Nearly 300 women (and some supportive men) gathered at Parkway Place in Maumee, OH to celebrate the 2nd Annual SHINE Women’s Summit hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame. The audience was comprised of women from all backgrounds, faiths, and ages. The evening began with a welcome expo featuring 11 non-profit agencies sharing information about the services their organizations provide.
Emcee and long-time, beloved Toledo broadcaster, Chrys Peterson, officially welcomed the crowd and kicked off the program around 5:00 p.m. SND USA Provincial, Sr. Margaret Gorman, led the audience in prayer and reflection before introducing Sr. Carol Gregory, SND. Sr. Carol shared the vision behind SHINE Women’s Summit and reported the work that the sisters have done to establish the SHINE Coalition since the inaugural Summit in 2022. The coalition is made up of 12 member organizations working to help women and their families in the Toledo area.
Peterson then facilitated a panel discussion with women who are working to empower communities in northern Ohio. Panelists included Sr. Mary Berigan who co-founded the Blessing House in Elyria which helps families in crisis, Judge Nicole Khoury who founded Acoustics for Autism and Project iAm, and Sheena Hogue, founder of Tangible Habits which was established to help families of children with special needs. The panel discussed how they empowered those they serve and where their own inspiration came from to work to provide solutions to community needs.
After the panel discussion, Peterson welcomed Veronika Scott to the stage for a keynote conversation with her. Scott is the founder and CEO of The Empowerment Plan and has built her organization around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. The coat is self-heated, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag at night. That idea has now transferred into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats for people living on the streets, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence for themselves and their families.
A new element added to the Women’s Summit this year was recognition of Women Who SHINE in the community. Five women were honored for exemplifying excellence in their ability to support, honor, inspire, nurture, and empower – the five pillars of SHINE. Like the Sisters of Notre Dame, the women who received the distinction foster the fullness of life, especially to those living in the margins. The recipients were introduced by Candice Harrison, SSOE and member of the SHINE Women’s Summit Volunteer Leadership Team, and presented a glass plaque specifying the category they were recognized in; Rachel Gagnon, Support; Wendy Pestrue, Honor; Dr. Tonia Pace, Inspire; Christina Rodriguez, Nurture; and Nina Corder, Empower.
The evening concluded with a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Event organizer and Mission Advancement Director for the Toledo Region of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Kerri Rose-Rochelle, said, “We are so thankful to the corporate sponsors, donors, volunteers, and partners who made this event possible. Inspiring women is something the Sisters of Notre Dame have always done and SHINE Women’s Summit allows an opportunity for the sisters to reach new audiences with their message of empowerment and service.”
To learn more about SHINE, visit www.sndusa.org/shine.