Where do you go when you want to talk?  You want to go to a place where you feel comfortable in sharing your thoughts; where there is no blame and no shame.  Woman Speak Your Truth was created to offer a safe space for such conversations.  There are no interruptions, no raised voices.  We are open to a variety of subjects.  That’s important.  In the first group I hosted there was a woman who said, “I was taught to never talk about race, religion or politics.” In this group, no topic is off limits.  We are grown women that can discuss anything.

At Woman Speak Your Truth, we learn how to communicate effectively and manage our emotions.  Emotion is necessary in order to convey perspective, but that emotion need not overwhelm.

The idea to partner with Leadership Metro Richmond to host Woman Speak Your Truth came as a result of a conversation between Lynda Sharp Anderson (LMR ’93) and me.  I started convening a small group of women for open conversation in January of 2017.  Lynda had been taking part in these conversations, and after she attended her LMR reunion she asked if three of her classmates could come to the last Woman Speak Your Truth gathering for the summer.  I politely denied her request because I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue hosting these conversations due to low attendance.  Then I thought, “Where else could I find women willing to talk and share?”  LMR is the perfect place.  So I approached the LMR President and CEO Myra Goodman Smith with this idea, not knowing what she would say or if the group would still be able to talk about any topic.  Myra was so receptive to the idea and so welcoming.

Our conversation in February focused on the involvement of several LMR alumni featured in the University of Richmond Museum exhibit, Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond: A Community Remembers.  In the future, more of our conversations will focus on a specific alumna or topic but at times we will still be free flowing with our discussions.  For example, March is “I am Woman Month,” and I look forward to our sharing about a woman who was/is instrumental to our growth.

For those individuals who are not female alumni of LMR, if you have a desire to form your own group for open conversation I would suggest limiting your group size to no more than 25 people. You want the group to be fairly intimate. Intimacy encourages your participants to speak their truth.  I’m a coach, and when you have a large group people tend not to be as open.  In small groups, the conversation is more organic.  If you are seeking more advice on how to form your own group, contact me at rricks@speaktoyourspirit.com.  I’d love to talk with you further.

Since I started Woman Speak Your Truth so much has come forward to fuel our conversations, for example the #MeToo movement and the election of numerous women to Congress.  It’s amazing what’s happening with women (stepping forward and speaking up) and it fuels our conversations to explore race, religion, politics, and more.

Rita Ricks
Rita Ricks LLC, Spiritual Business Coach, Inspirational Speaker, Workshop Facilitator, Author, Host of SPEAKING TO YOUR SPIRIT on Amazon Prime
LMR Class of 1989

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