All life is an expression of a single spiritual unity. We can no longer afford false divisions between work and community, between ethics and economics. But how can we change from a system which values endless increasing profit and materialism, to one in which the core values are community, caring for the environment, creating, and growing things and personal development?
The answer: We empower people.
~ Dame Anita Roddick (1942-2007)
Empowerment is something you give yourself, not something you get from someone else. And it is not a zero-sum process, where one person's gain is balanced by another person's loss. Rather, it is the dynamism and intensity that a woman uses to bring focus and clarity to how her values connect to the philanthropic issues she defines as important in her life. It is a process by which she chooses how to direct her energy to find creative solutions for those critical issues. She must take an active role in finding ways to leverage her energy with that of others also in pursuit of creative solutions to their social concerns. A woman empowers herself by her ability to establish goals, monitor progress, and evaluate the impact of her philanthropic agenda as it relates both to individual progress and community betterment. It is a process that provides a structure for her philanthropic journey and brings purpose into her life.
Some have called empowerment the force that keeps all the dots connected. Some call it the force that gives the courage and fortitude to transcend doubt and distrust in one's ability to transform dreams into reality, while others say it is the force that leads them to collaborate with other like-minded individuals and community members. Empowerment shifts the consciousness of a woman's mind-set from what has been to what can be, through the synthesis of her creative thought in meaningful association with other community members who are also charged by an energy grounded in the integrity of purpose, the wisdom of passion, and the freedom of that comes with power.
Read more about empowerment in "Women, Wealth and Giving: The Virtuous Legacy of the Boom Generation," or visit www.margaret-may.com.