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Pearls: Lessons Learned on Our 30 Year Journey

Throughout the year, this blog series will be featuring lessons we’ve learned as an organization along our 30 year journey. These “pearls,” as we call them, illuminate how we’ve survived and thrived for three decades. They will also highlight how we continue to inspire and be inspired by the women in our program while they are working with us and long after they’ve launched.

And yet, even as we are thrilled to celebrate this 30-year milestone, I find myself hoping that in 30 more years Women’s Bean Project will be unnecessary. That through all of the lessons learned over the prior years and our impact on the community, we will finally be able to say we’ve solved the problem we set out to address: to help women with multiple, significant barriers to employment learn to stand tall, find their purpose and break the cycle of poverty.

Pearl #1: The Tremendous Power of Women Helping Women

At Women’s Bean Project we believe all women have the power to transform their lives through employment. Yet, we recognize believing and doing can be different things. For us women tap this power through the support of a safe environment and culture where there is no room for degrading, minimizing or diminishing. Read more

Pearl #2: The Dignity of Work

A couple of years ago I had an experience that taught me a lesson which has stayed with me. We had just hired a large group of women and our team was helping several of them address their basic needs, such as access to healthcare, transportation and housing. As the women were adjusting to their new routines and taking care of their immediate challenges, one woman, Gracilee, stood out. Read More

Pearl #3: Why is What Matters

At Women’s Bean Project, we believe all women have the power to transform their lives through employment. We know that when a woman changes her life, she changes her family’s life. This is the true purpose of our work. And yet, in the day to day, it can be easy for us to default to merely communicating what we do.  Read More

Pearl #4: We Must Strive Daily to Find a Balance

At Women’s Bean Project, we provide stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise. Our social enterprise model creates a tension between the business and the mission that is in turn interesting, challenging and inspiring. Read More

Pearl #5: Potential is Unlimited. Opportunity is Not.

You might be familiar with a book called The Other Wes Moore – One name, two fates. The book tells the story of two kids with the same name who grew up in the same rough neighborhood. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Read More

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