Why Valeri Bocage Believes that Borders Do Not Confine Women
By Faith Coates
Valeri Bocage believes that when women work together using their natural gifts of empathy, compassion, and altruism, they will shape and change their communities and the world. She believes that borders do not confine women’s philanthropy, either locally or globally, and that when women work together and support each other’s power, they are world changers. This giving allows women to find their true passion, which will light their lives, provide them with a level of personal success, and create a legacy of global philanthropy. Valeri says her vision is to support “compassionate women leaders using their innate gifts and expanding their leadership roles to be catalysts for positive change in society, resulting in a better world, especially for children.”
Powerful Women International Connections (PWIC) began in 2006 as a direct result of Valeri losing everything to Hurricane Katrina. Surviving the hurricane, and her subsequent move to San Francisco, motivated Valeri to work towards her heartfelt passion for helping other women. Valeri knew that her drive for helping others needed to become the focus of her life, if her life was to have a deeper purpose.
PWIC was formed after the move and through Valeri’s attempts to find a place where she could develop a collaborative network focused on championing women in communities throughout the world in their goal of community development. PWIC is intended to become the foundation of a global movement of powerful women making change. This foundation is built upon the ethos of mutual support, sharing of resources (both personal and business), and a network of giving.
A Purpose-filled Path
Valeri says, “I believe that everyone has a God-given path and purpose. However, we don’t always fulfill it. Most of us only yearn to do so. This misalignment is usually due to how a person is raised, their circumstances, and the perceived need to make money just to live. Yet we all have the capacity to impact and inspire. I firmly believe that we all have a desire (and the ability) to do something bigger than ourselves.”
The legacy of Valeri and the women involved in PWIC is to ensure that other women continue to understand how that legacy works in their own lives. PWIC’s core belief is that women naturally give of themselves and exchange ideas, resources, information, and support to carry on their community work.
“In bringing women together through PWIC, we can each give of our resources to help each other. Making a difference in the world makes us all richer.” Valeri strongly believes in the power of women. “Women need to believe in themselves and their innate gifts and share that legacy with their communities and the world.” Valeri believes that is the gift that women bring to a community. When you are not caught up in the belief that your life is all about making money and getting something, you can concentrate on giving to others and creating a legacy for your children and their future.
The Energy of Giving
When the first group of women began to meet, it was clear to Valeri that the “energy of giving is just so rich. What we were doing was building relationships to further the world. It was easy and organic just simply connecting with each other and nourishing each other’s passions. It allowed us to put things into perspective, make people feel better, connect with each other so we could exchange personal resources on issues like health and wellness, and then connect to each other’s causes and local projects. Women became united by their true passions, and that inspired other women to connect with their true passions.”
Currently PWIC is putting its focus into three main projects. The first focus is to assist with educating, connecting, and collaborating with its members so that they can make a bigger impact in the world. The second focus is supporting and re-building the Holistic Care & Counseling Center School that was founded in 1994 by Grace Gitaka. The third focus is to assist in Reducing Recidivism and enhancing the lives of those incarcerated with support and prison reform. PWIC supports people coming out of prison by providing confidence enhancement and teaching them how to recognize their innate talents and skills. PWIC is hoping to purchase land in Michigan to provide a structured environment where the ex-prisoners can build their own quality homes and, in that process, learn employability, personal, and professional skills, from business management to entrepreneurship, which will enable them to turn their lives around.
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Valeri Bocage was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. As a result of Hurricane Katrina, she lost everything, except her indomitable spirit and true passion for life. She took the loss as an opportunity to start a whole new life. She moved to San Francisco to fulfill her dream of “empowering women to impact the world.” PWIC has received accolades from Congress, including Barbara Lee, Oakland, CA Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Houston, TX Congresswoman, and the Obama Administration for her work with empowering women. Powerful Women International Connections upcoming conference is Connecting, Educating, and Collaborating with Humanitarian Leaders for Positive Global Change 2nd Annual Global Impact Conference, November 2-3, 2017, San Francisco, CA.