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WomanKind is excited to announce the following speakers and workshop leaders:

Keynote Address - Lisa Sharon Harper

From Ferguson to New York, and from Germany to South Africa to Australia, Lisa Sharon Harper leads trainings that increase clergy and community leaders’ capacity to organize people of faith toward a just world.

Learn more here.

Worship Preacher - The Rev. Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams

Judy Fentress-Williams is Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Learn more here

Workshop leaders

Officer Carol Adams

Fearlessness in Danger: Domestic Violence

Women in our city exhibit fearlessness every day as they struggle to overcome difficult situations in their families and homes. Workshop participants will hear stories about inspiring women, gain an appreciation for resources available to victims of domestic violence, and discuss ways that women of faith can engage with this important issue facing women across our community and world.

Officer Carol Adams has served in Richmond’s public safety arena for roughly 30 years. Having come face to face with crime in her own family life, Carol is passionate about helping stop crime before it starts. After 7 ½ years with the Richmond Sheriff’s Department, she transferred over 22 years ago to the Richmond Police Department where she currently serves in its Community Care Special Projects Unit. Carol loves people and is highly recognized in her role as a community partner, cultivating relationships that become important resources for those in need. She serves as a champion for people who are homeless and leads them to places and resources that will provide respite and a new path towards safety and stabilization.

Carol is the CEO of (CAFI), the Carol Adams Foundation Incorporated, a non-profit organization based in Richmond. After 16 years of providing non-traditional assistance to families, Carol established the foundation in 2014 with the mission to provide emergency assistance to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Through the foundation, women and children have a temporary safety net which enables them to live violence-free and work toward self-sufficiency.

Millie Cain

A Mindful Approach to Facing Fears

Guided in a combination of practice and conversation, participants will explore the role of mindfulness approaches such as meditation and contemplative prayer in discovery, understanding, and healing related to things that cause fear in our lives. Participants will learn how mindful approaches can help you live more fearlessly on your journey of faith.

Millie Cain regularly leads silent and guided meditation sessions at a variety of faith-based and community settings across Richmond. She also combines legal and mindfulness expertise in a transformative mediation practice that serves as a highly beneficial alternative to traditional methods of conflict resolution. Her supportive and nonjudgmental process offers a space in which she works with others to look directly at the situation and use the emotions that arise – anger, fear, and hurt – to clarify and reconnect to a person’s deepest values, strength, and integrity. “Through connecting with our true self, we can access the situation and discern what feels harmonious. I never cease to be amazed at the beauty that emerges when we approach conflict in this way.”

Ayo Gansallo

Loving the Stranger Fearlessly

As women of faith, God calls us to love the stranger. Embarking on a journey to be in community with strangers from an unfamiliar part of town, from another culture, or from a different faith background usually involves some element of fearlessness from the parties involved. When one of the parties is seeking refuge from a fearful situation, fearless love becomes a central ingredient to making meaningful connections that bring help and healing.

Be a part of this timely discussion. According to the UN Refugee Agency there are currently 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide and 37,000 people a day are forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. With a backdrop of recent, real-life stories of engaging with strangers at the border, workshop participants will explore how God’s call to love the stranger relates to contemporary issues involving people seeking refuge from fearful situations.

“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 10:19
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Matthew 25:40
“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.”
Romans 12:13

Ayodele (Ayo) Gansallo is senior staff attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania, which provides legal, resettlement, citizenship, and supportive services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from all backgrounds in order to ensure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. She also serves as adjunct faculty at the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and volunteers with Al Otro Lado, or AOL, an organization that works with refugees seeking asylum and protection. She currently serves as rector’s warden of Christ Church Philadelphia, the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church. A blog describing one of her volunteer trips to the border can be found at: https://www.christchurchphila.org/get-involved/borderdiary/

Valley Haggard

Fearless Self-Expression

This is a Life in 10 Minutes workshop designed to create a sacred container for the transformative power of writing the truth about our selves and our lives. New and seasoned writers alike are encouraged to create, explore, reflect, connect, and heal by writing, sharing, and listening to each other using the powerful vehicle of the written word. Though this workshop is process rather than product oriented, poems, stories, essays and beginnings of memoirs are bound to emerge. No previous experience required; we all begin on the same blank page together. We write by hand; bring a notebook and a pen!

Valley Haggard is the founder and director of Life in 10 Minutes, an online journal and press that provides a platform for writers of every experience level from all around the globe to write about their own lives… 10 minutes at a time. The recipient of a 2014 Theresa Pollak Prize, a 2015 Style Weekly Women in the Arts Award and James River Writer’s Emyl Jenkins Award for 2018, Valley has led local and international writing retreats and shares a writing center on Cary Street with Richmond Young Writers. Valley is the co-editor of Nine Lives: A Life in 10 Minutes Anthology, and the author of The Halfway House for Writers and Surrender Your Weapons: Writing to Heal. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, son, cats, dog, and bearded dragon.

Ashley Soukup, LCSW & LMFT

Understanding Fear and Fearlessness

Have you ever considered why it is so hard to face, or even explore, things that truly scare you? Do you have a tendency to put your fears in a box and avoid facing them, or do you find yourself acknowledging fearful moments with anger and defense? Fear, like all emotions, is fleeting. It comes and goes, and for many can cause symptoms of panic, stress, anxiety, and intense worry. Through the use of experiential activities and group discussion, this workshop will explore why thoughts and/or experiences cause you fear, the mechanisms by which you avoid it, and how to combat those fearful thoughts to find a sense of peace and understanding.

Ashley Morgan Soukup is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in private practice at Summit Emotional Health. Ashley provides individual, family and marital counseling to children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of emotional and behavioral health concerns, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiance and Substance Abuse. Throughout the therapeutic process, she emphasizes the importance of healthy, effective communication and emotional engagement to promote long-lasting change within the family. Ashley enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Mike, and two energetic boys, Carter and Grady. They have visited every park in the Richmond area and spent much of their weekends at local ponds or rivers fishing for Blue Gills and Small-Mouth Bass. During her infrequent moments of quiet time, Ashley loves to cook for friends and family, and read “chick lit” as a way to unwind.

Mimi Weaver

Fearless Transitions

Are you in transition? Are you feeling a bit lost, knowing you need to make a change but not quite sure how to go about it? Do you find yourself struggling with any of these common challenges:

  • feeling overwhelmed and out of balance
  • sensing that something’s missing
  • wondering if you’re on the right path
  • feeling stuck and unsure about how to move past your doubts and fears

If any of this is true for you, just know that what you’re feeling is common during transition times and there is nothing wrong with you!  Where you are is scary, but you are not alone. There are countless others who feel exactly the same way as you do. And there is hope! You can live a life of balance, ease and grace, fully connected to what makes you feel passionately alive.

In this experiential workshop, through small group discussions and various exercises you will learn ways to let go of what’s holding you back in order to move forward into the life you want.

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”  -Rumi

Mimi Weaver, owner of GraceMoves (www.gracemoves.com), is a life coach and spiritual director specializing in midlife transition coaching for women. She also serves on the faculty of the RUAH School for Spiritual Guidance at Richmond Hill and teaches mindfulness and meditation through the Innerwork Center. She frequently leads workshops and retreats on the Enneagram, Dreams and Nonviolent Communication as well as spiritual retreats for churches. A graduate of Hollins College, Mimi is married to Mike Weaver, a minister and musician, and has one daughter, Haley Farrar, an attorney working in Restorative Justice in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Rev. Katey Zeh

Fearless Women of the Bible: Inspiring Hope for Today’s World

What happens when we take a closer look at women’s stories that are often left out of sermons and bible studies? What can we learn from these tenacious foremothers of our faith that will help guide us in our pursuit of love, compassion, and justice? This session is an invitation to a sacred conversation about how we connect the lessons of ancient women’s lives to our faith journeys today.

Rev. Katey Zeh is a strategist, author, and speaker at the intersections of faith and gender justice. The Center for American Progress named her one of their top justice-seeking faith leaders to watch. She has written for many outlets including the Huffington Post, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, and Religion News Service, and her advocacy work has been featured in the Washington Post, The Nation, and Colorlines. She is the co-host of the Kindreds podcast and the author of a Women Rise Up: Sacred Stories of Resistance for Today’s Revolution (FAR Press, May 2019), a timely take on the tenacious women of the Bible.

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