Imagine an extraordinary gathering of women empowering one another to bring hope, healing, and transformative change into our own lives and to the world around us, inspiring each other to awaken to our full potential and to deepen our partnerships with men to be effective co-creators of the future. 
         We are living in a profound moment in human history. More and more women are awakening to what they are called to and using their gifts, talents and capacities to be catalysts to work together to create a more just and conscious world.  Even now, though, women continue to be the most untapped resource on the planet.

         The Sophia Institute Presents WOMEN RISING! to bring together women from around the country for exploration, discovery, and transformation with women leaders who model authenticity and are living lives of powerful purpose.   Inspirational women leaders will help connect our minds and hearts to our own inner wisdom and offer new pathways and practices to co-create a better world.
         Join us here, in historic Charleston, for a gathering of women, working with these seasoned women leaders, as we begin to transform our lives, our relationships, our workplaces, and our communities to live and lead with wisdom and power. The WOMEN RISING!  Gathering February 7 – 9, 2019 at  the Circular Congregational Church’s Lance Hall, 150 Meeting Street will feature keynote speaker Pat Mitchell, Co-Curator of TEDWomen and former CEO of PBS.  Other presenters include Marianne Williamson, Crystal Andrus Morissette, Michele Ozumba, Diana Whitney, Ana Oliveira, Tena Clark, vocal artist Virginia Schenck and an array of amazing thought leaders and opportunities for networking as well as exploring Charleston with options for exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences.  Each presenter will be offering “Big Conversations” on topics that will resonate with you.

Thursday, Feb. 7, Opening Night Soiree: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm 
An uplifting evening featuring acclaimed jazz performer and vocal artist Virginia Schenck with a live band, dancing mingling, hors d’oeuvres, libations with a featured cocktail by Cocktail Bandits.  Presented by Local Choice Spirits  
You can join us just for the Soiree, or all the events.
Friday Feb. 8, Explore Charleston: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm 
Explore Charleston with shopping on historic King Street at IBU, featuring handmade textiles from women around the world, and Vieuxtemps, a timeless gift boutique, and a garden tour led by landscape designer Linda Greenberg.
Lunch on your own:  12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Big Conversations with presenters:  1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Reception to follow.  Mingle and network.
Saturday Feb. 9, Big Conversations:  9:30 am – 6:00 pm
See Specific Topics and Speaker Schedules Below


Thursday | 6:30 – 9 pm | Opening Night Soiree with Virginia Schenck
Vocal Artist Virginia Schenck The WOMEN RISING! Gathering Opening Evening Reception will feature a lively musical performance by Vocal Artist Virginia Schenck, an imaginative vocalist with a broad stylistic reach. VA, as she is known on the stage, can soothe her audience with a beautiful ballad, invigorate them with a re-imagined standard and challenge them with a powerful blast of free improvisation. Yet all of these aspects exist within one singular and unique voice. Hers is certainly a talent worthy of greater recognition. The Opening Evening Reception will be a spectacular time filled with dancing, catching up with old friends and making new ones.  Learn more about Virginia and see her perform.


Big Conversation topics for each of our presenters:
1:15 – 2:30 pm | Pat Mitchell “Women Rising and Making a Difference” As the decades of my own advocacy on behalf of women pile up, I’m ever more convinced that women lead differently if given the chance to express our genuine styles, passions, and priorities. Whether it’s the head of a multinational bank, weighing what kinds of financial products to offer, at what price points, with what kind of marketing materials, or the Speaker of the House keeping order in one of the least civil places left in America, or whether you are organizing the neighborhood for a community or school project, women, when fully engaging their whole selves and their full set of experiences as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, citizens are inclined to do it differently. And it’s that difference that can make all the difference in terms of better business, more sustainable communities, and more personally fulfilling lives, too. There are some new rules or principles for leading as a woman that reflect new values,  and I will share the ones I’ve learned along the way as an executive, a mother, grandmother, mentor, friend, woman in the world.  I believe it’s now time for all of us to take more risks, to be less polite or politic and too become more fierce and committed to transformative change.

2:35 – 3:50 pm | Michele Ozumba  “Healing Humanity – A Call to Action”   This is the challenge of the 21st Century. If we look at the constellation of socio-economic issues facing today’s world – poverty, climate change, violence against women, racism, war, and the unparalleled level of migration across the globe – now is the time for radical transformation in what it means to lead.  Let’s not be limited to defining 2019 as the year of the woman. It is the woman’s century!

4 – 5 pm | Guest Panel: Women Taking a Stand for Truth and Justice

5 – 5:30 pm | Tena Clark “Southern Discomfort”  I am not here to make you comfortable, I am here to live my truth. Living your truth no matter what the cost and consequences will fuel the soul.  Living authentically will always bring you joy, purpose and freedom.

5:30 pm | Reception


9:30 – 10:45 am | Crystal Andrus Morissette “Embodying Yin and Yang to live with Authenticity”  Many women have heard the concept of embodying both the yin and yang – the feminine and masculine – in our conscious life to live with authenticity. But most have no idea what that really means. Crystal’s work on Emotional Age, notably Mother Energy (yang), Daughter Energy (yin) and Woman Energy (healing the split between the two), has been wildly received worldwide! Oprah.com has featured her Emotional Age Quiz three times, as well as the New York Post and UK Daily Mail and hundreds of other media outlets. Get ready to understand yourself as a woman in a whole new groundbreaking way!

11:00 am – 12:15 pm | Lorraine Stephens “Leading with Integrity in a Changing World”   Explore with Lorraine Stevens the challenges and opportunities for women to lead from within, seeking effectiveness and impact in a changing world. We will engage both in an exploratory conversation as well as lived experience examples. Women have the opportunity to reconstruct what it means to be in leadership across multiple sectors. The bottom line of accountability must be accompanied by a set of values that address the well-being of humanity.   This is a call to action for women and all those who care about the well-being of all people and of Mother Earth, to come together in a new spirit of urgency and purpose that leads the world to a better place – peace and equity; the full meaning of social justice.

1:30 – 2:45 pm | Diana Whitney “Thriving Women, Thriving World: From Dialogue to Inspired Action”  Taking care of ourselves, finding our voices and getting our act together is only half of the positive change equation for women. The other half is elevating, supporting, and bringing out the best of other women. None of us can succeed alone. We are made and imagined in the eyes of each other. In her interactive session Diana Whitney will introduce us to two practices for bringing out the best of others: flipping (from deficit discourse to appreciative dialogue) and strengths spotting. Diana will share stories of her experiences as a woman working for 40 years to create positive change by bringing a love of humanity to corporate life.

3:00 – 4:30 pm | Marianne Williamson  “Healing the Soul of America”“America has always been a land of contradictions. We have been both slaveowner and abolitionist, conscienceless industrialist and labor reformer, corporate polluter and world class environmentalist. Sometimes we’ve embodied the most brutish attitudes and at other times, in Lincoln’s words, “the angels of our better nature.” But no matter what any of us have chosen to manifest at any particular time, the American ideal as established by our founding documents remains the same: the expression of humanity at its most free and creative and just. That is the point and purpose of the country as represented by the Great Seal of the United States. This mystical seal — designed by Franklin, Adams and Washington — pictures the capstone returned to the Great Pyramid at Giza, a Masonic symbol for wisdom. The Eye of Horus, representing humanity’s higher mind, dazzlingly proclaims that here we will achieve Novus Ordo Seclorum, a “new order of the ages” or the age of universal brotherhood. That thought, regardless of how corrupted and bastardized it has been at various points in our history, remains our spiritual and political mission. The power of the ideal continues to shine like a beacon for all Americans, exhorting us to become what we originally committed to becoming.”  Healing the Soul of America, by Marianne Williamson

4:40 – 5 pm | Experiential Wrap-up

If you’d like to learn more about being a sponsor for WOMEN RISING! please contact us at info@thesophiainstitute.org.

Sponsorship Registration Packet – WOMEN RISING

Scholarships, work study and reduced tuition available. Please email info@thesophiainstitute.org if you have this need.

Click here to read about the WOMEN RISING! Gathering in the January edition of Skirt Magazine https://www.skirt.com/women-rising/

About the Rise of the Feminine: The rise of feminine consciousness is an awakening of power that is aligned with feminine energy or yin energy. Feminine energy is intuitive, nurturing, relational, creative, artistic, innovative, compassionate, and heart-centered. Masculine or yang energy, on the other hand, is centered in logic and reason and is expressed in an outward fashion. We all carry both masculine and feminine energy, and we need both to be in balance in our lives and in our world and for our wholeness.
For millennia, most of planet Earth has been led by a patriarchal approach. This energy has its place, but when there is no balance, it leads to domination and to war, destruction, a lack of compassion, inequality, segregation, egomania, and a rejection of the intuitive power that we all have within.  We are seeking a pivotal shift through the Rise of the Feminine, and balance and equity shared between the masculine and feminine which could reach a tipping point that, if so, will bring about transformative change for a more just, sustainable, and flourishing world.


“There is a new spiritual consciousness breaking into the world. We could call it a Feminine consciousness.  It has the potential to do something that has never been done before: To open the immense common heart of the world. The particular genius of the Feminine is in its valuing of the wisdom of the heart, of interdependence, empathy, relational thinking, compassionate community, intuitive intelligence, peace, creativity, and the sacredness of the earth.”  -Sue Monk Kidd

“I do think it’s [Rise of the Feminine ] the next level of evolution.  And I think that there is a divine plan—that however we’ve tried to muss it up, there’s a destiny that shapes our ends. There will be what I call conscious femininity, and it includes the unity of life.  People are beginning to understand their oneness with all things. We will be working at a planetary level, so the relatedness has to be on a global scale. We are realizing the power of love to heal. That’s an opening of the feminine at a level that we haven’t known, and we have no idea where it will go.   We’re just at the beginning of a totally new epoch. And control over other people and over our bodies will be archaic concepts.”  -Marion Woodman

“We are living in a time of profound transformation, a time of breakdown and potentially breakthrough, when a new consciousness is trying to break into the world.  I think of it as a spiritual consciousness,  one that carries the Feminine and joins it with the Masculine and out of that union, a consciousness is forming that is more just and compassionate, one that is transformed from power over to power with, from domination, to collaboration and partnership for a more just and egalitarian world.  It honors the web of life, the unity within our diversity, the sacredness in each of our lives and the earth.  It is a consciousness that awakens the wisdom of the heart and allows grace to enter our lives, allows us to find a new way of living and being on the earth that honors our unity and our distinction and to tap into what is true.” -Carolyn Rivers


Hourly Schedule

6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Opening Reception
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Friday Program
9:30 am - 5:45 pm
Saturday Program


Feb 07 2019 - Feb 09 2019


Full Registration: Thursday evening - Saturday $350; Full Registration: Thursday evening - Saturday (Early Bird by 2/3/19) $295; Sophia Millennial Full Registration: Thursday evening - Saturday (Must be 35 years old or younger by 2/7/19) $150; Friday - Saturday Gathering Only $250; Opening Night Reception Only (Thursday Night) $75

Visitor Planning

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Lance Hall


Lance Hall
150 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States

Presenting Faculty: