Faith Life, May 2016

Propel Women Baton Rouge Fosters the Passion, Purpose and Potential of Every Woman

by Krista Bordelon
Alissa Jenkins
Alissa Jenkins

The mission and vision of Propel Women is, “Helping women internalize a leadership identity and fulfill their purpose, passion and potential.” – Christine Caine

If you were one of the lunch patrons at Ruffino’s last month, you may have heard the laughter spilling from the private room in the back of the restaurant as the women from Propel’s local leadership team met to discuss details of their upcoming meeting. Excited conversations flew across the table, as you would expect from a group of women with too many ideas and not enough time to discuss them. It was in the middle of the workday, so many of the women were trying to squeeze the planning meeting in during their lunch break, answering an occasional email and keeping a close eye on the time. Since most of the women are also mothers, sitting down to eat lunch is something they’d given up a long time ago, and they focused solely on the task at hand, resigned to the thought of eating their lunch later (like when their kids finally leave to go to college).

Despite the chaos that arises when multiple women with different lifestyles and positions try to find a time to simultaneously come together, most of the women on Propel’s leadership team were able to take time out of their busy schedules to gather, and as they discussed the previous meetings, along with the direction they want Propel to take in the future, it was obvious that they were not just there for small talk. These women are passionate women, who are passionate about women.

Elizabeth Demarest, founder of Amazon Inland Missions, Inc., brought Propel to Baton Rouge with the help of a team of volunteers that includes: Brittany Boudreaux, Natalie LaBorde, Jill Jones, Julie Finical, Rachel Haman and LaRonda Daigle. It was actually the Beta Chapter of Propel Women, and they have hosted roughly 25 speakers since its inception.

EDemarestIf you have attended any one of Propel’s monthly meetings, you have undoubtedly found overwhelming support and encouragement for your walk as a woman in leadership. Whether you are a leader in your home, your business, in ministry, or in various other aspects of life, the Propel women are here to help build you up in whatever areas you need. Each month they gather to network with one another and hear stories from local women currently serving in leadership roles.

“I coach people on how to unleash the blessing on their life, and Propel is the perfect answer to that! A place for all women to connect, grow and become more dynamic,” says local Propel woman Terri Gilbert. “As women connect with others, they become more confident through the speakers’ encouragement and teachings. I see women becoming enriched, enlightened and more confident — tapping into the power of God that is inside of them!”

Beth Forbus, Terri Gilbert and Julie Finical
Beth Forbus, Terri Gilbert and Julie Finical

Women today are stepping into leadership positions like never before, but that doesn’t mean the journey is any less lonely than it was for those who came before us. Women have to work longer, harder and speak louder to get their point across, and unfortunately, women are often the biggest critics of other women, especially in a competitive workforce. But, when you step into a Propel meeting, you’ll find nothing but support from those who understand the journey. They say the strongest women are the ones who build up other women, and that is certainly true about Propel women.

The Propel website describes its place in our culture this way, “While our culture is changing, and professionally women are holding positions of leadership, many women still wrestle with identifying themselves as leaders or feeling empowered to operate within their full leadership potential. Gaps in leadership training have forced women to compartmentalize their lives, separating work, church and home. Propel exists to help create an interconnected life in Christ, who affirms and acknowledges every woman’s gifts, passions and leadership potential for the glory of the Kingdom.”

Propel was founded by Nick and Christine Caine as a way to encourage women in leadership positions around the world, and if anyone knows a thing or two about leadership and the necessity for encouraging women who are stepping into leadership roles, this couple does.

Women pray over the needs of one another at a recent Propel Women meeting.
Women pray over the needs of one another at a recent Propel Women meeting.

“I always felt my opinion didn’t matter as a woman in ministry. I never seemed to be taken as seriously or was as respected as the men in the same positions. I always ran into ceiling after ceiling, because women can only elevate so much in the ministry world before they enter into ‘men’s territory.’ It caused me so much frustration that I almost gave up the vision God had placed in my heart as a young girl,” another local Propel woman (who wishes to remain anonymous) shared. “The first Propel meeting made me feel like I was finally understood; it made me realize my dreams could be accomplished. I saw that there are so many women fighting the same battles I do every day, and I began to hear stories of victory that encouraged me to keep going and to shatter the ceiling above me. I’m grateful for Christine’s leadership as a woman in ministry every single day.”

Julie Finical says, “I think the common denominator for the success of all Propel girls [is this]: It’s nothing we can do in and of ourselves. It’s giving every gift He’s empowered us with back to Him and allowing Him to use our lives for His glory. [It is a] win/win.”

Attendees enjoy lunch and a guest speaker at a local Propel Women meeting.
Attendees enjoy lunch and a guest speaker at a local Propel Women meeting.

Tiffany Temple also shared her experiences with the local Propel chapter saying, “I connected with the Propel movement online as a source of encouragement and empowerment to lead with Christian values and integrity in a toxic work environment.  I wanted to more fully embrace that my capacity to lead is connected to the potential of my God-given purpose. So for me, Propel has been about uncovering and unleashing the undefeatable leadership potential in every area of my life so that I can be used by Him in serving others.  I’m so grateful to have discovered the local Propel chapter because it helps me to be more intentional about my leadership growth.”

To learn more about Propel visit, www.propelwomen.org and subscribe to the newsletter. You can also follow Propel on Instagram for daily encouragement (@propelwomen), or join the more than 100,000 women worldwide currently on the Propel Women Facebook page.