The Woven Conference 2021, a women’s leadership conference, was held online this year on February 26 and featured presentations by three women business leaders. We asked recent Crowell School of Business alumna Madeleine Prater (’21) to recount what she learned from the conference. Here, Prater shares three truths she gleaned from this year’s speakers.

1. To influence others, a leader must be willing to sacrifice.

Holly Culhane, the founder and CEO of Presence Point, Inc., told a story filled with moments of grief but also a deep sense of how God worked through her life. She presented the idea of shepherd leadership, which is leadership that reflects Jesus as the Good Shepherd. This servant leadership was expressed as provision for, protection of, and presence with the sheep. “To influence others, you must be willing to sacrifice for others,” she said.

Holly had an inner strength, and her story was a great encouragement to trust God where He is leading, even during difficult circumstances.

2. Step out in faith and commit when God is calling you to a new venture.

Tami Heim is president and CEO of Christian Leadership Alliance. She discussed her love and commitment to missions, and the importance of seeking God in what you do while giving the best of yourself.

“There is no greater adventure than being present and saying, ‘Yes, God, I’m going to commit to doing this even before I know exactly what you are going to ask of me,’ even knowing that there will be twists and turns all along the way,” said Heim.

3. Pay attention to how God has uniquely prepared you to lead in this specific time in your life.

Grace Samson-Song, vice chair of the board of the Lausanne Movement, reflected on what it means to transition well into different life stages, and that there is a purpose for youthfulness, for being middle-aged and for all later stages. She emphasized that it is important to ask God, in prayer, “What is the plan and purpose for me in this stage of life?”

“As you navigate your career, it’s vital that you also pay close attention to your own personal transitions,” said Samson-Song. “Or else you may miss those markers and opportunities to recalibrate and reinvent yourself where necessary.”

As a graduating senior, this question was timely as I’m about to transition into a new stage of life. It was a clear reminder that each life stage contains goodness and meaning — we must not ‘linger’ in the life stages of the past. This gives me much to look forward to as I enter into different seasons of life ahead.

The conference featured a rich conversation and life experiences. I was especially struck by the women’s hearts for serving others, whether it was for shepherding or for missions. Hearing from these incredible women was both encouraging and helpful. They shared their stories with sincerity and with a true desire to help others.

Learn more about advancing women in the workplace here.