rise, the largest giving circle dedicated to advancing gender equality worldwide. With more than forty years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Barb specializes in nurturing organizational innovation and inspiring collaborative culture.


Barb believes that the most effective way to build a sustainable world of peace and well-being for all is by investing in the futures of women and girls. The simple yet powerful model of Together Women Rise democratizes philanthropy and proves that one person can change the world when their actions are

multiplied by thousands.


Under Barb’s leadership, Together Women Rise grew from the founding chapter in Greenville, SC, to 350 across the country. Together they have amassed $11 million in small gifts and awarded 250 grants to partnering organizations in 60 countries. These grants have directly impacted the lives of 5 million

women and girls and have sent a powerful ripple effect within their families, communities, and countries.


Barb is the author of Love, Norm, a book that tells the story of her father, who spent a miraculous nine-month remission crafting a message of hope for the world he was leaving behind. Following in his footsteps, Barb lives to carry on his legacy by inspiring individuals to lead transformational change.

In 2014, Barb was named an Everyday Freedom Hero by the National Underground Railroad FreedomCenter, and in 2017, she was named a SHEro Phenomenal Philanthropist by SHEGreenville.


Barb and her husband live in Greenville, South Carolina, and have two daughters, and three very busy

grandchildren.


Beverley Francis-Gibson
Beverley Francis-Gibson

About Beverley:


Beverley Francis-Gibson is currently the CEO of Together Women Rise, a powerful community of women and allies dedicated to achieving global gender equality. With hundreds of local chapters across the U.S., members learn about and advocate for gender equality issues, give grants to organizations that empower women and girls in low-income countries, and build community to forge meaningful connections that increase our strength and collective impact.


Francis-Gibson previously served as the President and CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. (SCDAA) based in Hanover, Maryland and has more than 25 years of experience serving non-profits and community foundations. She has an extensive background in philanthropy, fundraising, grant writing and organizational management. She has worked on behalf of women and girls through her professional and personal career and is very excited to work with the community of women at Together Women Rise.

She has also led organizations whose mission addressed issues of mental illness, HIV and AIDS, homelessness/poverty, domestic violence and women’s issues.


She is the recipient of several leadership awards and recently received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her advocacy efforts in Washington D.C.


A native of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Francis-Gibson holds a B.A. in Public Relations and Communications and an M.A. in Industrial and Community Counseling from Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond Kentucky. She and her husband enjoy cooking, traveling and spending time with their adult children.


Transcript


While it's not perfect, we offer this transcription by Descript for those who prefer to read or who are hearing impaired.


[00:00:00] Teri Schmidt: Welcome back. I'm guessing you've heard the Margaret Mead quote. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact. It's the only thing that ever has.


I've always loved that quote, but have honestly never seen it played out so clearly as with the organization that our two guests today are part of. The charity together, women rise.

This now global charity that has benefited over 5 million women and girls in 60 countries. Started at one simple potluck birthday party.


It was such a pleasure hearing the origin story of the organization from one of the co-founders Barb Collins and hearing stories of impact. From the CEO, Beverly Francis Gibson.


So if you're longing to make a change in your workplace or community, but are feeling discouraged or disheartened by your limited power to make an impact. Listen to the together women rise story today.


And stick around because after their interview, I'm going to share an update and an announcement that you won't want to miss.

I'm Teri Schmidt, founder of Stronger to Serve Coaching and Teambuilding, where we launched leaders past overwhelm to careers of courageous impact. And this is the Strong Leaders Serve podcast.


Well, welcome Barb and Beverly to the Strong Leaders Serve Podcast. I am honored to have you on today and really excited to hear more about the work that you do with Together Women Rise.


[00:01:46] Barb Collins: thanks Teri. It's a great opportunity to share our story.

[00:01:49] Teri Schmidt: Well, speaking of stories, I would love to just jump right into a story of impact that kind of talks. What Together Women Rise does. And then , we'll backtrack a little bit to hear a little bit more about your stories and the origin of the organization, but I'd love to just jump right in. So Beverly, tell us a story about one of your grantees and when, you know, when someone gives to Together Women Rise, what kind of impact are they giving to?

[00:02:20] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Thank you for that question, Terry. One of the grantees that we have supported most recently is called the Moon Catcher Project, and this is a program that helps to keep girls in school when they are on their cycle. And the Moon Catcher Project created a menstrual pads that were reus. And they are in a nice, I wish I could say show it to you, but it's, it comes in a very nice compact bag that is also washable and reusable.

And the Moon Catcher Project was something that we were really excited about because one of the areas that we are extremely focused on supporting obviously, is girls staying in school and being educated. Seeing the world beyond where their lives may be at that time. And what the Moon Catcher Project learned was that girls were missing several days of school every month because of their, of their menstrual cycles.

In addition, they're also educating the girls about their bodies. And, you know, and about the fallopian tools and a lot of the things that we learned, I think in elementary school or middle high school in terms of health education, and they're doing it in a way that's very focused on having women who've gone through the program themselves.

Come back and actually educate the girls. And they've seen a traumatic decrease in absenteeism in schools because girls are now showing up for schools because they have these pads that they can use and change and wash and reuse and addition. It's also helped with the girls' confidence. Because if you can imagine, and I'm, I'm thinking about myself you know, that's a very tender time for young women, young girls.

And if you are feeling ostracized because of your inability to show up because of your cycle. This actually helped the girls establish a sense of confidence in their bodies knowing that they had this protection. And they could come to school and be comforted in knowing that they were not gonna have any accidents and be embarrassed because of it.

So this is one of the projects that I love personally. And the founder, her, her name is Ellie. She wanted to do something for young girls in Africa. Kenya specifically because she had been there on several times several times herself, and saw that this was a need that needed to be, to be met. And I will tell you that that's one of the nuggets of many of the programs that we support.

There are women and young girls, teenagers seeing that there is a need and then thinking about what can I do to address that need? And that's something that you would see inherent within all of the grants that we.

[00:05:17] Teri Schmidt: Yeah, I love that the a need that she experienced herself, and then finding a way to not just go on with her life, but. Make sure that other girls don't have to go through that same situation and can take a different path in a sense.

[00:05:34] Beverley Francis-Gibson: exactly, exactly.

[00:05:36] Teri Schmidt: . So I am guessing that many of your other grantees, , are in similar situations, but tell me a little bit about the overall mission.

Of together Women Rise, and then we'll get into the story of how it all came to be.

[00:05:51] Beverley Francis-Gibson: So our mission is to support global gender equality for women and girls.

[00:05:58] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:05:59] Beverley Francis-Gibson: we do that with a number of members, community allies who come together around dinner or around lunch sometimes. To think about ways that they could help support the global world beyond where they are. So many of our chapters, we have over 350 chapters today.

They come together in various homes. Sometimes they meet in the backyard. And they're meeting with women that they may have known in different capacities, but they're coming together to think about how can we affect change in the lives of women and girls globally. And so they make donations to together women rise.

And that money that is collected by our organization is then used through a vetting process that our grants committee has to select grantees to support throughout the year. And so we typically have about 12 grantees. We feature one grantee per. Which is very nice because they have the entire month to be focused on in chapter meetings, in our national webinars, in videos, fact sheets, we even include recipes about, you know, the, for the places that we're featuring

[00:07:15] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:07:16] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Talk about the economy and what's happening in that particular country or that community or that village. So I think it provides a well-rounded education for our members, but it also lets the women and the girls know that we're supporting that they're not alone. That there is a, a, a, a world of what I call sisters around the world, supporting them and helping to make their lives.

[00:07:41] Teri Schmidt: So much of what you just spoke to, speaks to. Our philosophy at Stronger to Serve Coaching and team building. So we support leaders in recognizing the potential and the value within themselves, their own strengths and their values. But then building skills as well so that they can raise up that potential in others.

So that's one way that stronger to serve, executes our mission. But the other way is how do we form community and also look beyond our immediate workplace and say, you know, what other needs are there where. Do people need to have barriers removed to expressing their full potential? And that's where our support of Together Women Rise is coming in.

[00:08:31] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Oh, wonderful.

[00:08:32] Teri Schmidt: love to hear about how you're using community to come together to. Teach about the different needs that are in the world, particularly for women and girls, and how can we, you know, bring more compassion and justice into our daily lives and into the global scene, so,

[00:08:51] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Yeah, and that was, I would also add that, you know, ultimately we want women and girls to have access.

[00:08:58] Teri Schmidt: mm-hmm.

[00:08:59] Beverley Francis-Gibson: To achieving their dreams, to being the women and girls that they could be to knowing that there is a world beyond where they may exist and that there are people supporting them along that journey. I think that's very, very important as well.

[00:09:14] Teri Schmidt: I love that. Well, Barb, I would love to hear the origin story of together women Rise and hear about how this all came to be.

[00:09:22] Barb Collins: Yeah, I'm, it's been 20 years this year,

[00:09:26] Teri Schmidt: Wow.

[00:09:27] Barb Collins: so we're, we're actually celebrating our big 20th year. So I've been digging into our early grants and finding stories to share this year, which be Beverly mentioned before rise believes that. Every person deserves the opportunity, the same opportunity to, to thrive no matter their gender or where they happen to live.

And this was true on our very beginning night. 20 years ago my neighbor and co-founder Marsha Wallace, invited me and 25 women to dine in for her birthday party instead of dining out and pool what we would've. And give it to women and girls. So that first night we raised $650 for this organization called Women for Women International. And we trusted it because Oprah had vetted it and had them on her program.

[00:10:27] Teri Schmidt: Uhhuh,

[00:10:28] Barb Collins: So this group of women got so excited about, we did that. We decided we'd meet the next And then with that group has been meeting now every month for 20 years.

[00:10:39] Teri Schmidt: Oh my gosh.

[00:10:40] Barb Collins: So we called ourselves Dining for Women, expected everyone to wanna join us.

But it was 2005, two years later that we were included in a big new national study on this new philanthropy of involved giving called Giving Circles.

[00:10:57] Teri Schmidt: Mm. Mm-hmm.

[00:10:58] Barb Collins: So when the media found this, It was so transformational in the industry that they picked up our story and spread it like wildfire across the country and even the world we were in U S A Today, women's Day People Magazine readers Digest, New York Times.

I was flying home once and leave through the Delta in Flight Magazine and saw an article on us, and I didn't even know we were supposed to be in it. So it wasn't long before we were the largest global giving circle in the world dedicated to women and girls, and our model proved that one person can change the world, and we got really, really good at harnessing collective and collaborative action.

One thing that didn't mention, and I'm not sure Beverly, if I have the right statistics, But we have now amassed small gifts into 10 million

[00:11:56] Beverley Francis-Gibson: 11 million.

[00:11:58] Barb Collins: am I right?

[00:11:59] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Yeah. 11 million.

[00:12:01] Barb Collins: projects in 60 countries impacting the lives of 5 million women and girls that we know about.

[00:12:10] Teri Schmidt: Oh my gosh.

[00:12:12] Barb Collins: So we, we truly believe that investing in women and girls since that very first.

night Is the fastest way for us to build a sustainable world of peace and wellbeing for all of humankind

[00:12:26] Teri Schmidt: Mm. Mm-hmm.

[00:12:27] Barb Collins: and unlocking the human potential of a woman. And giving her access to healthcare education, they marry later. They delay having children. They have bigger earning power, they have better health, and they drive change in their families and communities and even their countries and beyond.

Women transformed help transform other women, which is exactly what. Organization is doing. So did you know that women spend 90% of their earned income on their families and men will spend 30 to 40%?

[00:13:03] Teri Schmidt: That, wow, I had no idea

[00:13:07] Barb Collins: Yeah. So over the years we've, we've gotten very sophisticated. We have staff We have a grant selection process run by all volunteers. We're basically a volunteer-based organization, which we encourage leadership development within it.

[00:13:23] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:13:24] Barb Collins: So did that answer your question?

[00:13:26] Teri Schmidt: It did. And so much, that I'd love to dig into there. I think first. The idea that it all started with one birthday party. You know, just one idea of let's take this one night where we would spend money at a restaurant and let's do something different with it.

[00:13:46] Barb Collins: Yeah. And three years before that first night, I had taken a trip to Tanzania with my kids to visit my parents who were living there, and I met some of the most resilient, determined, wo women I have ever met. And I realized what they were doing was so few resource. And I wanted to help

[00:14:09] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:09] Barb Collins: I came back home knowing they didn't have mailboxes or a way to get money into their hands.

Mm-hmm. So I sat there and just thought about that for three years. It was a little depressing at times. And then Marsha invited me to her party and my moment of, I now know how to get money into women's hands.

[00:14:33] Teri Schmidt: Right, right. Oh, I, I love that when, you know, paths cross like that, stars align, however you wanna say it.

[00:14:42] Barb Collins: I call it strategic serendipity.

[00:14:44] Teri Schmidt: Ah, I like that. I like that. I, I might steal that. I hope you don't mind.

[00:14:49] Barb Collins: It happens to us a lot.

[00:14:51] Teri Schmidt: Yeah.

[00:14:51] Beverley Francis-Gibson: it does. It.

[00:14:53] Teri Schmidt: Oh, that's amazing. . The another thing I just wanna dig into a little bit you've said that you think that supporting women and girls is the, the quickest way to a sustainable, thriving future.

Tell me more about why you believe that and how you've seen that, , come into play.

[00:15:11] Barb Collins: I, you know, there's an old Ghana philosopher from. Late 18 hundreds, early 19 hundreds, who said that when you educate a man, you educate an individual. And when you educate a woman, you educate a nation. And what I'm seeing over the time with our grants is that when a woman is transformed, she pays it forward

and she lives. To be able to transform another, usually within her family, her friends, her community and sometimes far beyond that.

[00:15:53] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:54] Barb Collins: We have looked at kind of the ripple effects of our, of our early grants over years, and just seen the evidence of what has happened because of our early grants, and it's, it's astounding the power that women have to, to make change and, and lasting change.

[00:16:14] Teri Schmidt: If you have a story about maybe your favorite ripple effect. I know you said you've been going through some of the older, older grantee stories. Do you have

one? .

[00:16:24] Barb Collins: do, I have several and it, it's kind of hard to, hard to pick. You know, we give a featured grant every

month, but we also give sustained grants, which are multi-year. And they are given to those that earned a featured grant. So one of these, I remember researching back before we had a grant application process.

I chose the grants. We set criteria. We wanted women-led ideas, women-led organizations. We wanted them to be relatively small so that there was a bigger impact. And we listened to what the women needed in order to thrive. So one of these we found in One Heart who is now called One Heart Worldwide. In 1997, right before we began, a nurse practitioner who had worked in high risk births for about 40 years. She lived in Utah. Arlene Semaine went to Tibet, and I'm not quite sure why, but at the time in Tibet, one in 19 newborns and one in a hundred pregnant women died during childbirth. She met the Dai la. Who asked her to help the women and babies in Tibet, and she picked up and moved and did that.

[00:17:55] Teri Schmidt: Oh

[00:17:55] Barb Collins: So she studied the local traditions and the cultures. Which is so important. And then she created a replicable health model to help the birthing process. So in 2006, we gave them about $5,000 in a grant. And this is what gets me the, we funded 245 clean birth kits. They included gloves, a plastic sheet. Razor blades, string and soap. So we funded them again for two additional years, and by 10 years their model had decreased, unintended home births by 75% into bed.

[00:18:44] Teri Schmidt: Oh my gosh.

[00:18:46] Barb Collins: And what's amazing to me, Is that one heart eventually grew so confident that they had accomplished what they wanted to do.

They turned over the operations to local organizations and they moved to another country in greater need, which happened to be Nepal. And then they changed their name One Heart Worldwide. They had re, they have reduced cost per pregnancy. From 2000 to under 48 per dollars, and that is a a 98 decrease

[00:19:21] Teri Schmidt: Uhhuh.

[00:19:22] Barb Collins: since 2010.

So their vision is to replicate that model and spread it around the world in the least 50% of the most remote countries, rural areas in the entire world. And so, yes, our grant was small.

But the impact over time is unmeasurable.

, and this is one of dozens of stories, so the women in that are transformed, it's all of us being transformed

[00:19:57] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

[00:19:58] Barb Collins: and rise gives us those tools and resources that we need to achieve.

Our aspirations, whatever they might be, because they're different for all

[00:20:08] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

[00:20:10] Barb Collins: when we're transformed, we transform another and another, and another. And it gives me hope that gender equality can be built perhaps even within my lifetime. I know that's a, a big goal, but there's evidence that, that, that there's momentum to be, to be getting that.

[00:20:30] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

[00:20:32] Barb Collins: So that's one of my stories.

[00:20:34] Teri Schmidt: Yet another example of one woman being transformed, giving a calling and going with it. And just the impact. I mean, just thinking about all the babies that might have not made it, that are now in the world today, perhaps changing the world in their own way.

[00:20:52] Barb Collins: Yeah. You know, how do you, it's just unfathomable that something we did almost 20 years ago has such lasting ripple

[00:21:02] Teri Schmidt: Yeah. Well, Beverly, I'd love to hear your story about how you came to be involved with Together Women Rise and any, any backstory that contributed toward that path for you.

[00:21:16] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Well, I was born in the c.

.

And I would tell you that the island I was, I was raised on 32 square miles. Everyone knows everyone and it was truly the village mentality where everyone raised me and my. Because my mom was a single parent who worked three jobs, typically two jobs, and so I was always in my community looking for ways that I could give back and I could help others.

Not even realizing that 50 plus years later, it would pivot me to an organization that's doing exactly that.

[00:21:58] Teri Schmidt: Hmm.

[00:21:59] Beverley Francis-Gibson: I was helping my neighbors children with their homework, with helping them with food because she was also a single parent. And this was unbeknownst to my mom with six children. So I saw that we were more fortunate.

Probably would differ, but I felt that there was a need to help. And so I would get all six kids to come to our. After school every day, and I would help them with homework. I would help feed them until their mom came home. I think it was like several years later before my mom realized that I was doing that,

[00:22:35] Teri Schmidt: You had a covert

[00:22:36] Beverley Francis-Gibson: why is it that, why is it that the grocery bill has increased tremendously? But I will tell you that from that and I, I grew up in a space where women were celebrated and we were told, and we were encouraged to be our best selves. And we had teachers and our community, our priest Everyone in our community helping to foster that for that confidence and that growth within each of

[00:23:04] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:23:05] Beverley Francis-Gibson: So I left the Caribbean and I went to school in Wisconsin and that was a huge culture

[00:23:11] Teri Schmidt: I can imagine. I'm from the Midwest originally, so I

[00:23:15] Beverley Francis-Gibson: yes. yes. But out of that, I have found that my calling has always been to help women and girls. I've always worked in the nonprofit sector. , and I did a lot of work as a case manager helping women who were in domestic violence situations.

I supplied support groups and it, it, it became, I guess well known because more women kept coming, so my support group kept, kept getting bigger. So I had 45 women. In one support group at one time, and I kept saying, this is crazy. I'm gonna need to make this, you know split it. But no one ever wanted to leave the support group similar to, to women, to together women rise.

So we just kept on meeting and and, and connecting in that way. But my work professionally has always been to support women and girls as well as what I've. Personally, I've also been a part of starting giving circles, so when I worked at a foundation, Several, my, of my friends and I created the next generation of African-American philanthropists.

We didn't even at the time understand what that meant

because didn't see ourselves as philanthropists, but we knew we wanted to give our time and our talents and our treasure to making our community better. And as a part of my professional career, I was also managing, giving circles at that time, I think up to 13, giving circle.

Within the foundation. I've also done a lot of work in terms of training women mo in motivational, in motivational skills, self-esteem. I've always volunteered with nonprofit organizations that are helping women and doing. Help women. I am the mother of three young adult women. And I think all of that has led me to together Women rise.

I remember several years ago I was asked to speak at the UN on the state of women. And I, at the time, I didn't even recognize and didn't know anything about together Women Rise. I think I saw the ad for the position of c e o in the paper somewhere. I can't even remember, but I, I actually think it, it, it, someone led me spiritually to see this, this ad, and I applied.

And I remember telling my daughters about the job and they were like, but mom, this is exactly what you said you wanted to do next. This is all of the things that you've told us. And I had a list of things that I wanted in my next

job, my middle daughter reminded me, she said, every single thing you said on that list is what together women rights does.

And so why wouldn't you apply? Because I was debating and said, it's exactly what you said you wanted. I applied, needless to say, and I am here. But I am very excited because I have had the honor to meet women like Barb and women who are giving every single day as part of our members who are donating their

time talents to help make this organization what it is.

And as Bob said, we're celebrating 20 years of amazing ups and downs, but accomplishments. Imagine. And I am excited every single day to be a part of that and continue to grow our efforts to have more money to give globally to women and to support women and girls. We have a staff of 10 now.

[00:26:46] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm. Doing all that

[00:26:49] Beverley Francis-Gibson: you started, when now we have 10 women working within this organization and I am honored to work with them every single day as we think about how can we do what we do better, how can we reach more women and girls, how can we support more grantees?

How can we increase our chapters? I looked at some data that said, I think we have over 6 50, 300. Women who are part of together, women Rise. And just yesterday I've been thinking about how can we ex expand our reach internationally. And my technology manager sent me a report that indicated that we have 52 women that are supporting us from other countries.

And I was like, wow, I had no idea. And so as I think about where we are now and where we're going, I envision. A together women rise, that has even more women, younger women of all races and all ethnic ethnicities supporting this work and even our grantees being a part of the the work. Do every day. One of the things that we also do very, very well is we have a travel program.

And so we actually take our members to visit our grantees in different countries. And I I went to India this year and met. Four of our grantees and we went to their homes and the girls were so excited that we were there. It didn't matter that it was 6:00 PM at night and they had been going all day.

They wanted us to visit their homes, and many of them talked about coming to the US and what it was. Like to meet our, all of our members. And that for me solidified my why. You know, why I love this organization, why I'm here every day, why I'm committed to what we're doing. Because those girls left a, I mean, we were sobbing

left fresh on me when we got back on that bus.

And all of us, all 14 of us were speechless. And they were like, we wanna do more of.

[00:28:55] Teri Schmidt: Yeah.

[00:28:56] Beverley Francis-Gibson: that's why I'm here and I love it.

[00:28:58] Teri Schmidt: Definitely more . What was that? Strategic serendipity?

[00:29:01] Barb Collins: Yes, for sure.

[00:29:03] Teri Schmidt: Definitely, definitely. Sounds like Beverly being there is an example of that. Well, As I mentioned we are bringing a group of women together mostly women leaders in the corporate space, and I wonder if there are any parallels to the impact that you've seen on women coming together, your members coming together, and how that has benefited them that.

You know, we could apply to women leaders coming together in the corporate space. Just the power of women gathering together. Any, any stories about how you've seen that?

[00:29:40] Barb Collins: I have one.

So we develop leaders,

Ev every one of us. We're a process of leading how to lead our best lives

No matter where or who you are. And it's more important for people to come than it is. The size of their gift.

It's more important that we act and every chapter is individualized and intimate.

You know, you think about we have 250 chapters all over the country and or women all over the globe. So how do you get a handle of what's going on in those chapters, but. One woman, a young woman in Asheville North Carolina, who is extremely introverted, and she joined this chapter and the average age was considerably older than she was.

She was a student and she eventually volunteered to lead the program. Discussion, the grant present the new grant.

[00:30:50] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:30:52] Barb Collins: And after doing this, her voice got stronger and louder. Her confidence kept building, and today you meet her and she is just a powerful woman leader.

[00:31:07] Teri Schmidt: Hmm.

[00:31:08] Barb Collins: I think volunteerism and being active in your own education and learning about the world

Shapes our actions.

[00:31:18] Teri Schmidt: . Oh, I wholeheartedly agree.

[00:31:21] Barb Collins: I also believe that it's much more than being committed to RISE's mission. It's being committed to a vision of what will and should be a gender equality world,

[00:31:35] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:31:36] Barb Collins: and that when you have that big a stake, like a big star ahead of you and you're all reaching for that, it just makes you rise up and do your

best.

[00:31:46] Beverley Francis-Gibson: yes. I wanted to also share, I visited one of our chapters in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is one of the most diverse chapters we have in that have 25 countries represented and all, all ages represented. And I spent three hours visiting that chapter one night, and the youngest member of that chapter is 30 years old.

[00:32:13] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:14] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Afghanistan and she shared with me that her first visit to a chapter meeting was directly from the airport. So she flew from Afghanistan to a chapter meeting in Greensboro and North Carolina to, and she's been coming ever since. And when I left, they were asking her to share to volunteer, to sh to present the grantee, the f the next month.

And she said, oh, I don't, I don't think I know enough to, to do that. And they were like, what are you talking about? They were like, every single chapter meeting. You are sharing information. Cause she does a little more the research beyond the grant. She does a lot of research about the demographics of that country, the politics of that country.

And she comes to those meetings prepared to share that. And they say, you've already been doing your homework, you've already been doing that extra research. So next month you are gonna share the information about the grantee. And she finally said, yeah, you guys are. But what I also have seen and I've also love about this organization is no matter who you are, no matter what age you are, no matter what race you are, when you come to a chapter meeting, you are welcomed.

[00:33:28] Teri Schmidt: Mm. Mm-hmm.

[00:33:29] Beverley Francis-Gibson: the connections that the women have made over the years, many of them ha know about each other's children and each other's families, and they know about their wedding anniversaries and birthdays and they've met their grandkids at the meetings. They're not just sharing information about their grantees, they're connecting is women.

[00:33:49] Teri Schmidt: , definitely connecting as women with that shared mission and vision, like Barb was talking about moving you forward. Yeah, that's I'm hearing a couple of themes in those, those stories that I think are definitely transferrable to many different instances of women coming together. I think from Barb's story about the woman who, you know, Gained a voice through the opportunity.

I think just the power of being in a supportive, safe space to develop skills and develop that voice. I think

[00:34:24] Barb Collins: It's so important. When my daughter moved to Jacksonville, Florida, I'm like, she didn't have friends, didn't know the community. And I'm like, go find a Dining for Women. That was our

, our name before together, women Rise. I'm like, go find a chapter. And so she went and found a chapter and all these women were probably in their fifties and sixties and they embraced her like their own.

[00:34:49] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:34:50] Barb Collins: And my comfort level just went, ah, she's in good hands.

[00:34:53] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Is this okay? Yeah.

[00:34:55] Teri Schmidt: definitely. Definitely. And you know, I, I think. I actually just did an episode about the stats that talk about how lonely women leaders are in the workplace. And I, I think. Finding those communities where you can come together, where you have a safe space, where you can try out different things that you wanna develop and where you can recognize your strengths.

Like you were talking about Beverly, the one woman from Afghanistan, who obviously head of strength of being a researcher, you know, she

[00:35:26] Beverley Francis-Gibson: she's

[00:35:27] Teri Schmidt: and she could contribute. To the other women there so that they could benefit from it. And so that, like you said, Barb, you know, transformed women, transformed women.

[00:35:37] Barb Collins: They do. They really do.

It's, it's amazing. Yeah. you know, we're really in the, in the business of compassion and hope,

And, and doing it and being involved with us is, there's something addictive

about it.

[00:35:53] Teri Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

[00:35:54] Barb Collins: For me, it's like a feeling of joy that I get when I know I can help another person, especially another woman who's gonna go on and pay that forward and help another woman, and on and on and on.

It's just like we're unleashing this tidal wave of goodwill and we've got the potential to do that because our model is perfectly positioned to help build that momentum around the world. I, I believe we can.

[00:36:21] Beverley Francis-Gibson: Oh, I we're doing it. We're doing it. And I, yeah, and I think the point that you made, Barb, you know, we don't charge people to be a part of our chapters. And so when someone calls the our office and says, well, you know, how much does it cost? And we say, it doesn't cost you anything to come to a meeting and just see what it's like and meet our members.

That is another catalyst I think for removing obstacles. Sometimes that may be a barrier for someone else to participate, and I think we have been very thoughtful about replicating what we're doing around the world within the organization itself, and that is also very powerful.

[00:37:02] Teri Schmidt: . Yeah,

. Well, I have loved learning about each of you learning about Together Women Rise, and I'm so excited to support you this month and then in the future as well. So thank you both for your time today. I look forward to remaining connected and continuing to just watch the amazing work that you are doing.

[00:37:25] Beverley Francis-Gibson: And Terry, if you're not already on our mailing list, I. Make sure you get added

[00:37:30] Teri Schmidt: I believe I am, but I will double check because I want to be.

[00:37:34] Barb Collins: And Terry, thanks for digging in and finding us. So I see some researching skills that could be very helpful to us. So come on, aboard.

[00:37:45] Teri Schmidt: Definitely, definitely. I wanna, I wanna look into it. I, I think there are opportunities for future partnership in one way or another. So I'm gonna gonna look into that. I'm, I'm leaving this completely inspired and just thank you both for the work that you have been doing over the past 20 years and continue to do today.

[00:38:05] Barb Collins: Thank you so

much.

Wasn't that inspiring. It not only shows the power that a small group of women working together can have. And that you can have. But it also shows how meaningful it can be to come together in community to support each other. And to look beyond the group to support others' needs together as well.

All right. So what you've all been waiting for? The announcements. First. Unfortunately, we had to postpone our women supporting women event. Be sure to stay tuned for a future date.

But since that event was going to support together, women rise. I wanted to find another way to support them instead. And I am really excited about this.

For the two weeks between April 26th and May 10th, we are having a coaching for good event. That will benefit together. Women rise and support their global work with women and girls.

I will be doing coaching sessions for donations and you get to benefit.

When you make a donation to support them. You get a coaching session with me? If you've been wondering if leadership coaching is for you. Or curious about how it is to work one-on-one with me. Or if you just have a pressing leadership challenge or question that you just want to talk through with someone. Now's your chance.

Here's how it works. Go to together. Women rise.org forward slash give

And make a donation of at least $25. To support their work. The second step is to forward your donation receipt. Email to me. At Terry T E R I. At stronger to serve.com. And then I'll send you the link to book your free 45 minute leadership coaching session. The sessions can take place anytime between April 27th and July 10th.

However, there are limited sessions and session booking will close either on May 10th or when all the sessions are full. Let's see how much we can raise to support this organization that is doing so much for women and girls across the world. Be sure to share this opportunity with your friends so that we can make the biggest impact possible.


And until next time, lead with the quote that we started this episode with in mind: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has.

bottom of page