Meet Wanda Walborn- Associate Professor & Director of ‘Empower’- a Women’s Development Program
Wanda Walborn serves as the Director of Empower– a developmental program for women to train, equip and release them- to become strong leaders within their sphere of influence. She also serves as an Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation at Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary in New York City. Also, her first book, ‘Spiritual Journey: Can I Really Get Close to God?’ was released in January 2021.
Growing up in a rural town in Northern Maine as the middle child of 7 children, Wanda didn’t belong to a family that was very well-off; but she along with her siblings were involved in different kinds of sports, music genres and church activities. This positive environment along with a circle of good friends made her childhood a memorable experience.
As she grew up, she left Maine to go to college in Nyack, New York. After her graduation, she decided to go to Africa to become a missionary but had to stay back in North America due to some personal commitments- “After I stayed back, I wrote the Reading Curriculum for the Connecticut public school system, moved across the country with my husband to start a church in California, and then moved back to New York to teach in a private college. It has truly been a roller-coaster ride!” she says. Today, the couple now travels the world together, speaking at conferences and inspiring young men and women to take risks in order to become effective leaders.
Initially, it was difficult for her to find a rhythm to go as fast as she wanted with Empower while raising four children, going back to grad school and doing doctoral work. But that’s all in the past- her present challenges include procuring the right funds to create more programs for women around the world. Her team is also working towards developing the program in French, Arabic, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Her organisation, ‘Empower’ started 9 years ago and now serves women in 26 different states across 10 countries. For her, it has been a great journey so far and today, her organisation witnesses great growth and expansion. Recently, she conducted a live streaming class with over 330 women from all over the world in attendance. She says, “We will have the program fully in Spanish starting in September and are working to add a track for mothers and teenage daughters to take together before the young ladies go to college.”.
Wanda believes that she has grown as a leader as she has managed to build a leadership team of 10 women under herself who now oversee 15 sites with teams of 6-8 women, who lead each site. She trains, develops and releases the leaders to serve and learn to switch to a coaching role as they bring others onto their team and learn to develop them as leaders.
“Many women who are associated with us tell us that our program is transformational for them to gain confidence to be all they were created to be without apology whether in the home, workplace, or community. I believe our mandatory mentoring groups help facilitate this confidence as they listen to each other’s stories and get inspired by them. We truly experience overwhelming gratitude from the women we serve. In 2019, our newsletter won an award for the best newsletter in New Jersey; so many things are changing and I roll with it by inviting others who more skilled than me to join the fun!” she exclaims.
According to Wanda, there is no time like the present to face your anxiety, intimidation, self-doubt or fear and step into your gifts and calling. She says, “You were made to do what no one else can do, so stop comparing your weaknesses to other women’s strengths and accept who you are. You are enough, but you need people to walk with you to point out what you can’t see about yourself and to encourage you to take risks and venture into the unknown to find out what’s really inside you. There is so much more to experience in life! Take that step and let the fun begin!”
In her free time, she enjoys sports, reading, going outdoors, having a good coffee, and above all, spending time with her family. She also has her own website at www.walbornleadership.com