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Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Terrace woman organizes a congress of women’s voices

Mountlake Terrace life coach organizes women's congress to share stories

  • Sharon Riegie Maynard, of Mountlake Terrace, listens during a women's circle for the Grassroots Women's Congress at the Shoreline Unitarian Universali...

    Doug Ramsay / For The Herald

    Sharon Riegie Maynard, of Mountlake Terrace, listens during a women's circle for the Grassroots Women's Congress at the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church earlier this month.

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE -- Sharon Riegie Maynard has wisdom that only comes with age.
The 70-year-old Mountlake Terrace woman has learned that she can get much further by keeping her ears and eyes open, and that gives her a bigger voice.
To bring this skill to others, Maynard is spearheading the inaugural Grassroots Women's Congress in the United States, Saturday and Sunday in Seattle.
Listening to women's stories in her day-to-day life helped Maynard hone the group's potential.
As a life coach, she found her client list burgeoning with women with a rich tapestry of life stories. As a host of an online radio show, "Women Weaving the World," she showcases those who make contributions in a variety of different ways.
Maynard wants to provide a platform so that women can share their life stories and link with each other. She says that similar events are happening in India, Pakistan and Nigeria throughout this year.
"These events will help women, as individuals, move into a spot of clarity," she said.
The meeting is expected to be a space where all women's voices will be heard. Maynard says she wants the end result to be a statement of proposals and values cobbled together by the attendees and brought to those in power.
"This is not about being invited to the table so we can create our own table," Maynard said. "We are policymakers. If we let the current agendas of profit and conflict lead our lives, my granddaughters won't be able to contribute."
She expects 50 to 75 attendees in Seattle. A teleconference option will available.
"We will set goals and values of women in this time," she said. "We will state what women are no longer going to accept. We will look at education, the judicial system, health care, everything of interest and concern to women."
She calls all women of all ages and political parties to attend.
"The more diverse the better," Maynard says. "Inclusiveness is what women have in common. There is power in women's voices."
Her own life is diverse. Maynard was born in Murray, Utah, married and moved to St. Louis; Omaha, Neb.; Napa, Calif.; and Boise, Idaho, following her husband's work opportunities. In 1975 her husband died in a car accident, the day after the birth of their ninth child.
"I had to step up to the plate as a leader of my family," she said.
"There are so many women all ready to take that next step in leadership. I don't want just another conference where women listen. I want a more impactful event to shed a light on the destructive end result of actions and policies that are detrimental to women."
The idea came up last fall as the Occupy movement swept the country.
"That movement was a catalyst," Maynard said.
"Women, as life-givers, have a different way of looking at life. We are agenda-setters and architects that thrive in integrated relationships."
Three elements will weave women together during the congress.
Circles of up to six attendees will talk about their journey and their story. Inspirational author Cinda Stevens Lonsway will deliver an address. Conversations of four will identify what women attending the congress feel is the most disconnecting things in their life.
The event is planned from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 5001 25th Ave. NE, Seattle. Cost is $225.
For more information, go to http://womensgrassrootscongress. com.
Story tags » Customs & TraditionsMountlake Terrace

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