Trailblazing Conference: Creating and Sustaining Inner Transformation, Partnerships, and Social Justice

Trailblazing Conference: Creating and Sustaining Inner Transformation, Partnerships, and Social Justice

October 12-15, 2023


Many of us yearn for a more just world, one in which people of all genders, faiths, races and cultures live harmoniously and express their uniqueness together. But how do we make strides towards this vision?

Join us at the Trailblazing Conference, where you will learn practices that sustain inner trans- formation, partnerships and social justice and practice translating the vision for peace and justice into a reality.



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Thursday, October 12 - Sunday, October 15, 2023

The resort is set in the North Georgia mountains, just 1.5 hours from the Atlanta airport and surrounded by rivers, waterfalls and forests. Nature, lovely accommodations and delicious meals will provide a nurturing setting for our work and play together. There will be a shuttle transport option for travel from the airport to the retreat center and back.

The Conference will begin on Thursday evening, October 12th, and end on Sunday afternoon, October 15th. The agenda will include large group sessions, small group time, a Creativity Nite, and time for play and restoration on the gorgeous grounds of Forrest Hills Retreat Center in Dahlonega, Gerogia.


We will welcome you into our intimate learning community. Together, we will practice a way of listening, being and communicating that enhances our capacity for understanding, conscious listening, and effective collaboration.

The conference introduces three practices that empower us in a new way of being, leading and collaborating:

  • The Be Present Empowerment Model®
  • Wisdom Spiritual Practices Transformative
  • Money Practices

These practices empower you to:

  • Address intersectional issues of race, gender, power, class
    Build strong relationships among people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints and values
  • Receive support in a community of practice Create systems of support and practices to bring into life, family, community, workplace.
  • The conference is highly participatory and experiential, fun and interactive. It integrates many learning styles and engages children, youth and adults together in a shared learning process. You will also have an opportunity to share your artistry such as dance, spoken word, art and song.

The Be Present Empowerment Model® provides a safe environment where people can explore how their personal histories and the social contexts of issues such as race, gender and religion influence and affect our attitudes and behaviors toward each other.

The model fosters understanding of how these behaviors manifest in relationships, communities and institutions and create the systems in which we live.

The model’s three dynamic, interrelated realms are:

  • Knowing ourselves outside the distress of oppression
  • Listening to others in a conscious and present state
  • Building effective relationships and sustaining true alliances

Wisdom Spiritual Practices flow from the Christian Wisdom tradition, and they are inclusive of all spiritual backgrounds and beliefs. Used for centuries, contemplative practices such as meditation and sacred reading support an inner shift of consciousness and an opening of the heart. This opening inspires us to embody love in the world, on the personal, community and systemic levels. Practices include:

  • Centering Prayer (a form of meditation)
  • Lectio Divina (sacred reading)
  • Sacred Chant

Transformative Money Practices create root-level transformation at the personal, communal and systemic levels through:

  • Financial transparency: open conversations about money, within ourselves and with others in our families, communities, and organizations
  • Authentic dialogue: exploring race, gender, power and class and how they affect our experiences of giving, asking and receiving
  • Learning to align our vision, values, and actions with money


We are a cohort of diverse ages, genders, identities, races, classes, faiths, and spiritual backgrounds, and we recently completed an 18-month training, entitled the Trailblazing Institute. The Institute is an experiential learning process designed as 6 sessions of learning and infusion of the Be Present Empowerment Model, Wisdom spiritual practices, and transformative money practices into our personal and professional lives. Over the 18 months, the group transformed from being individuals from diverse backgrounds to a collaborative community of practice, and ultimately to Conference facilitators. The facilitators will collaborate to share lessons learned about what it truly takes to expand self-knowledge, learn and embody the practices, collaborate across differences, and engage in transformative action for justice in our everyday lives. This includes infusing the practices in the fields of medicine, DEI, philanthropy, leadership, spirituality, and others. By taking part in this Conference, you will: 

  • Gain interpersonal skills to use in your lives, family, and relationships
  • Experience an intentional approach to collaboration to bring to your community and partnerships


Be Present, Inc.® is rooted in the vision and leadership of Black women and girls, beginning with Lillie P. Allen, who partnered with diverse people to create a movement for sustainable change that serves everyone in our communities.

We are a diverse network of people willing to risk being different with one another, our families, communities, workplaces and organizations.

We are committed to a process that builds community well-being on the strength of self- knowledge rather than on the distress of oppression.

Because we believe that enduring progressive change begins with and is sustained by persistent personal growth, we bring to people a model for personal and organizational effectiveness that replaces silence with information, assumptions with a diversity of insights, and powerlessness with a sense of personal responsibility.

Be Present’s work advances a more just world by supporting people to become more effective leaders in creating thriving families, schools, organizations, workplaces, and communities by:

  • Teaching the Be Present Empowerment Model®
  • Providing training and ongoing systems of support
  • Building a diverse network of locally organized and nationally connected social change leaders
  • Collaborating with other social justice organizations


At Wisdom & Money, we believe that exploring our relationship with money is a powerful spiritual practice that can lead to inner and outer transformation.

Together in circles, retreats, workshops and writings, we explore the following questions with people of wealth:

  • How do you align your relationship to money with your spiritual values?
  • How can money foster justice and flow in alignment with spirit and love?

To engage these questions, we share contemplative spiritual practices from the Christian Wisdom tradition. Wisdom practices such as meditation, silence, and sacred reading are inclusive of all spiritual backgrounds, and they support an inner shift of consciousness. This shift opens the heart, inspiring us to create communities and systems that embody love in the world.

Given the world’s injustice— especially around money—we teach and draw from practices that support the development of equitable and sustainable partnerships. We use the Be Present Empowerment ModelTM to help participants see themselves as an integral part of what is and what must be changed. In this way, we open the doorway to personal and social transformation.



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