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Women's Path to Power Is the Agenda at Ntosake

Posted by: Gordon on 9/30/2014
Ntosake 2014
VOICE-Buffalo hosted this year's Ntosake women's leadership development training last weekend. 

The agitational style of Ntosake training builds community among women participants in a way that Gamaliel’s National Weeklong Training does not, according to Marianne Rathman, who serves on the executive committee of VOICE-Buffalo, which hosted Ntosake last weekend.

Even today, women leaders in community organizations sometimes get asked “who’s watching your kids?’ and similar questions that men never do, according to Susan Sneed, the staff organizer who has coordinated Ntosake in recent years.

“Sometimes what happens is women come to Ntosake defensive about their leadership style just because they have had to defend themselves from men who have belittled them or who have dismissed them from public life,” Sneed said. “At Ntosake they confront that and go home having learned what they need to do to move forward.” The 63 women who attended the event this past weekend all went home with work to do--meetings, goals, and additional steps to take on their own path to power, Sneed said.

The training, created years ago by retired Gamaliel staffer Mary Gonzales and the first woman president of an affiliate years ago, provides women an opportunity to share and learn about their path to power, leadership and public and private roles and other issues amongst themselves.

Karen McGee, the first woman president of New York State United Teachers—one of the most powerful unions in New York state—and Erie County Commissioner of Environment and Planning Maria Whyte were guest speakers at the event. 

The event was partially underwritten this year by the Berger-Marks Foundation. The next Ntosake is tentatively scheduled for January in California, with a 2015 event in the Midwest tentatively planned for next fall. 
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