Confidence Rising

by: Markey Culver

Over the last month, I’ve been given opportunities to reflect on The Women’s Bakery – on our work, progress and potential for serious growth. I like to reflect. I like thinking deeply and intentionally about things, which, for me, takes time. However, and because time has become for me a fleeting temptress, I’ve had moments of insta-reflection – snaps of intense perspective that dawn renewed comprehension.

One example is our classroom in Rwanda. I was in Rwanda for 12 days this January and was most excited about three things: meeting our new training cohort of women, meeting our new Rwandan hire, Aimé, and seeing my East Africa team in action. And I got all three at once. I was standing, as an observing visitor, in our classroom watching Aimé adeptly teach our group of 14 women. And that’s when it hit me - I was standing, as an observing visitor, in our classroom watching Aimé adeptly teach our group of 14 women! WHAT? With sharp awareness, I realized that this – this – was the dream. Vocational business training for Rwandans by Rwandans. This was it. The vision. The goal. And now, incredibly, the reality. This was success because the model – once just an idea – was working.  

Then there was the delicious bread the women baked – almost effortlessly and without staff oversight. Then there were the lessons on nutrition, inventory management, production costs, and product pricing. Then there was momentum on their bakery construction. And then, and then, and then.

TWB is no longer “coming together,” it is hurtling forward, propelling itself into greater viability and relevance. Our rapid successful growth is thanks to the TWB team and community – everyone who has stood alongside, supported and helped TWB grow. Which brings me to my second insta-reflection.

On January 23rd, TWB’s Denver team celebrated a successful fundraising event, 303 Rising.  The event was well organized, beautifully executed and fun. I watched my team work. I listened to them speak with impassioned conviction. Another flash of acute recognition. This is it, I realized, TWB is so much bigger than I am now; it coveys such importance to many along multiple facets. People believe in TWB. And they are dedicating their lives to it. WHAT?

Witnessing this event – which I had no hand in orchestrating – compounded with watching my East African team crush their work in Rwanda has evoked a deepened commitment within me. I believe in TWB with everything I have, but few things are more motivating than watching others substantiate, refine, fortify and drive your vision.

My team’s crazy hard work to push TWB into what it can be is inspiring and validating. TWB is working. And this is just the beginning.