Many of you know that I am passionate about inspiring and empowering women. It really never escapes me, opportunities pop up often giving me a chance to speak life into another woman. To help her refocus or reframe where she finds herself in life. And when I am doing this work, it always empowers me to walk more boldly in my life, to strive, to reach my goal and connect with many more women.
What I love almost as much as my work is meeting OTHER women who are empowering women to be their best self, to exceed in life and to love who they are on this earth. I am always humbled when I meet women with this passion to serve women. And you know why? Because it means that they have made a decision to dig deep, they have accepted the sacrifices that comes with being true to this movement of empowerment and it means that I now have another sister to love and be loved on. It also means I am even now more blessed because of their presence in this world.
I am so very excited to share with you an interview about a powerful, inspiring and swag-OH-licious woman. I was drawn to her by attending a moving and inspiring event she created Wonder of Women. It was a reminder about how important it is to empower women to find, use and share their voice. Because, when WE as women are able to do that, we truly do change our world and the world of others around us. With honor and pleasure please take a several moments to read this interview of an amazing woman Veronica Very, Founder & Visionary of Wonder of Women International.
KW: I attended your event Wonder of Women “My Story Is A Wonder” and I was blown away by the experience. What prompted your vision?
VV: It was the prompting of the Holy Spirit! The vision truly came through and by intimacy with God. I lost my dream job without a real explanation. I was devastated and felt totally misunderstood. I literally felt voiceless! Like I wasn’t being heard and someone else was defining my narrative. I found myself in a place where I needed to find my voice and become crystal clear about God’s purpose for me at this age and stage of my life. I decided that no one would ever have the power to write my story. I would write it, speak it and proclaim my truth, my story on my own terms. So, with my extensive experience and a natural passion for working with women in different capacities— I decided to channel, fully channel my time, energy and attention toward a vision to give women and girl’s voice, words and power to their purpose. Now, more than ever, women’s voices need to be heard in our society. With everything going on in the world women can no longer afford to suppress, deny and ignore their voice and their truth. We must be the authors of our stories. We must be the shapers of society’s narratives. We must be heard!
KW: Was it everything that you envisioned as it came to fruition?
VV: Yes it did! Over and above dream and beyond imagination— the vision became real. I saw women on stage declaring their truth with boldness and power! Inspiring the audience to stop suppressing their truth and be free! I saw the public experience first but there were some things that had to happen privately before taking a public stage.
The challenge for us as humans is that when God gives us a vision, he usually gives us a sneak peek of the greater vision. I had to be keen in my hearing and clear in my listening. He gave me specifics such as who to call to participate. I had to be obedient and make those calls. These women said yes and are now the birthers of a global storytelling movement. Our story time literally birthed a movement with a mission to inspire women and girls to find their voice; stand in their truth and celebrate their wonder by telling their story.
All stories are told in the context of love, light and liberation. Because we know that you cannot fully own who you are and tell your story unless you have an experience of self-love. The self-love and private reflective work that needs to be done provides light and the light always exposes to us truth. When we see it, instead of hiding, we embrace it and are not afraid to tell it. When we tell it, we are liberated from a secret prison that frees us up to live showing up fully in our authentic selves.
KW: So, I would have to assume that when you get women together who don’t know each other…
VV: Most of them did not know each other but some were friends from high school.
KW: And to tell your story means you are going to be vulnerable, authentic and transparent.
VV: Yes, naked. Bare. Transparent and true. This is where our power has been hiding, controlling and running the show. Too long we’ve been afraid our truth would count us out, when actually it counts us in!
KW: Was that initially a struggle? Or, does it mean that because you choose the “right” people, therefore, they were able to connect when they came together?
VV: So, I think it was a combination of things. That is a really great question. It wasn’t just the people chosen but also the atmosphere that was set for them. The home was actually prepared for their arrival. We did it in a private home donated by a woman I didn’t even know. Her name is Esther Jones Alley. I was referred to her by a friend Vivian Phillips. Without knowing me, Esther arranged to meet me for lunch and hear my vision. When hearing the vision she opened her home to us! This was an example of radical sisterhood. Esther helped me set plan the experience and set the atmosphere in love and sisterhood where the women could tell their stories in a sacred environment. They could not use notes, no aides of any kind, no make-up, and their cell phones had a special spot to park.
KW: No, cover up?
VV: No dolling up, no makeup and no phones. My only request was for them to bring a song, their life’s mantra. A song that speaks meaning to the life season that shifted the trajectory of their whole life. They were supposed to play that song, sit in the chair and speak and share their heart. So we listened and in the listening without the “cover up” of our bio, title and our fabulous accomplishments… not “covering up” in who we think or want others to believe we are— we shared a powerful love experience of sisterhood in truth. Transparency, I believe it is in transparency where the power of relationship resides. We listened to each other and allowed our sister to talk as long as she needed to release. We had two and a half days of storytelling time. We would get up in the morning and go outside for a spiritual physical activity and then come back in and GO IN. In the spirit of love, light and liberation we went IN.
KW: Wow, amazing, I love that.
VV: And then there’s the light. When the light comes on it reveals our truth. Typically our mode of operation is to hide it, suppress it and deny it space and power to reveal. So, that was the challenge— to embrace your truth with one another in the sacred safety of love. No judgement. We know truth makes us free BUT when the light comes on we want to turn it back off. We created sacred space for our sister to be free. It was so powerful!
KW: Well, shoot that can be some serious or should I say scary stuff to face.
VV: I encouraged them to embrace what they saw. And share how the truth liberated and positioned them to leverage the power of it and be in alignment with their purpose. Our purpose is usually wrapped up in our truth!
KW: Umm let me just say, mind BLOWN. I love this. I’m trying to see that. Seattle area has been labeled at times as being difficult place to develop authentic sisterhood. So, I think number one, it has to be a God ordained venture for sure. And number 2, it is simply amazing that they came through the process and were so transparent.
VV: They were intentional, even throughout the phone call they knew this was not business as usual. They knew my call was serious, this was not a game, and they knew we were going to get some serious life work done. And yet, none of us really knew it would be life changing.
KW: I’m sure they all feel they were better for it!
VV: What we didn’t know, was that it would be so life changing, that it would birth an authentic sisterhood bonded through truth and that it would require them to now elevate and take on new heights. We knew without a doubt we could not keep it to ourselves. We committed to creating space for more women to tell their truth
KW: Bigger the blessing, bigger the responsibility.
VV: Yes. A great call, requires great responsibility! These women understood this deeply. They approached the opportunity with this in mind. So the retreat culminated with an amazing beauty party! I brought in make-up artist and we had a photo shoot all dressed in white. This was the spiritual crowning of their journey and retreat experience.
KW: When you say Wonder of Women has now gone global, what does that mean?
VV: This summer we launched new program called WonderShoot in Washington DC. WonderShoot is our brand partnership with our new global photographer Lydia Kearney Carlis, Eyemagination Imaging. WonderShoot is a small event that we use to introduce Wonder of Women to wonderful women of all backgrounds in different markets and communities. We have sister talks, story time, makeup, dress up time and a fun photoshoot. WonderShoot is authentic, stress reducing, girly and fun! Some women said it reminds them when the used to play dress up in mom’s closet or time in the park for play with the girl they didn’t know. Women get a WOW, personal individual image and the group image. Talk about celebrating wonder!
We recently celebrated WonderShoot South Africa, September 3! We have a WOW Ambassador in South Africa named Tracy Loverson who is spreading love, light and liberation. Tracy organized an event at Mandela’s house and the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto. This WOW history making event featured Antoinette Pieterson, sister of Hector Pieterson, the first teen killed in the Uprising of June 1996. South African women shared their stories and experienced the wonder of WonderShoot! I plan to visit, train and grow WOW South Africa and take a delegation of women to meet there in 2020.
WonderShoot photos will be featured with their stories on our website, e-magazine, books and our WonderNews blog. Amazing photos by Eyemagination Imaging and inspiring stories collected will be used to introduce women and girls to the world.
KW: Stop, I’m going to say this again. I LOVE THIS! I love this because I come from a place of having a passion for empowering women. I am totally excited for you and this movement. I LOVE it! That is beautiful. Kudos to you for stepping out and being obedient. I think it is always hard for people to do that. There are always the questions that pop up like—Do I really want to do this? Do I have time to do this? What will it cost me?
VV: Like really, I did not know! HE did not tell me all this. Girl, like I’m serious, HE DID NOT tell me ALL this. That’s my Father Honey! LOL… I have to walk in it and talk in it using my voice, finding my voice, writing my own story while creating space for women and girls around the world do the same! There are so many people who are afraid of telling their story. When we withhold our story we are possibly preventing someone else from breaking free from their situation because our stories are not our own.
KW: That is so powerful, I experienced a World Café this past Friday and we were talking about the importance of sharing your story.
VV: When speaking at a workshop several years ago, I shared with the ladies, “Your Story is not Your Story; Your Story is for His Glory”. When you gave your life to God you gave him your story. He is not surprised! He wants to use your story to prove what the enemy meant for evil, God can take and transform for your good!
KW: Right, I know I gave Him everything!
VV: You gave him all of who you are, you gave him your story and He met you in all of who you are and we can’t carve parts out. Usually the parts we want to carve out are power nuggets for your purpose.
KW: Yes, there really is no hiding of any little spots, parts or pieces of our life.
VV: HE gets glory when other people are inspired, motivated, lifted, encouraged and changed as a result of someone releasing and sharing and being okay with their truth.
KW: Some of the stories shared were so…on one hand very tragic to think someone has gone through it but then so glorious to see that they survived it. Now they are sharing their experience and it is amazing that they were standing on the stage. It was inspirational to hear how they survived it. What do you want women to know or to walk away with when they hear your name or Wonder of Women?
VV: Wonder of Women embraces the principles and philosophy of love, light and liberation. As Founder & Visionary, I have embraced my truth. As a result of living in love, light and liberation as a lifestyle, I am truly committed to creating sacred space for women and girls.
My life experience being raised in a home infested with domestic violence, abuse and alcoholism was my first love experience. When the light came on for me I realized I married at the very young age of 18 because I was escaping the trauma and fear of my home to create my own sacred, safe and secure place. When I faced this truth, I divorced an 18yr old marriage, used to right the wrongs of my childhood. This truth freed me from religious bondage that told me I had to stay even if I was miserable, unhappy and dying inside. My truth liberated me from caring more deeply about what other people would say and the lifetime judgement and punishment I would own if I left to boldly defining and designing my own happiness and well-being.
I’ve learned in ministry and professional work with women way up here and way down here all need the same thing! So, this movement is to really inspire truth telling in our stories! It’s a journey of love, light and liberation for women and girls all over the world. You don’t have to go through a test; have major status and accomplishment requirements like most groups. For us, your only requirement is be willing and ready to tell your story.
We are now looking for people to volunteer, share and engage this movement! There is a volunteer application on our website and a place to subscribe to WonderNews for exciting updates on our pop-up events around the Country. Please visit www.thewonderofwomen.org to look out for updates as we grow and evolve.
Every woman no matter her life status, persuasion or capacity every women has value and purpose. When she finds her voice and stands in her truth and stops suppressing her fabulousness, goodness and wonderfulness. When she gets there, her life will change forever.
KW: A whole new world. And then we think we have it figured out…I also think life is always evolving and when things happen we are often like, where did this come from?!
VV: But then you understand and know how to deal with it and you can embrace it and leverage it for worthiness and goodness in the world and it changes the atmosphere and the perspective of not only you but also someone else because there is nothing new under the sun. There is no new story but how you handle it and grow from it and apply those lessons is the difference.
KW: You have gone through experiences, and life. Or say, I wish I had this nugget then. At this point what would you tell your younger self?
VV: That is difficult for me to answer, I gave my life to the Lord when I was 10 years old. It was my child- like faith that set the tone of my life journey. That decision set the stage for my life. It was my child-like faith that helped me transcend my most difficult, painful and heartbreaking moments bringing me to this moment. It was my child-like faith that informs me still. When we are children we have so much less worry, doubt and anxiety. We believe the Lord will come through for us. So, I believed God when HE said He would never leave me nor forsake me. I believed Him. The power of that child-like faith is what charted me to uncharted territory. I started practicing going where he wanted me to go and saying what he wanted me to say as a child. So I guess I would tell her “thank you for believing”.
I had so many take home points, like being more intentional in preparing for events or gatherings. Taking the time to set the atmosphere! Asking the question, are we truly being intentional? Are we being our authentic self? And if you are a believer in God, are you giving it all to him and trusting him with child-like faith to fulfill His promise and also carry you through the vision He has given?
It was truly an honor to speak with Veronica Very. I encourage everyone who is reading this to check out Wonder of Women International. Volunteer, subscribe to their website (www.thewonderofwomen.org) and get connected to attend an upcoming event in your area.
There is so much more I could add about the “My Story is a Wonder” inaugural event at Seattle Town Hall. Veronica utterly inspired me to continue to work in the vision I was given and purpose that I know and understand. I truly hope you jotted down some of the nuggets that were given in this interview. Until next time, I leave you in love, light and liberation!
Thank you Veronica Very and the courageous Wonder of Women storytellers, staff, volunteers in Seattle for an amazing display of wonder.
Check out their amazing promotional video!
MORE EMPOWERING STORIES COMING!
The first full week of 2016 has been amazing thus far! And I tell you why, I entered 2016 with my vision on my walls, a determined spirit and I surround myself daily with positive, progressive and goal oriented people. Your environment and mindset is crucial to your success personally and professionally. With that in mind, the first Sunday of the year I attended the first annual Women of Power Luncheon hosted by a dynamic mother and daughter duo Pastor Shirley Noble the keynote speaker and Founder of Gamma Pi Christian Sorority Inc. (www.gammapi06.org) George-Jean Edwards on January 3rd, 2016 at Joey’s Restaurant in Tukwila, Washington.
One of my commitments for 2016 was to put more value to my time and not waste precious moments on events, people or situations that do not have the same goals or purpose as mine. So, when I received the invitation from George-Jean Edwards I was very pleased with the purpose of the event. Women of Power was created to bring together women in the local Greater Seattle Area who are CEOs, Heads of Organizations and Leaders paving their way in their industry. The luncheon was not just to pat each other on the back but to have frank discussions about the challenges of being in positions that impact and influence others and the hi-lows of the job.
The afternoon ended with a beautiful gift of Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” framed with our individual pictures to serve as a reminder that we are all powerful and phenomenal in our own right. As the poem was read we were encouraged to say “That’s Me!” And I thought to myself, how often, do I say those things to others but often forget to tell myself “YES! I am phenomenal just as I am.” I am and so are you! Stilettos off to a wonderful afternoon and to the hostess!
Several pearls shared by the speakers of the afternoon Pastor Shirley Noble (www.restorationbiblechurch.com) and CEO Keysha Bass (www.partnerwithkeysha.com):
- Keep focused on the vision and keep it before you.
- Never give up!
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Seek wisdom, don’t figure it out on your own.
- Be passionate about what you are doing.
- Take care of yourself.
- Support one another.
- Walk by faith (if you believe in God, keep Him first!)
- Ask for help.
- KNOW your lane and stay in it!
- Be consistent.
- Money follows purpose.
If your a wise woman you will take a moment to jot these down and think about it!
“I have always felt strongly about empowering women. I’m living proof that, with confidence and by believing in yourself, you can accomplish any goal.” ~Queen Latifah