2014 has been an incredible growing year for 4word, and we owe a lot of that growth to the many passionate and generous volunteers who give of their time and resources in order to help connect, lead, and support Christian working women. I thank God for those volunteers every day, and today, I’d like to do it publicly by honoring them collectively as our 2014 4word People of the Year.
Here they are, by the numbers:
Ninety-five: 4word: Local Group Leaders. Our 4word: Local Groups leaders are “in the trenches.” They help to build and provide an authentic community for women in their city through coffees, lunches, book and bible studies, after-work gatherings, and speaking events. Many of the women who serve as group leaders have also been responsible for launching 4word in their city, so they’re not just leading a group, they’re building it from the ground up. And these women are amazing!
Over the Thanksgiving holiday this year, I had a chance to see some group leaders in action during the worst of circumstances. When one of our 4word women unexpectedly lost her husband over the Thanksgiving break, the leaders of her 4word: Local Group sprang into action, surrounding her with help and support and prayer. They organized dinner deliveries, provided financial support, and even took on some of her work so that she would have time and space to breathe and grieve. It’s one thing to organize a luncheon now and then, but this kind of immediate and deep support during an impossibly tough time is a real image, for me, of “being like Christ.” I’m so proud of those 4word: Local Group leaders and so proud to be associated with them and women like them.
Forty-Seven: Mentors and Mentor Facilitator. All of our mentors volunteer considerable time and energy to the 4word Mentor Program. These mentors make a difference in others’ lives by helping them see things they couldn’t see for themselves and helping them find a way to reach their goals. Ours is a uniquely intensive program, because we really try to incorporate all areas of a person’s life, including their work, relationships, and faith. We ask a lot of our mentors, and they deliver!
Our 4word Mentor Program facilitator, Diane Rhodes, spends most of her time working with Fortune 500 companies and has generously volunteered her considerable time and resources to the 4word Mentor Program over the past few years. We are incredibly lucky to have benefited from her experience and knowledge.
Seventeen: Life Lessons Radio Mentors. Seventeen individuals gave their time and wisdom to 4word this year to be interviewed on air as part of our Life Lessons Radio “Mentor Mondays” program. It has been so exciting to get to hear and share what these thoughtful women had to say.
Two: email elves. Ever wonder how those 4word emails keep showing up on time in your inbox? It all starts with Morgan and Caitie, two women who simply said, “what can I do to help?” Whenever I meet someone who wants to hear more about 4word or receive our blogs, I send their information on to our two email volunteers, and they see to it that all the information is properly entered into the system. I’m so grateful for them!
Fifty-Two: interview subjects. Fifty-two people a year volunteer their time and their thoughts and experiences to share with the 4word audience for our weekly Wednesday interview. In 2014, this group included Roma Downey, Valorie Burton, and Kelly Clark.
One Hundred Forty-Seven: investors. Through gifts big and small, many people and organizations have invested their resources in furthering 4word’s mission. Every single gift is a blessing. Every single gift helps us connect women with each other and encourage them towards reaching their God-given potential.
Eleven: Voting and Advisory Board members. These eleven women provide governance, leadership, connections, and financial support. The board started in the spring of 2010 as a small group of women I pulled together for a retreat, to talk about the idea of 4word and dream about what it could be. Four years later, the group has grown in depth and width. I feel honored to know and work with each member of the Board and Advisory Board.