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Highlights from the Inaugural RETHINK Tank for Women
June 10, 2016 Claudia's Steakhouse Washington, D.C. 

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

                                                                                               --Eleanor Roosevelt 

 

Sui Lang opened up the conversation by sharing her inspiration and vision for the RE-Think Tank for Women.  

 

We come together as women to RE-Think how and what we think through thought-provoking conversations. This RE-Think Tank for Women was merely a concept in my mind about 5 weeks ago. It has grown out of an idea that is grounded in gratitude.     I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the privilege of engaging in many thoughtful, productive and powerful  conversations with women of diverse points of view.  This diversity spans a wide range of personalities, racial identities and cultural backgrounds to women with varied academic disciplines, professional experiences, generational upbringing, geographic location and views on opposite ends of the spectrum in political ideology and faith-based beliefs.  This diversity of thought has given each of these conversations a depth, a power and a certain level of richness in spirit that could not exist in the absence of their presence. And, it has been in the midst of each of these conversations, that I often times find myself saying silently in my mind, "Wow, this is like a Think Tank for Life!"  The RE-Think Tank for Women is an attempt to expand this circle of women and conversation by providing a space where women can come together through our commonalities and learn from one another through our differences.      

The purpose of the RE-Think Tank is to stimulate and cultivate creativity through thought-provoking conversations. 

Sui Lang began the conversation affirming that every woman in the room has a great mind and is a great thinker.  Each participant was intentionally chosen because of the unique perspective they bring to the conversation.  

We all have great minds.  We all engage in meaningful and powerful conversations.  We all bring equal and valuable exchanges to the table.  We are all equitable partners.  We all embody a diversity of thought.  And, we all reflect and mediate upon things of importance. 

What is it?

The RE-Think Tank for Women is a social think tank designed to challenge women to RE-Think how and what we think.  

What is it's purpose? 

It’s purpose is to strengthen the mind and stimulate creativity and innovative thought through thought-provoking conversations incorporating five foundational values: Power Conversations, Equal & Valuable Exchange, Equitable Partnership, Diversity of Thought and Reflective Meditation.

Why women? 

When it comes to one’s ability to tap into their highest levels of creativity and innovative thought, WOMEN ARE NATURALS.  

The CREATOR Himself, created women to be the primary PRO-CREATORS.  We are designed to carry and give life.  It is our very nature to create and BE creative.

How does it work? 

The RE-Think Tank for Women hosts reocurring conversations on a wide-range of thought-provoking topics at a social venue

The RE-Think Tank is inspired by Politics & Yoga

The Marriage of Politics & Yoga

  • BALANCE: Power & Chakras

  • DISCIPLINE: Knowledge & Focus

  • STRENGTH: Governance & Breath

Politics

  • Practice

    Engaging in meaningful conversations with women leaders in politics and business bringing a diversity of opinions, experiences and policy perspectives to the table.  Women embody a diversity of thought. 
  • ​​Lessons

    Women have a wide range of perspectives on every issue, yet they have ONE thing in common. They all have an OPINION.  The opinions of women bring value to the decision-making table. 

The RE-Think Tank values all women's, perspectives and opinions.

Yoga

  • Practice

    Sustaining a consistent Yoga and Meditation practice
  • Lessons

    Focus, Balance, Strength, Humility, Flexibility, Mindfulness, Discipline and Reflective Meditation

The RE-Think Tank values balance, discipline and strength and engage in reflective meditation

  • Sui Lang: In my free time, one of the things I like to do is study books that were written by and for “men” and apply those principles to my own life.  As I see them work in my own life, I share them with other women.   I have learned that even by doing the simplest things like substituting the word “man” for “woman” or “he” for “she” or “him” for “her” can significantly change how a particular text resonates with you.

  • Charity: Women tend to be charitable and for that, we can become pigeonholed as the ones serving in supporting roles.  As women we have to work together to lead and become the leaders that we are capable of being..  

Inspiriation from the following RE-Thinkers:

James Allen, Author, As A Man Thinketh

“We are what we think.  We are never simply victims of circumstance.”

Stephen R. Covey, Author, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

“Seek first to Understand, and then to be understood.”

Julia Cameron, Author, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

“Logic brain is our survival brain. It works on known principles.  

Artist brain is our creative and holistic brain.

It thinks in patterns and shadings."

Honoring RE-Thinkers

MUHAMMED ALI challenges us to RE-Think TRASH TALK, OUR GREATNESS and WAR  

“I’m not only the greatest, I’m the double greatest.  I don’t only know ‘em out, I pick the round.”  

“If you even dream of beating me, you better wake up and apologize.”

  • He seized the moment

  • His daughter followed in his footsteps

  • He lived life to the fullest

  • When I see Mohammed Ali, I don’t see a boxer, I see the man. He was truly authentic

  • He recognized that boxing was a platform for him to use to bring about change in society

  • He understood that power does not equal physical strength. For example, he was just as powerful in the ring as he was during the summer Olympics in Atlanta when he lit the Olympic torch as his arms were shaking due to Parkinson’s disease

  • Also, remember that he showed strength when he first revealed and discussed having Parkinson’s

  • Mohammed Ali stood up for his believes and was an activist during an era when it wasn’t safe or popular for a Black man to declare that he was the “greatest” boxer or declare his Muslim faith. Ali’s character is much greater because he put everything on the line to be an activist and live his truth

  • Mohammed Ali TRULY BELIEVED in himself — if we as women could be like Ali without expecting others to validate us

PRINCE challenges us to RE-Think MUSIC, FASHION and GENDER

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”

  • Deborah: Like many geniuses, there’s so much of their genius that we don’t see

  • The man was an icon

  • He had a difficult childhood and through his struggle he emerged as a powerful and beautiful individual who had an enormous impact on the world

  • He was a spiritual man

  • One of my favorite Prince interviews I remember reading asked the question “What was your inspiration for the name Prince” and he responded, “If He is the King, I am the Prince.”  

GORILLA & CHILD this story challenges us to RE-Think the VALUE of LIFE and CHILD & ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE

  • Sachiko: Pay attention. The child looked like he was okay.  He was calm.

  • Charity: Are we being good stewards of the animals and people in our care?

  • Dana:  I felt the pains of a mother. The first thing the gorilla did was grab the back of the pants of the child as if to protect the child. I felt like they killed a *mother*

MISS USA Deshauna Barber challenges us to RE-Think BEAUTY QUEEN, BRAINS and COMBAT BOOTS

“Gender does not limit us in the United States Army.”

  • It was so great to see a woman color win and represent the USA and she’s Miss DC too!  

  • A woman can be beautiful, smart and serve as a leader in the military

  • I would love to explore the issues she’s championing further (mental health, military suicide and PTSD)

Charity Tillemann-Dick challenges us to RE-Think PLASTIC SURGERY, SUNSHINE and FAITH

“If the only people we seek to impress are within our own ivory towers of artistic excellence or our hallowed institutions, we will find the audience is gone in 20 to 30 years. I find as I keep a broader audience in mind, I choose to sing and say more things I actually want to share and fewer things just for the sake of impressing others.”

  • Charity IS the Pure Love of Christ, she embodies all that is charitable  

  • Charity IS SUNSHINE!

  • She has challenged us to RE-Think plastic surgery.  Plastic surgery can be used to heal, reconstruct and mend our bodies in a way in which we can still see our true beauty when we look in the mirror.

  • With each surgery she becomes more and more beautiful

  • Charity has shown tremendous faith through the trials she has overcome

  • We liken her faith and experiences on this earth to the Book of Job in the Old Testament  

THE RE-Think THEORY OF CHANGE: There are three stages of development. The process through which we transition in and out of each stage is driven by “conversation”

  • Natural Mind (Driven by DESIRE):  Our minds are open, creative and free.  Our actions are driven by DESIRE.  We act out of curiosity and emotion.  Our choices tend to be irrational due to our limited knowledge and experience in the world.  

  • Conditioned Mind (Driven by RATIONALE): Our minds become socially conditioned, informed and limited.  Our actions are driven by our RATIONALE.  We are in observation and experiential learning mode. Through our interactions with parents, teachers, friends, media, etc. we impose organization and structure into our thinking.  We still generate creative thoughts, but they only go so far as they are now limited to the social constructs of what we have been conditioned to believing is possible and impossible. Our choices tend to be rational due to our knowledge and experience in the world.

  • Power-Conscious Mind (Driven by CHOICE):  Our minds are open, informed and we become conscious of our power to choose.  Our actions are driven by CHOICE. At this stage we are able to open up our channels of creativity again and couple it with the knowledge and experience we have gained in the observation and experiential learning mode. We now know the benefits and consequences of our choices and are conscious of the power we have to choose.  As options in life are presented to us, we exercise our power to choose which option will work best for us.  If we do not see an option that feels quite right, we utilize our creative power to create a new one that does.  We make smart choices and take responsibility for their outcomes.  It is at this stage the POWER of RE-Thinking begins to transform our lives by strengthening our minds, opening our hearts and bringing us to the realization that all the tools we need to create the lives we truly desire, we already have.  They reside within ourselves.       

Each of the Spotlight RE-Thinkers were asked to share a personal experience in which they were challenged to RE-Think their circumstances in order to make it work for them.  Each of them walked us through their own RE-Thinking process and shared lessons learned. 

AVIS challenges us to RE-Think women’s leadership and women’s ability to generate wealth

  • Transformation - leaving a major non-profit because she felt stifled, clipped wings, an organization that wouldn’t allow her to do more, though she knew she could do much more

  • Learned to put energy into her consultant business vs. looking for a job and it paid off

  • As a divorced mother of two, she was fearful of letting go completely and putting the energy into her business

  • Learned to COMMIT to the idea, to her business

  • Analogy: historic ship battles where the practice was to burn the ship because “there was NO retreating” — “Failure was NOT an option”

  • That commitment forced her to think outside the box of her consulting business and before she knew it, she was outpacing her executive salary.

  • Lesson: “You can’t serve two masters”

AUDREY challenges us to RE-Think mentorship and the power of Republican women

  • Started working on the hill but is out of politics this cycle because of the current climate in politics and the current candidates

  • Raised by a single mom in a closed off community

  • Bar tended and worked on the Hill

  • She was unexpectedly fired from her job

  • She went to church to have a self-evaluation and found that she was selfish and had issues with authority.  She came into her jobs thinking she was the “Boss” and that approach didn’t quite resonate with her bosses

  • She focused on being a servant in her next job and found that she now, at 26, manages a team a lot of people — which not typical of someone her age

 

MUKAMI challenges us to RE-Think the power of women’s voices and cultural preservation & integration

  • Sui Lang: When I think of Mukami I think royalty and grace

  • Shared a story about being on a plane headed to Colorado. She and her family split her brother’s ashes between two mountains: Denver & Kenya

  • “I could not imagine someone who I considered to be larger than life, diminished to ashes. I felt like I was having an out of body experience”

  • “Time is a variable that we have zero control over but it is very precious and how we use that time is very important.”

  • Lesson: “So ask yourself, what are you doing with your time?”

  • At the time, she was in the corporate world and after the experience with her brother realized that she had stepped away from passion and focused on vocation

  • Realized I needed to honor my gifts, talents, and passion

  • I remember having a conversation with the ashes and made a commitment to live my truth, my passion BUT not just for me. Eight years later, I’m living my truth.

  • My challenge to you is - How do you want to feel? And how does that tie back into who you are and who you want to become. Tomorrow is promised to no one. How are you spending your time? If you’re not living your truth, you’re wasting your time and everyone else’s time, right? Because we are all connected and linked together

RE-Think Tank RESPONSES to Spotlight Thinkers:

  • Sachiko - It’s tough to let go

  • Stephanie - I hit a wall and realized that it was because I did not fully commit and that I needed more discipline than I wanted to admit

  • Dominique - Thought process - A doctor (mentor) in Atlanta discussed with her a concept that resonated well.  She learned that some of our behaviors come from a place of “lack” and we do it to exert some form of control. Some of our behaviors don’t even belong to us but because we are all linked, some of the behaviors belong to our female ancestors who used behaviors like submissiveness to survive a different time and era. Sometimes we are using behaviors that we don’t need today

  • Ashley - from Los Angeles, loves sports, worked for Sirius XM and felt unfulfilled. She got fired — even though she wanted to leave, she was conflicted because she wanted her separation to happen on her own terms. Her mother said she could keep feeling sorry for herself or she could move on

  • Ashley - decided to move on and got a Master’s degree at GW while working as a hostess and went on to work for the USDR and now works in politics

  • Within a short span of time, she felt that she had lived so many life experiences

  • Ashley - believes in helping other women and challenges us all to do the same

  • Lovie - Loves that we are here together and celebrating and building inner strength

  • Sui Lang- One of the beauties of being an entrepreneur, is we get to choose who we work with

  • Elizabeth - I feel like we should be having this conversation on someone’s porch in our pajamas.  In some ways it feels weird having this conversation in suits and heels having just come from work. It is refreshing to know there is a place in Washington where women can come together and have genuine sincere conversations where we can disclose our vulnerabilities, challenges and flaws without judgement.  And, in doing so feel strengthened, supported and not alone.

LASHONE Leads the RE-Think Tank through a GUIDED MEDITATION

  • She begins by stating the time and date of NOW.  

  • She shares with the Tank that this is an opportunity to Re-write our story.

  • Breathing: inhale pushing stomach outward and exhale pulling stomach inward. This may feel weird at first.

  • Think about your body, your strength. If you take care of your body, mind, and spirit, you will have strength to accomplish anything that you desire..

  • “Remember, as long as you have breath, transformation can happen.”

  • “There is nothing that can’t be changed if we desire it to be changed.. Take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Change is happening anyway; however, YOU decide in which way you want it to happen.”

REFLECTIONS and RE-Think AFFIRMATIONS from the Tank (To enjoy more RE-Think Affirmations subscribe to the DAILY DOSE)

Each member of the Tank wrote down an affirmation, quote or summarizing statement that was inspired by the Tank Talk. These RE-Think affirmations will be shared with the RE-Think Tank for Women Network through the Daily Dose of Inspiration page and blog that can be accessed through the site.   

  • Dana - I find that saying a daily affirmation in the third person, using the term ‘you’ or my name, is very powerful.

  • Dominique - We are at the right place at the right time

  • Ashley - We need to give ourselves credit for going through so much

INVESTMENT The RE-Think Tank for Women is sustained through the personal, mental and monetary investments of women.

As a Founding Partner, How much would you be willing to invest in sustaining the RE-Think Tank for Women? On this post-it, name the amount of which you would be willing to invest and become an equitable partner and Founding Funder!  

 

Equitable partners may also contribute through service.  Please sign up to serve in the following areas: administration, fundraising, communications, or social media.  Each of us, with our many talents, will be able to sustain the RE-Thank Tank by contributing our gifts, talents, and resources to the Tank. 

*The approximate budget for an event like this is around $1,000 (without labor costs).  All of the hours used for strategy, planning, organization, execution, communication, media relations, photography, social media, etc. were donated by Founding Partners of the Tank volunteering their knowledge, expertise and services. 

The RE-Think Tank for Women is extremely grateful for all the contributions that have been made to make the Inaugural Launch a tremendous success!