What Does it Mean to be a Courageous Woman? & Women's Day Recap

Last week we celebrated International Women’s Day with a sold out event, stunningly inspiring speakers, surprise music and poetry, and some incredible souls who bravely expressed what it means to be a courageous woman during our first-of-many, moth-style open mic sessions. It was a packed house, and the energy was electric. This day was not only an evening to celebrate courageous women, but it also marked the 1-year anniversary of being in our new space in downtown Mill Valley. To say that we were ready and energized to celebrate what it means to be a courageous woman, would be an understatement.

Photo by Kim Thompson Steel

Photo by Kim Thompson Steel

We began planning this evening right after the Women’s March, and I wanted to share with you in this post how we went from bringing seven buses of women to the March in SF, to last week’s evening dedicated to what it means to be a courageous woman. To cut straight to the video of the event, click here.

Or, to learn why this event was one of the most special evenings we’ve ever had, keep reading. 


As many of you know, the women’s march was an extraordinary day for so many to stand up, use our voices, and honor equality. For me personally, there was an aftermath of that “high” that I wasn’t expecting. I was surprised at how depleted and overwhelmed I felt. Our phones and email were ringing off the hook with people wanting to “activate” and looking to The Hivery for how to do that. There was a frantic energy of “what are we going to do” and “can you believe this?” and “let’s mobilize”…There was a pressure that created fear inside me…I didn’t want to feel afraid, but the fear was creeping in. I only want to be honest with you, I get scared, too…and sometimes, FEAR is the truth.


So, after the march, I walked a lot, and wrote a lot, and had conversations with inspiring women who have dedicated their lives to the movement of equality, not just for women, but for all. And, I asked myself repeatedly, what is The Hivery’s job in activating women? How can we be of our best service? And after lots of walks, it came back to me in a very grounded vision. The reason I wake up every morning knowing from my toes to my gut, that this is what I was put on this earth to do. The Hivery is here to see you, hear you, and believe in your unique talents that only you can contribute to this world. We have created this community and movement for women, not for a cause, or a strategy. We are here because of The Hivery’s belief in YOU. Each of you. Every, single one of you. 

Every one of you has a different, unique set of talents and gifts. Every single one of you has a contribution to make to this world.

So, what does that mean for last week’s International Women’s Day evening. It meant that our job was to inspire those who attended (and now you as you check out the video) to find your unique voice. To use the voices of courageous women to get you to dig deep and clarify what you were put on this earth to do. Who can your voice help? How can you be of service? Whether you were at the event or not, we invite you to ask yourself this question. How can I use my voice?  

And, I challenge you, to not get in your own way. Deliver your gifts day after day after day (not just on Women’s Day), but every damn day. Do not get caught up in “I’m too busy” or “I’m too old” or “I haven’t worked” or “I don’t know what to do”. Self doubt comes from a belief inside that you can’t make a difference. I invite you to increase your level of empathy, both for yourself and for others. When I had lunch across the street with one of our panelists Nancy Johnson, she said something powerful to me over potstickers and jasmine tea. She said, “The moment you think you’re doing enough to be of service, you are not.”…These words are my guide. And I invite them to be yours, as well.


I ask each of you, in honor of Women’s Day and every single day to ask yourself:

  • What gifts do I have to give today?
  • What gifts can flow through me today?

When we get caught up in our stories, we are blocked from our fullest path of service. This is what we are doing at The Hivery, creating a safe, open place to let your YOU out, and use it for good. 


And when you feel weighed down, look to inspiration to guide you back to your path. Look to other women who are walking the walk. Read biographies of Maya Angelou, Martha Graham, or your favorite shero. Or, simply listen to the stories of four, incredible speakers on what motivates them to live a courageous and connected life. 


The amazing women who joined our speaking panel for Women’s Day, are walking the walk of using their voices, standing in their power, and making a deep impact. Let their stories and perspectives fill you and inspire you. Fill yourself with their strength and reach in for your own. It is with great honor that I offer you the video recording of our amazing evening. 


After the panel, we had an exciting “first” at The Hivery, our open mic session on what it means to be a courageous woman. Check out how 14 women stood before their community, and expressed their poetry, quotes, stories, song, and action around being courageous. I bow deeply to all women who use their voice. May this inspire you to use yours.

International Women’s Day: What It Means to be a Courageous Woman

Panel Speakers include:

Khadija Hansia is a Mill Valley native. Khadija serves on the board for the Marin Interfaith Council and is the Director of Islamic Center of Mill Valley. Khadija has recently represented Muslims in the District and gave speeches with Congressman Jared Huffman as well as anti-bullying and awareness education to local kids.

Anna Tryon Pletcher is a candidate for Marin County District Attorney. Anna is an adjunct professor at Berkeley Law and a former federal prosecutor.  She served as a law clerk on the United States District Court in Boston.  Prior to entering law practice, Professor Pletcher was an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase.  She currently represents southern Marin on the Marin Women’s Commission, and served on the PTA board of her local public elementary school. Anna graduated from Emerge California, a program that trains women to run for office. 

Nancy Johnson is a Marin County native, and returned home to serve her community in the housing industry. She is the Board President of the Marin County Grass Roots nonprofit, that is dedicated to building equity through civic engagement and leadership training. Nancy worked in social services, and in low income housing for over 20 years in Marin County. She currently chairs the Marin City Community Services District board. She is an appointed Human Rights Commissioner of Marin County. Nancy has served on several other boards including the Marin City Health and Wellness center, and the Marin Interfaith Council.

Molly Jessica Mauer—Molly is the founder of Partners for Each and Every Child, an education advocacy project that focuses on equity in public schools and the needs of at-risk, underserved, and politically underrepresented students. Molly also worked for the Obama Administration at the US Department of Education in the Office for Civil Rights, managing the recent transformation of the Civil Rights Data Collection.  

Photo by Kim Thompson Steel

Photo by Kim Thompson Steel