It started on a sunny Tuesday afternoon...
In late September of 2014, a group of women met in a gazebo near the river in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The leaders, Betty Standford and Veronica Giles, had been inspired by the scripture found in Proverbs 31:26 - “When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” This group of women soon began meeting regularly to encourage one another and build each other up.
A vision is born
Betty and Veronica quickly realized that there was a huge void in the needs and self-care for women. With a vision to fill this void through community outreach and advocating for women, they founded a community-based women's organization, calling it SheSpeaks after the scripture that started it all. The weekly-held meetings were moved to a dedicated office space and provided a central location for women to engage in trusting relationships while sharing God's Word as it relates to women and our unique circumstances. The next year, SheSpeaks, Inc. was incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit and not long after, the vision turned into action.
An irreplaceable role
Soon after becoming incorporated, SheSpeaks, Inc. joined the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce where they began collaborating with local organizations. The mission was clear: SheSpeaks' Inc. would play a pivotal role in addressing the spiritual, educational, financial, and general health needs of girls and women in the community. It didn't take long to identify areas where they could be most effective. Partnerships were strategically chosen with Martinview Assisted Living, Bottoms Up Diaper Bank, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, DHR At-Risk Youth, and Stillman College to allow SheSpeaks, Inc. to readily identify needs and provide solutions to empower the women of the Tuscaloosa community.
SheSpeaks, Inc. and TCTA
SheSpeaks, Inc. believes that education along with community provide the effective and necessary tools to empower women. With this in mind, SheSpeaks, Inc. established a thriving partnership with Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy through the Adopt-A-School and Power Partners programs. SheSpeaks, Inc. provides a popular annual scholarship opportunity for graduating high school female students, The Voice of One Millennial Scholarship.
SheSpeaks, Inc. also continues to provide hands-on services to TCTA students that include in-class job readiness workshops that explore job role-reversal simulations, resume-writing, interviewing tips, and proper business etiquette.
Local programs that have a big impact
SheSpeaks, Inc. continued to host local women from all walks of life in weekly gatherings and local programs and events. Our Local outreach programs, in partnership with Chamber organizations, have equipped women to take on economic and educational barriers as they reach for goals and dreams that they first thought had escaped them or previously not been an option. SheSpeaks' Inc. signature Te'te A Te'te conferences have afforded 160+ women the opportunity to come together in a beautiful venue, enjoy an exquisite meal, and hear from powerful speakers who encourage them to dream big and offer a different view of what is possible. In the midst of this, at the start of 2020, the Lord spoke to Veronica clarifying that SheSpeaks' platform is a place for women to connect, educate, be empowered to build trusting relationships, share their identity, and develop their purpose to bloom and be great.
An unexpected turn for the better
When the global pandemic hit home just months later, we knew that we couldn't neglect meeting together after what the Lord had recently laid on our hearts. So, in spite of the pandemic-ness of it all, we heard a whisper... our quiet Tuesday night in-person meetings turned into a virtual table and SheSpeaks version 2.0 became a roar, welcoming women from all over the United States and internationally! In 2021, our signature Te'te A Te'te conference premiered as a virtual webinar conference and SheSpeaks' social media platform was turnt up to include TikTok. In 2022, God took us to another level with the premier of the podcast SheSpeaksLove which prominently features The Women of the Bible series.
Finishing what we started!
SheSpeaks continues advocating for women in the Tuscaloosa community and is proud to carry on the initiatives that began it all, still actively collaborating with every one of the local organizations that we first identified as strategic partners. As the pandemic has waned, we have continued meeting weekly via Zoom where the women who have connected with us from around the world can still gather virtually. Locally, we have also able to launch an in-person meeting again, this time as a more in-depth event that offers women an opportunity to come together in a judgment-free zone called CrownCheck Live. International musical artist, Nimiwari, has also honored SheSpeaks by writing and producing an original theme song that communicates the heart and culture of our organization.
To this day, SheSpeaks continues stewarding the vision of community outreach, advocating for women, and being the platform for women to connect, educate, be empowered to build trusting relationships, share identity, and develop each of our unique purposes to bloom and be great!