By Janeen Halliwell, Founder, We Move Forward
$70,000 for a keynote speaker. That was the price tag on a 30-minute talk on “How To Live Passionately,” by a Celebrity author. “I’m going to have to pass,” I tell her publicist, and carry on with my internet search for inspirational speakers. It doesn’t take long to realize that as I lower the price on sliding scale, the less known the speaker will be to my audience. A sigh of despair escapes my lips. I close my eyes and begin crawling into the far reaches of my brain with the hope that I will find the name of someone I know who knows someone who is famous, who owes that person a favour, and she will come and speak at my conference at a price I can afford. Sigh again. Not likely going to happen.
I quiet my mind and reflect on what We Move Forward is about. WMF celebrates the strength, courage and determination of everyday women who are doing the hard work to live their best lives; it isn’t about rubbing elbows with celebrities. Flipping the ‘Talented Talks’ website the bird, I begin my search again, this time reaching out to women just like you and me with stories that inspire – women who do not make a living at talking, but who will talk about living, with grit and gratitude. These good spirited women are “us”, and together, ‘this is us.
Everyday Women Take the Mic
At the back of the We Move Forward conference room is Jeff, my sound man. He is responsible for making sure the acoustics in the room are ‘just-so’ and that the speaker’s mic is on & ready to go. Then it’s the moment each woman has been waiting for, an opportunity to rock her talk. To share a slice of her life with other women who value learning, laughter, and moving forward.
Each story at WMF is as unique and beautiful as the woman who tells it. Among the many women who have held the mic and captivated the audience, are:
~ Claire Cook, the teacher and eventual writer who in her mid-forties finally picked up her pen and wrote a novel in her mini-van during her daughter’s swim practices. Her book, “Must Love Dogs,” later became a movie.
~ Dr. Sunny Twelker, the ER Doc and mountain climber who inspired us to keep our sights high and keep trekking, even when what lies ahead may appear to be insurmountable.
~ Joyce Urzada, a woman, mother and sister who has experienced far too much tragedy and loss, and who shared considerable insight into grieving and getting grounded.
~ Sandra Herrera, who at the age of 18 got on a bus, travelled across Mexico, to explore and establish new beginnings for herself, her parents and siblings, all the while creating a flourishing business of her own. *Sandra is returning and facilitating an artisan workshop at WMF 2018.
~ Kristi Strickland, the school principal who has made it her mission to connect homeless people with loved ones, while teaching students that every person has a past and a story.
Now looking ahead to WMF 2018 with anticipation, some of the ‘Say Si Speakers’ who will be sharing their lives with us are:
~ Brigit Kubiak, the first woman to ever register for a We Move Forward conference, and who returned every year. It doesn’t take long for the other participants to connect with Brigit and many have suggested she speak. Her ‘Say Si Story’ is truly about saying Si! Ita! & Oui! We’ll leave it at that and let Brigit tell you the rest at WMF 2018!
~ Alison Sawyer Current, the founder of Isla Animals, an animal rescue on Isla Mujeres that has rescued over 6000 animals, and offers weekly spay and neuter clinics, vaccinations, and adoptions. Alison’s story will have you laughing, crying and caring.
~ Michelle Singh is a citizen of the world, whose curiosity about people, community, and connection led her to co-found Spiritual Dialogue Circles bringing together people of faith and no-faith to share their experiences. Hers is a story of taking leaps of faith, by saying si.
~ Jamila Aisha Brown is a womanist and activist, an adjunct professor at NYU and radical fashionista. Her story focuses on how we must move forward to create a more equitable and inclusive world via our passion projects and unique talents.
~ Diane Testa will share her story of spreading her wings more than she ever imagined when saying YES to pursuing motherhood in an unconventional way. Once she got beyond the naysayers and her own fear-based thoughts, her life was forever changed in significant and beautiful ways.
Don’t Just Stay Tuned… Say Si to WMF 2018
I invite you to join ‘us’ – women like you and me – on sunny and warm, Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, Mexico for the sixth We Move Forward 3-day International Women’s Day conference and retreat. Each day includes morning mindful movement sessions, engaging talks, facilitated workshops, evening socials, and just plain fun.
Don’t miss out – make this year your year to experience
We Move Forward.
Looking for a Place to Stay During We Move Forward 2018?
Stay & travel in style when you book with Casitas del Mar. Nestled mid-island in the friendly neighborhood of La Gloria, the Casitas (suites) are owned and operated by WMF 2014 speaker, Joyce Urzada and her husband, Bob Sylvestre. Casitas del Mar is an “adults only” facility that is ideal for singles or couples. Each casita has an ocean view, is tastefully decorated with a Mexican flair and equipped with everything you need to make you feel at home during your stay on Isla. Joyce will be participating at WMF 2018 and looks forward to giving WMF casita guests a daily ride to the conference.
For more info visit Casitas del Mar.