This month, as we continue our journey together toward becoming unstoppable for Christ, we focus on the idea of empowering women. It’s a concept we usually hear discussed regarding women in other parts of the world, but the empowerment of women applies to every woman, everywhere. Michelle Quinn, Senior Advisor at Constellis, has long been passionate about helping women around the world feel like they matter and can make a difference in their communities. Check back every Monday this month to hear more of Michelle’s story and passion!
You can listen to this entire conversation with Michelle on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.
What inspired you to advocate for global empowerment for women?
Great question! I have been privileged to have amazing women in my family: mothers, grandmothers, aunts, all of them inspiring, uplifting, and admonishing. My grandmother, Josephine, was my best friend. She lived in San Francisco, and I would spend as much time as possible with her. There were all sorts of things we would do in the community through volunteering.
When I was young, my grandmother would ask, “Do you want to learn to crochet or knit?” This was a question she asked all of us. Her goal really wasn’t to teach us to crochet or knit; she wanted time with us on the couch to talk to us about important things. One day, when we were sitting together, my grandmother talked with me about the time in the Bible when Jesus performed His first miracle by turning water to wine. And why did He do that? Because His mother asked Him to.
That message stuck with me. As I’ve worked in fields that deal more with international efforts, post-conflict stabilization, and fragile states, it is a message I try to bring forward. What might happen across the globe if we rewire relationships where mothers can speak to their sons and fathers protect their daughters? What might happen if we think more about the dignities of the human person, and the uniqueness and value of a woman? So that’s why I’ve kind of quietly brought these imperatives forward. My day job is working in fragile states, post-conflict settings, high threat theaters, or war zones, and I never see a setting, theater, or nation where a woman cannot have a dramatic impact if she is heard, respected, included, engaged, trained, and valued.
In your life, who would you identify as being just one of your biggest advocates for your own empowerment?
On a good day, when I can see as far as I can, I am fully cognizant that I stand on the shoulders of giants. I’ve had really great role models but also really great parents who never said I couldn’t do something. I only have brothers, so I was always encouraged to climb the same tree, sit on the same tank, get the same education, and accomplish the same things my brothers did. That method of parenting definitely shaped and influenced who I am today.
Why do you think so many women have grown up having their empowerment somewhat stifled, intentionally or accidentally?
We all lose our way at some point, and we don’t remember that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. We have a worth, we have a dignity, and we have a value that is not given by the job or title we hold, or the paycheck we receive. The value we have is a value that is given by God, and shame on us when we forget that.
When we surrender the dignity and value that God has given us, it’s heartbreaking. After my mother passed away, I had to go through her belongings, and I found this little scrap from a newspaper that she had kept since 1952. She kept this quote in her nightstand, which said, “Woman was created from the rib of man. She was not made from his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon, but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm; to be protected and near his heart to be loved.” I think that is the truth of women, and we need to encourage men and women in our culture to remember that.
How does being a ‘woman of the Bible’ impact female empowerment on an individual and community level?
It’s so important for women to recognize that our roots, our natural inheritance, is our God-given inheritance. With Esther, Deborah, Ruth, and so many other women of the Bible, we read that they are fierce, fearless, and bold because they move out knowing that the work they are accomplishing is uniquely wired for receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and maternity. I think it’s helpful when we remember this is what we were made for and what we’re called to.
In this day and age, some people have trouble defining what a woman is. I know what women are: they are a blessing and a salve to this world. Women bind up the brokenhearted and free the captives. A woman shouldn’t have to apologize for thinking like a woman. Thinking like a woman is a great thing! Look at how Jesus treated women. Not just his own mother, but women in villages and in the communities and towns He visited. He treated women with love, respect, openness, engagement and inclusion, and greeted them just as they were.
Michelle Quinn has worked in high-threat theaters and post-conflict operations for more than twenty years, providing a broad scope of security, operational, Logistics, and training solutions for the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Energy and Other Government Agencies. At Constellis, Michelle is focused on critical U.S. Government missions and programs, both CONUS and OCONUS. In all of these roles and across the years, Michelle has led on the imperatives of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), and has been an unwavering voice asking, “What might be possible in building peace across the globe, if we engage, include, empower, and give voice to the other half of the world’s population?”
Michelle joined at Constellis in 2021; previously, she served as Senior Vice President at Patriot Group International; Vice President at VxL Enterprises; Vice President of International Programs at A-T Solutions; Operations Manager for a multi-agency Counter-Terrorism program at the FBI National Lab; and Manager of Operations and Training for DOS’ Worldwide Protective Services Programs at DynCorp International. Michelle has also worked on Capitol Hill, supporting the House Banking Committee on legislation tied to work and funding of USAID, IMF, World Bank; at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and at several private family philanthropies.
Michelle currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA), holding the Americas Security Industry Pillar/seat for Private Security Contractors. She also serves on the Boards of The Friends of the American University of Afghanistan and Eagle Online Academy, supporting the undying educational needs and dreams of Afghan women and girls. Michelle chairs the International Stability Operations Association’s Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Working Group and stewards ISOA’s formal WPS Certification program for the private sector. Michelle is privileged to be member of www.4wordwomen.org. Most importantly, Michelle is the proud mother of four fearless, fierce, world-changing daughters, all out-and-about the world accomplishing great things.
This blog is sponsored by Ronald Blue Trust
The influence and impact of women has grown over the last decade, and they are controlling more of the private wealth in our country each year. At Ronald Blue Trust, we are honored to serve women from all walks of life. Our advisors develop comprehensive financial strategies, based on biblical principles, with the goal of helping you achieve clarity and confidence—both personally and professionally. Learn more at ronblue.com.