Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie made history when she was elected Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first woman ever elected to this position in the denomination’s 232-year history. Now, she is making it her mission to empower other North Texas Women with the Selah Leadership Encounter for Women.
Named one of the top eleven conferences for women who want to level up in 2019 by Essence Magazine, “Selah Leadership Encounter for women is a place for leaders to reset, refresh, and recalibrate.”
On November 21-23, 2019, McKenzie will bring the Selah Leadership Encounter for Women to Dallas. Named one of the top conferences for women in 2019 by Essence Magazine, Selah Leadership Encounter for Women will feature leading experts from around the country including Dallas’ own, internationally acclaimed actress and bestselling author, Priscilla Shirer; health guru and serial entrepreneur Pinky Cole, owner of the acclaimed plant-based restaurant and food truck, Slutty Vegan; Hollywood director Deborah Riley Draper; leading business expert Becky A. Davis; national speaker, trainer and author, Dr. Micaela Herndon; church founder and senior pastor Dr. Cynthia Hale; and author and movie producer, Cheryl Polote-Williamson.
Bishop McKenzie says of the purpose of the conference: “We do this at the end of the year because this gives us an opportunity to stop, break and then look ahead to where we want to go and what needs to be done in the upcoming year rather than rushing through thanksgiving and rushing through the Christmas holiday and rushing through the New Year celebration to arrive on January 2nd and you have absolutely no goals, no ideas…just a lot of resolutions that you’re not going to keep.“
The Selah conference and ideal has been going strong since the 80’s and Bishop McKenzie has sought out to make the conference a respite and safe space where believers can come to express their faith. “Many times when you’re on the job you can’t express your faith. When you’re sitting in the board room among a multiplicity of ethnic groups and backgrounds and a multiplicity of faiths, (you) can not express your faith (“I can’t have my bible on my desk, I have to go to the bathroom to pray, can’t say praise the Lord, hallelujah on my job”). So, we come together as women of faith to retool, to recalibrate, to take a look at our leadership skills and our leadership styles, to resource each other because there are women who have achieved. (presidents, vice-presidents, executive directors and administrative assistants)…to be able to resource other women who aspire to those positions.”
The Selah conference is a place to not only a place or respite, but the restoration of koinonia (fellowship). Bishop McKenzie feels that the church has lost its sense of fellowship; at the conference attendees will be free to not only worship, but to do so together! The conference serves to fill a need Bishop McKenzie is very much aware of. “There is no day off for us, So, where do you get a day off where you can stop, think, take a deep breath, press the rewind button? The Selah conference is that safe place.
The Dallas edition of the Selah Leadership Encounter for Women is a peculiar place for the conference celebrating women in leadership. The Container Store, Half Price Books, The Neiman Marcus Group and The Dallas Mavericks are just a few entities boasting a woman at the senior level of its company leadership. Nationally, the movie Harriet continues to wow at the box office, telling the story (though somewhat embellished) of the woman referred to as “A Woman Called Moses”. Today, we are seeing a turning of the tide in view of women as power figures and leaders, and rightfully so. As Bishop McKenzie and the amalgam of illustrious speakers convening to inspire and equip the women at the Selah conference know, in many places the future is female. It’s nothing to shy away or shrink back from, but to fully embrace as you leave the conference revived, refreshed, restored and most importantly equipped with what you need to face your future!