World YWCA general secretary encourages women to be leaders


    By Keri De Groot

    Women must train themselves and others to be leaders in their homes and in their communities, said Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, general secretary of the World YWCA.

    ?Every woman has the potential to be a leader,? she said.

    Kanyoro, born in Kenya but now residing in Geneva, Switzerland, where the World headquarters of the YWCA is located, was the special guest at the Salt Lake City YWCA?s Centennial Women”s Gathering at the Salt Lake City Main Library Thursday.

    Good leaders, she explained, have the potential to change lives and better society.

    ?For us in the YWCA, any woman who makes something to happen or affects something to happen or influences something fortunate for the society is a leader,? she said.

    Kanyoro spoke of her own mother, who passed away several years ago, as a true leader.

    ?You have heard many times that when you educate a mother, you educate a family and you educate a nation,? she said.

    As the birth mother of 10 children, seven of them girls, Kanyoro?s mother was looking after 40 children and educating them before she passed away. Kanyoro attributed all that she had done to her mother, ?because of the legacy she has left us.?

    In 122 countries and some 3,000 communities worldwide, the YWCA is an organization dedicated to empowering women and eliminating racism. With its strength in numbers, the YWCA promotes hope, power and the potential to change the world.

    Their motto, ?Strong alone. Fearless together,? motivates women to dispel fear and move forward as leaders first of themselves, then in their communities, Kanyoro said.

    ?We must endow the leadership of women? [through] training, training, training!? she said.

    Kanyoro herself has done much to endow the leadership of women all over the world. She never tires of traveling the world to promote leadership and encourage women of all races and religions to do good in their communities, and urges others to do the same.

    With a bachelor”s degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, a doctoral degree from the University of Texas, Austin, and a doctor of ministry degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, as well as numerous awards received from various organizations and religious groups, Kanyoro has shown women all over the world what they are capable of accomplishing.

    ?Develop leaders,? she said. ?Train them. ? Leaders who honor themselves and honor others.?

    Kanyoro, who met with Kathleen Hughes, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, as well as representatives from LDS Family Services and the Family and Church History Department on Wednesday, said she knew leaders in the Salt Lake community were as dedicated to good leadership as she was.

    ?I will have a story to tell when I leave this place,? she said.

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