With more and more women seeking higher roles in the professional world, there is an increased need for an understanding outlet. Women face many challenges in the work place today and often find more competition than comradery amongst their peers.
In today’s society, we often speak of the glass ceiling. An invisible barrier between women and men in the professional world. This ceiling is not some secular manifestation that we as Christian women do not have to deal with. In fact, Christian women today face an even greater barrier than anyone could imagine.
Prior to this group, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my professional life. We have created an environment of real trust, and we all share in the same professional struggles. ~Kelly Kendrick, Head of Palm Beach Chapter of 4Word Women
Often, they deal with tremendous guilt over our own ambitions, or are weighed down by an older generation that still believes a Christian woman’s place is in the home.
With so many obstacles there is a great need for a community of Christian women to unite and support one another. This is where Diane Paddinson found her calling. The Founder of 4Word Women, an organization devoted to building up Christian women in their professional lives.
4Word started in Dallas, Texas and has grown throughout the United States.
Kelly Kendrick heads up the Palm Beach County Community Group of 4Word Women. “Prior to this group, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about my professional life,” remarked Kelly in a recent interview. “We have created an environment of real trust, and we all share in the same professional struggles.”
Like many of the groups, the Palm Beach County Community Group meets twice a month, once in person and once via Zoom. Kelly told us, “We started at the beginning of the pandemic, so Zoom was our only option. Now that things are hopefully winding down, we still want to continue with Zoom because it allows so much flexibility for these busy women.”
While we have our meetings that are fairly structured, we still get together for coffee, walks in the park, and are just there for each other. These are real friendships; these ladies are my tribe. ~Kelly Kendrick
Periodically the groups will connect with other groups around the U.S., including Colorado Springs and Washington D.C.. “We all have something to share, and working with these other ladies helps us grow, network better, and learn from each other,” Kelly Kendrick stated.
The focus of these groups is to build up women in their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17. Kelly shared this verse stating, “I felt these words when I read them, we all struggle with our own ambitions and God wouldn’t want that for us.”
Today the group has 18 professional women that meet up and work together to help strengthen one another. “While we have our meetings that are fairly structured, we still get together for coffee, walks in the park, and are just there for each other. These are real friendships; these ladies are my tribe.”
Diane Paddison, Founder and Executive Director of 4word Women, talked about these groups with Palm Beach Christian Voice, describing the groups as “a tribe of ladies devoted to loving their families, God, and empowering their professional growth.”
Diane said she built this organization with Esther in mind. “I looked around at how few women were in C level positions, and it struck me. All I could think of was ‘for such a time as this.’”
Starting a group may seem like a massive undertaking, however, according to Kelly Kendrick, 4Word Women basically hold your hand through the entire process. “You won’t go at it alone, you will have so many people helping and supporting you along the way, including myself.”
4Word Women is also gearing up for their 6th annual Gala. The 4word 2021 Virtual Gala: An Evening with Mary Lou Retton, will be a victorious evening of inspiration, comradery, faith, and unapologetic ambition held on February 27th, 2021. While this inspirational event is normally held in person, this year it will be completely virtual. No need for plane tickets or hotel rooms, you can watch from either the comfort of your own home or amongst one the many nationwide watch parties.
These watch parties are being hosted by the community groups. The Palm Beach County group has yet to settle on whether the party will be hosted in person or via Zoom. “We are putting safety first,” stated Diane Paddinson.
It doesn’t take much to find a support group for mommies and married women, but in today’s climate, finding a group that truly strives to lift professional women is not an easy task. If you are a professional Christian woman, seeking real friendships from those who understand where you are at in life, and share in like precious faith, 4Word Women may be just the spot for you.
About the Author. Cassondra Cofresi-Tuska
I am a daughter of our Lord and Savior first and foremost, as well as the wife of a loving husband, and mother of six amazing kids. I graduated Texas A&M in 2006 with a Master’s degree in English, and I have spent my career writing in every field possible. Journalism is a passion I hold dear and work fiercely at. I am Puerto Rican by birth but raised in Germany. For this reason I am fluent in both languages, which has opened many doors for me in my writing endeavors. In writing, it is my goal to leave words for generations that will find inspiration and encouragement from them.