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I AM Her Women's Leadership Summit 2020

October 8-10, 2020 | Virtual Conference | $39 | CEUs Available

The I AM Her Women’s Leadership Summit is not your ordinary conference. It’s a movement of women coming together to Be Inspired, Be Empowered, and to Be Equipped to do the work both personally, professionally and within the United Methodist Church to connect. This summit will focus on worship, relationship building and network mapping along with various courses to help participants learn how women in leadership have overcome challenges, and created solutions that supported their success. There will also be opportunities to learn how to build your professional network and maximize its potential. 

Recognizing many are juggling work, virtual schooling, and more, on-demand recordings of the conference will be available afterward for all registered participants.


General Registration Fee: $39*
UMC Central Conference Registration Fee: Free

Registration Deadline: Extended to October 7, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. (CDT)

1.5 CEUs will be available from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry

Register Now

*If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Rev. Pamela Pirtle at to inquire about financial assistance to attend the conference.

If you would like to only attend the keynote address with Nadia Bolz-Weber, you can register for just the keynote here


All Times are Central Daylight Time

Thursday, October 8, 2020  | 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. Welcome from President Lallene J. Rector, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and General Secretary Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Commission on the Status and Role of Women
10:05 a.m. Opening Worship with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson
Preacher: Bishop Tracy Smith Malone
10:50 a.m. Plenary Panel: I AM Her - Women in the Bible
12:10 p.m. Break
12:20 p.m. Plenary: Collaborative Communications, Yes And... with The Second City Training Center
1:30 p.m. Break
1:40 p.m. Breakout Session Workshops
2:50 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. Nadia Bolz-Weber and "The Hedge of Protection Group"
4:00 p.m. Dismissal


Friday, October 9, 2020 | 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

10:00 a.m. Worship with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson
Preacher: Bishop Cynthia Harvey
10:45 a.m. Plenary Panel: Stony the Road… Effective Strategies for Women in Leadership
12:15 p.m. Break
12:25 p.m. Plenary: Storytelling with The Second City Training Center
1:40 p.m. Plenary: Leading in a Liminal Season
2:55 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. Breakout Session Workshops
4:00 p.m. Mid-Day Worship with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson
4:15 p.m. Keynote Address with Nadia Bolz-Weber
5:30 p.m. Dismissal


Saturday, October 10, 2020 | 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. Worship with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson
10:20 a.m. Call to Action 19th Amendment with Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
10:55 a.m. Conversation on Voter Suppression with with Clara Ester, Civil Rights Activist, United Methodist Women, and Rev. Francine Thirus, JD
11:00 a.m. Jurisdictional and Central Conference Breakout Sessions - Get Out the Vote!
12:00 p.m. Dismissal



Worship Leader: Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson

Rev. Dr. Cynthia WilsonRev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson serves as Executive Director of Worship Resources at our United Methodist Discipleship Ministries agency supervising and guiding staff in the process of developing resources and training events with a primary focus on music, liturgy, and preaching. Dr. Wilson is an ordained deacon under extension ministry appointment in the Great Plains Annual Conference.

A talented vocalist, Dr. Wilson is a Grammy nominee and was noted the “Best Female Vocalist” at the Gospel Choice Awards held in Atlanta, GA (1998). Her recording credits include New Songs of Zion, which was nominated for several awards; featured soloist on Spirituals:  Songs from the American Experience from the “Global Praise Series”; Prayers from the House, Praise from the HeartAll That Is Within MeA CHRIST-mas Experience; and Simply Cynthia, featuring the music from the 2000 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, where she served as the first female and first African American Director of Music.

Dr. Wilson was invited to join the National Task Force (1979) that produced the Songs of Zion, and Co-Chaired the task force that produced its sequel (2007), Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation with Dr. William B. McClain, Professor Emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary. She has toured Europe, participating as guest solo artist and clinician in festivals of music and recording concerts in South America, North and South Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, and over 45 states across the US. 


Thursday Preacher: Bishop Tracy S. Malone

Bishop Tracy S. MaloneBishop Tracy S. Malone was assigned to the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church effective September 1, 2016. 

As resident bishop, she provides spiritual oversight; shares in equipping, teaching and encouraging mission, outreach, witness and service; and serves as a shepherd of the church in providing a prophetic witness of justice, mercy and unity. 

Malone serves on the Boards of Trustees at the United Methodist-affiliated colleges, seminaries and organizations in East Ohio. She also is currently the president of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, is a member of the Board of Directors of The Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Africa University. 

During her ministry, she has pastored several churches in the Northern Illinois Conference, represented that conference at four General and Jurisdictional Conferences, served as a district superintendent, and been dean of the Cabinet. She also has written chapters for several books, published articles, blogs and book reviews, and taught courses as an adjunct professor at Aurora University and at Northern Baptist Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. 

Malone received the Distinguished Leadership Award from Chicago Black Methodists for Church Renewal in 2007, and was the recipient of North Central College’s 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award. She received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and in 2018 received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary. 


Friday Preacher: Bishop Cynthia Harvey

Bishop Cynthia HarveyCynthia Fierro Harvey serves as bishop of the Louisiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, having been assigned there in September of 2012, and is the President of the Council of Bishops. The Louisiana Annual Conference is composed of 486 congregations and 118,725 members and includes the entire state of Louisiana.

Under Bishop Harvey’s leadership, the Louisiana Annual Conference follows a mission and vision focus to: lead others to an abundant life in Christ; engage in the community; learn, live and tell the gospel story; and reach out and draw-in people from all walks of life resulting in vibrant, alive and vital congregations. The vision and mission are undergirded by Core Values: integrity, accountability, unrelenting love for all people, courage and risk, and holding nothing sacred but the mission. She continues to draw upon the vision and mission at every opportunity.

She has challenged faith communities to look beyond themselves and to keep an eye focused on the edge where God is at work. Bishop Harvey also has a passion for young people as they lead the church into a future filled with possibilities.

In connection with her Episcopal assignment, she currently serves as the President of the Council of Bishops, having served as the Secretary of the Council of Bishops 2014-2018. She also serves on the Boards of Trustees for Centenary College, and Southern Methodist University, and The Perkins School of Theology Executive Board. Bishop Harvey is the Vice-Chair of the Commission on United Methodist Communications for The United Methodist Church, is a board member of the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana and past President of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference.


Saturday Preacher: Bishop Hope Morgan Ward

Bishop Hope Morgan WardHope Morgan Ward is a bishop of the United Methodist Church. She was elected to the Episcopacy in July, 2004 and assigned to the Mississippi Conference in 2004 and 2008. In 2012, she was assigned to the North Carolina Conference. 

Bishop Ward served as president of the General Board of Global Ministries and as president of JustPeace, which is the Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation of the UMC. She now serves on the General Board of Church and Society and is the bishop assigned to give oversight of the Vietnam Mission Initiative. She was elected to the Duke University Board of Trustees in 2010 and serves on the Undergraduate Education Committee. Bishop Ward served on Duke Divinity School’s Alumni Board of Directors from 1997-2001 and Board of Visitors from 2002-2008.

A native North Carolinian, she was raised on the Morgan family farm in northeastern North Carolina in the community of Corapeake. Her home church, Parkers United Methodist Church, is on a three point charge. She graduated from Duke in 1973 with a double major in English and Religion, and returned to earn a Masters in Divinity in 1978. She and her husband Mike Ward live in Raleigh, NC.


Harnessing the Power of Your Network through Network Mapping

We always hear how important it is to network, but where do you start? Creating a network map for yourself will enable you to see more clearly who is in your network, how people in your network may be connected with one another, and how to work within your current network to reach new people or personal and professional goals. You will leave this session with a solid start on your network map. Together we will analyze what our maps show about the type of network we have. The workshop will conclude with best practices for expanding your network including resources for continued learning.

Erin MooreErin Moore is currently serving as Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and Employee Engagement at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She began her career in marketing and communications and quickly became a thought partner at the right hand to presidents, CEOs, and CFOs. These experiences gave her the opportunity to see how C-level executives network to enable her to build her own professional network that has advanced her career. She thrives on leading strategic initiatives and accelerating organizational change. Moore is valued for her ability to think through challenges and creating solutions, making a difference, adding value to the mission, and working tenaciously to get things done. Prior to working at Garrett, she worked for InnerWorkings, Cenveo, Man Roland, and Harley-Davidson Financial Services. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in business affairs and communications from Monmouth College and a graduate certificate in Critical Thinking from Cornell University. She has also completed a Design Thinking program through IDEO and the Center for Courage and Renewal’s Academy for Leaders.


Financial Well-Being 101

Focusing on one of Wespath’s five dimensions of overall well-being, the Financial Well-Being 101 workshop is intended to help attendees think through the fundamentals of sound household finances. We will review some basic areas to aid you in maximizing financial well-being in your day-to-day financial life. Topics to be discussed include understanding and managing a budget, debt management, determining cash flow and calculating net worth—all of which lay a foundation toward a comprehensive and holistic financial plan.

Lynn Hammell is the Conference Liaison for Wespath Benefits and Investments.


Resistance in a Power Culture

Women everywhere are finding their voices and talking about the world as they see it and the world they want to us become. Women are moving in power and finding ways to resist the patriarchal culture that has dominated our spaces. Rev. Dr. Donna Battle will lead this session that explores the intersections of race and gender from a theological framework.

Rev. Dr. Donna Battle

Donna Battle is a native of Yanceyville, N.C., and is passionate about facilitating spaces that are life-giving by supporting knowledge of truth, fostering healthy community and healing, and encouraging others to operate within their strengths. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, watching movies, expanding her faith, and discovering new things about the world and universe. Donna holds a B.A. in public relations from North Carolina A&T State University, an M.Div. from Duke University with a concentration in spirituality, and a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy at Eastern University. Prior to coming to Meredith, she served several local churches, was the executive pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, Calif., and was both a life coach and associate dean of the chapel at Shaw University.


She Preaches: Patterns for Prophetic Preaching

This workshop explores the practices of women prophetesses and preachers through the ages to bring home their wisdom for prophetic proclamation today at a feminine pace. Participants will be able to identify a parish need, evaluate how God’s presence may meet that need, construct a message that builds on their best skills, and communicate confidently such message.

Lis Valle-RuizRev. Lis Valle-Ruiz joined McCormick Theological Seminary in 2018 from Nashville, TN. She earned her PhD in Homiletics and Liturgics from Vanderbilt University, where she also studied gender and sexuality. Her dissertation, “As One Among Many: Affirming a Multitude of Embodied Preaching Practices,” analyzes pulpit preaching through public speech, street preaching through symbolic action, and preaching through theater and proposes that these are three paradigms among many others in the repertoire of embodied Christian preaching practices among which preachers may choose. Valle-Ruiz has been an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 2013.


Strengthening Pastoral Relationships

Based on work from The Lewis Center for Church Leadership, this course is designed to help clergy develop more effective leadership which is critical to fruitful ministry. The fundamental approach is grounded in identifying the strategic issues critical to the church’s future and discerning “actionable strategic insights” that can guide congregations and church leaders.

Cynthia WeemsRev. Dr. Cynthia D. Weems is District Superintendent of the South East District of the Florida Conference and currently serves as Dean of the Cabinet. The SE District spans Delray Beach to Key West and encompasses five language groups. Formerly, she served as pastor of First United Methodist Church of Miami, a church with an extensive ministry to the diverse homeless population of downtown Miami. Weems has served congregations in Connecticut, Kansas, and Florida. After seminary, she spent two years as a volunteer missionary in Cochabamba, Bolivia.


The Way of Integrity: Leading from Within

This workshop focuses on how to authentically live in right relationships with ourselves, others and God by using our individual value system to determine best outcomes for interaction. 

Becky Posey WilliamsBecky Posey Williams joined the staff of The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women in January, 2014 as Senior Director for Sexual Ethics and Advocacy for the worldwide United Methodist Church. In this position, she provides consultation to bishops and judicatory leaders and offers training throughout the denomination on the topics of sexual ethics and integrity in ministry, including the importance of self-care. Becky is also a trainer for the development and use of Response Teams for congregational and staff healing following an incident of sexual misconduct in a local ministry setting.  


Well-Being for Women

The Well-Being for Women workshop is based on The Tools for a Better Well-Being webinar series, which is an inter-agency collaboration between Wespath and General Commission on the Status and Role of Women to provide church leaders tools to improve well-being and enhance vitality for mission and ministry. The topics covered are:

  • What Do You Need to Know about Pre-Diabetes?
  • Manage Your Screen Time, Manage Your Life!
  • Pastoral Visits—Are You Carrying More than Comfort?
  • Understanding Anxiety and Depression

Rev. Shelly Brooks-Sanford is the Population Health Manager at Wespath Benefits and Investments.


I Am Her - Women in the Bible

Bishop Sally Dyck will moderate a plenary panel of clergy and lay women who identify themselves in the biblical text through the eyes of Esther, Ruth, Lydia and many more. Participants will be empowered to see the I AM in me.


  • (Moderator) Bishop Sally Dyck, Northern Illinois Conference 
  • Rev. Dr. Denise Smartt Sears, District Superintendent, New York Conference
  • Kim Simpson, Chair, Commission on the General Conference 
  • Alice Williams, Retired Disney Executive
  • Rev. Juyeon Jeon, Clergy, Northern Illinois Conference
  • Dale Ginsburg, Jewish Womens Study Group
  • Nathalie Nelson Parker, Coordinator, National Network of Young Adults, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC21) 


Collaborative Communications, Yes And... and Storytelling with The Second City Training Center

Using the skills developed over our 60 years on stage, we will teach communication and storytelling through improvisation and other exercises. Especially effective for building confidence and getting people to buy in to your message, our storytelling program provides tangible tools to make sure your audience is listening.

The Second City Training Center

The mission of The Second City Training Center is to teach the skills which underlie the work on our resident stages. The classes, taught by professionals working in their fields, are dedicated to helping students develop their artistic voice, both individually and within an ensemble, and to provide the tools and techniques needed to express that voice.


Stony the Road… Effective Strategies for Women in Leadership

Women who overcame many challenges on their road to leadership share their stories of success and failures. Several women who serve the church from the episcopacy and lay will share how they navigated an often challenging process to leadership in and out of the church. Moderated by Bishop Tracy Smith Malone and Dawn Wiggins Hare, this panel will look at intersectionality, which is defined as the ways in which a person’s social identities, categorizations and characteristics overlap which may result in a system of disadvantage for the individual. 


  • (Moderator) Bishop Tracy Smith Malone, East Ohio Conference
  • (Moderator) Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Secretary, General Commission on the Status and Role of Women
  • Christine Dodson, Board Vice President, General Council on Finance and Administration
  • Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, Mozambique Area
  • Barbara Boigegrain, General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Wespath
  • Kim Hobson, President and Chief Executive Officer, JourneyCare
  • Bishop Minerva Carcaño, California-Nevada Conference
  • Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, Western Pennsylvania Conference
  • Rev. Dr. Boyung Lee, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Iliff School of Theology


Leading in a Liminal Season with Rev. Susan Beaumont

How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning— when the old way of doing things no longer works but a way forward is not yet clear? Such in-between times are called liminal seasons—threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos. In a liminal season it simply is not helpful to pretend we understand what needs to happen next. But leaders can still lead.

Susan BeaumontSusan Beaumont is a consultant, author, and coach. She has worked with hundreds of congregations and denominational bodies across the United States and in Canada. She is known for her ground-breaking work in the leadership dynamics of large congregations.

Before establishing her own practice, Susan worked for nine years as a Senior Consultant with the Alban Institute. Susan has also served on the faculty of two business schools, teaching graduate level courses in leadership, management and organizational behavior. She has corporate experience in human resource management and organizational development. She currently teaches at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Susan is the author of How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season, and Inside the Large Congregation. She is co-author of When Moses Meets Aaron: Staffing and Supervision in the Large Congregation.


Keynote Speaker: Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-WeberNadia Bolz-Weber is the author of three New York Times bestselling memoirs: Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint (2013), Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (2015) and more recently, SHAMELESS: A Sexual Reformation (2019).

She is an ordained Lutheran pastor (ELCA) and the founder of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado a quirky congregation she served for over 10 years. Nadia travels domestically and internationally as a speaker and has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, On Being with Krista Tippett, Fresh Air, CNN and in the Washington Post, Bitch magazine, The New Yorker and The Atlantic. International media coverage includes BBC World Service, The Guardian and magazine features in Germany, Poland, and Switzerland.

October 8, 2020 - October 10, 2020



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If you would like to make a donation to support the work of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, you can do so here.



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