Stepping Up to the Winds of Change: Ushering in a New Era of Women For One

I’ve always loved the fall. When my birthday rolls around at the end of September, it feels like a new year for me. I always take time to reflect on the past several months: What has stirred my heart and soul? What are the losses, as well as the victories, that I want to commemorate? Where have I been, and where would I like to go? 

This year, I’ve been particularly moved to look at the ways in which I embrace, as well as reject, change. And the biggest change of all is my recognition that as Women For One continues to expand, I must be willing to grow accordingly. 

For close to a decade, Wf1 has shared the voices of women in our global community. It’s been a huge and extremely rewarding undertaking, and as our direction as an organization evolves, my staff and I have realized that we must reconsider how we express our mission and vision in the world.

I’m excited to announce that from October 1 onward, we will be instituting a minor editorial fee for all story submissions we receive (previous Truthtellers will receive a discount as a courtesy for their involvement in our tribe). This may come as a shock to some, and will likely be greeted with a mixture of indignation and acceptance.

I have always strived to make Wf1 as inclusive and accessible as possible, but change is inevitable. I’d like to explain why I believe this change is absolutely the right step to take, not just for me and Wf1, but for every single person in this community.

    1. I want to create a community in which the feminine is in balance.

I know a lot of women can relate to this one: For years, I’ve been pouring my time, attention, energy, and money into giving to others. This encompasses my team, my colleagues and partners, and my larger community. Frankly, all of this has taken its toll.

I’ve always made the access point into my community as easy as possible, because Wf1 comprises thousands of people across the world, all of whom come from wildly different circumstances. To that end, I’ve offered copious discounts and scholarships on our courses, retreats, products, and other opportunities. For me, encouraging women to step up, speak out, and shine has been paramount, and it’s taken precedence over everything else. 

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for giving has often come at a cost. Over the last year, I’ve felt incredibly drained…and in truth, I’ve considered throwing in the towel on Wf1 on multiple occasions. I love the work we are doing, but the balance of giving and receiving is way off. 

The fact that I, as the CEO and founder, have questioned my commitment, has shown me that I absolutely must change my compass if I want to be in full integrity. More than anything, I want to create a community that honors the feminine in all that we do. 

Unfortunately, the feminine has suffered from an extreme imbalance when it comes to giving and receiving. Women are indoctrinated to give and give and give, but seldom are we taught to receive and to ask for what we are worth. Pragmatically speaking, this doesn’t work. However well-meaning the constant stream of giving may be, it engenders exhaustion, resentment, and imbalance—until, one day, you find yourself drowning in it all.

The bottom line is, I run a business rather than a nonprofit, and my organization needs to make money in order to survive, to do the best work we can, and to live our feminine values from the inside out. Our new paid model will give us the tangible and symbolic support to continue to do the work we love in the world—and to be energized by it.

2. This model encourages excellence and helps us to support our contributing Truthtellers more intentionally. 

Let’s be real: I know people will get the news and decide they don’t want to be Truthtellers, after all. I respect that, and it’s totally fine. There is still room for everyone in this community. 

Many people don’t fully understand the behind-the-scenes work that we do at Wf1. As a tiny intergenerational team strewn across the U.S., we work fastidiously to process the hundreds of submissions we receive on a monthly basis. In fact, we easily end up spending a minimum of five hours on processing (which means editing, optimizing in WordPress, boosting on social media, and sending our Truthtellers gifts of appreciation) a single submission. We are passionate about broadcasting the truths and voices of women everywhere, but we don’t have the staff capacity to continue doing it the way we have been.  

This new paid model will most likely reduce the number of submissions we receive, but we are also aware that it will enable our awesome editor to offer our Truthtellers more intentional guidance on making their words and messages shine (similar to what we do for people who take our Truthteller™ course and are guaranteed an extensive edit on their stories).

Realistically, fewer submissions will likely ensure and encourage the best possible story quality. Also, another beautiful aspect of this model is that it will substantially free us up to find even more ways to focus on serving our larger community: with more blogs, resources, and courses than ever before.

3. We’ll have more resources to focus on expanding our retreats.

If you’ve ever been to a Wf1 retreat, you’ll understand why we are substantially shifting our focus to in-person events. This past year, we were blown away by the success of our two retreats: Your Messy Brilliance® in Kirkland, WA (April 2019), and Courageous Truthtelling in Stockbridge, MA (September 2019).

Every single woman who attended helped me to remember and appreciate why the work of helping women step up, speak out, shine, and claim their truthtelling voices is so damn powerful. These are the kinds of safe, brave spaces—full of sisterhood and raw vulnerability—that are incubators for transformation. We need even more of them in our world today.

Each retreat we craft is special and full of little surprises, and for a small organization, it takes a tremendous amount of work to organize. In focusing our efforts on our retreats, we also hope to make them increasingly more accessible to women across the world. But in order to fulfill that vision, we need monetary support.

Overall, I believe that while this change might seem jarring, it is one of the best possible decisions I can make for myself and my community. In standing in my worth and the values that Wf1 is offering, I know that I’ll be better equipped to advocate for women across the world to the same.

We are here for you, and we are committed to helping you make life happen. For more information about our new paid model, check out our Share page.

Kelly McNelis

About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of Women For One, a global community that empowers women to embrace their voices and make life happen, on their own terms. With over 20 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She travels the world as a speaker, teacher, and facilitator of workshops, helping others tap into lives powered by truth. Kelly's dedication to truthtelling helps women and men share their powerful stories with the world. She is a bestselling author whose first book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Womanwas released in Fall 2017 by Enrealment Press. Kelly has appeared in numerous national and international publications, as well as on radio and television: she will be featured in the April 2019 issues of Entrepreneur and O! magazines. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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1 comment to "Stepping Up to the Winds of Change: Ushering in a New Era of Women For One"

  • Maria Thomas - Wf1 Truthteller Tour Speaker

    I know this was a hard decision for you to make. I applaud your courage to ask for what you need in order to keep successfully running a business. There are still so many ways for women to connect with Wf1 that are free of charge. It’s all about balance. Thank you for leading with your truth and explaining “the why” behind this new business model. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to get to this place, but you did so with integrity. Keep going, sister!