Approximately 100 women gathered on the campus of Life Pacific College (LPC) from May 10-14 for Kaleo, a five-day intensive for women called to leadership roles. In partnership with LPC, Foursquare’s Women in Ministry Leadership sponsored the event, which was a test project envisioned by Roanna Canete and Annette McCabe.
The event was a huge success, with women of various generations and ethnicities gathering for college-level instruction on leadership topics such as leadership health, mentoring, conflict resolution, organizational DNA and leadership styles. Times were set aside for mentoring, prayer and counseling. Evening sessions featured panel discussions with men supportive of women in leadership, topics such as ethnic diversity, and messages of inspiration.
The purpose of Kaleo, which is a Greek word meaning “called,” was to bring together women called to leadership roles in the church or in the workplace, and to empower them with practical leadership training, networking and mentoring. Conference organizers hope those who participated will take the concept back to their churches and districts, and multiply it.
Kathy Horning is one of the many participants who benefited from attending Kaleo. She told Foursquare.org she came with the expectation to connect with women outside her local church body who, like her, have experienced a call from God to leadership. She was not disappointed.
“I met women from everywhere!” Kathy exclaims. “I am looking forward to continuing these relationships, including the two mentoring relationships I am committed to for the next year. Kaleo was an amazing week that confirmed, challenged and compelled me to confidently move forward in the call I believe God has on my life.”
Ema Tukuvoula, from Fiji, describes how women stood together, united in their love for Jesus Christ: “I was reminded that to Him, I am the apple of His eyes; and that in Him, I am defined, despite any negative experiences. I am walking away from this week with the understanding that when God made me, it was not a mistake. And so I choose to live wholeheartedly and completely as a woman created in the image of God.”
One highlight for another conference participant, Joanie Zwerling, was that she came away not with a “to do” list, but a “to be” list. It also meant a lot to her to see the male leaders who spoke affirm the call of women in leadership.
“The message that rang through for me was that women leaders have a voice,” she asserts. “It was amazing to hear from Mario Barahona, Charles Lee, Art Gray and Jim W. Adams that female leaders are affirmed and embraced in their call to leadership. To see such strong male leadership wholeheartedly embracing female leadership was a blessing and encouragement.”
Ethnic diversity was another hallmark of the conference, and something that was especially appreciated by Terrye McAulay.
“Kaleo was the most ethnically diverse meeting I have attended,” says Terrye, “and consequently, this week will go with me for the rest of my life! As a woman of color, I especially enjoyed the ethnic diversity panel, and the fact that they openly tackled difficult racial issues.”
Refreshed and filled with new insight, these female leaders and all those who attended the event returned to their churches and communities built-up and ready for more. They will continue their relationships through a mentoring network throughout the next year.