Have you wanted to make a difference in the lives of other women but aren’t sure where to start? Michelle Quinn, Senior Advisor at Constellis, shares how she has learned that making a world-wide impact doesn’t always take a grand gesture or total life change. You just have to be willing to bring forth the message of the Gospel.
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 would change if more women around the world were empowered?
We have both anecdotal and formalized documentation that when women are engaged and included, the results last longer. Empowering women is not only simply achievable, but it is also very important. One of the reasons it’s incredibly important to engage women is that women are a key piece to avoiding that state of kinetic warfare. Women are tremendously effective at diplomacy. That’s why we have so many female secretaries of state over the history of our nation and other nations.
Women are very good at information and influence. Choosing the right timing for a message, the right method and modality for a message makes a great difference. Women are also very good at economics. Women will take the treasure of a modest grant and will do great things with it because her end goal isn’t necessarily building a huge industry with a top-notch salary, title, or role. A woman’s goal is to stabilize her region and village, to make sure that her children can thrive and be healthy, and that her sisters can have healthy children safely.
As war broke out in Ukraine in 2022, it was a tragedy at all levels, but we saw how women in Ukraine were uniquely impacted. The men in the nation took up arms and knew what their role would be to defend their homeland. But the women of Ukraine had to pack up with almost no notice, taking every bit of their most precious belongings with them that they could. We watched millions of Ukrainian women fleeing, protecting their children and even senior citizens.
When the war and tragedy ends in Ukraine, it is the women of Ukraine who will be uniquely positioned to rebuild that nation. We are all called to bind up the brokenhearted and to free the captives. We don’t have to look hard or far in any nation to find those things. But the women of Ukraine will be heroes as they return to that nation to rebuild it across sectors, cities, and villages.
In the United States, what is something a woman can start doing right now that will empower the women around her?
My grandmother used to take me to the city church in San Francisco, and we’d cut through a city playground on the way to St. Paul’s. The nuns had painted on the backboards of the park’s basketball hoops scriptural passages or important messages for the school kids there in this inner-city San Francisco school. One of the backboards said, “Travel the world preaching the gospel; when necessary, use words.” My Gram would point that out to me and say, “Very important, remember that.”
Months ago, I was awakened in the middle of the night hearing a voice in my head say, “Travel the world, preaching the gospel. Use your words. It’s time.” As Christian women, we have an opportunity to bring forward the message of the gospel, of God’s love and healing. The dignity that women have is not a dignity that their nations, governments, or husbands give them. The dignity and worth of a woman is a God-given worth. American women, having all the blessings we have, are uniquely privileged to lift up women and find ways to help them.
A woman in the United States doesn’t have to decide to go over to Rwanda or Uganda, or work in a civil society or nonprofit, or volunteer through her church to advance and advocate for women. She can do it right where she is. I support a little organization called Eagle Online Academy. They are based here in the United States and run by a wonderful young Afghan American woman who’s a force of nature! She has created a completely virtual online education system with more courses and offerings than you can imagine for the women of Afghanistan. You can imagine how incredibly impactful and needed that academy is. Since the tragedies of the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan and the human rights of women being taken away ceaselessly by the Taliban, there are now massive numbers of girls who are sitting at home, currently being told by their culture that they should not have access to education. An organization like Eagle Online Academy will allow and bring education, training, and empowerment into Afghanistan through an online program.
As an American woman, you can sign up to e-coach through Eagle Online Academy. For a woman who’s really struggling in another part of the world, to be able to sit for an hour a week with an American woman who can lift them up and remind them that they are sufficient for a day, and encourage them in the trials and the trauma they may face, and remind them that they are worthy and do have dignity…think about how life-changing that could be. There’s no stopping American women. We just have to find the ways to pay it forward. The harvest is plenty and the workers are few.
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
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