AP NEWS

Rachel Hollis rallies crowd at annual Women Empowering Women luncheon

February 1, 2019

As Beyonce Knowles’ Run the World (Girls) song blasted through the speakers, well-known author and internet personality Rachel Hollis stepped onto the stage Friday morning in front of 700 women in the ballroom at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center.

The attendees, mostly women, showed up in force to attend Interfaith of The Woodlands’ sixth annual Women Empowering Women luncheon to support their Community Clinic.

But, Hollis wasn’t satisfied with what she deemed the crowd’s “golf-clap” reaction to her entrance. So, Hollis made the attendees try again— while the DJ played Beyonce’s anthem again— this time imploring them to kick off their heels, get up out of their seats, clap and dance.

The crowd did as they were told and seemed to have fun with it, laughing along the way.

Hollis, the event’s keynote speaker, is the New York Times best-selling author of “Girl, Wash Your Face” and founded a lifestyle blog and women’s conference. She’s known for her input on topics such as family life and friendships through her cookbooks, podcasts and overall brand.

After Hollis addressed the crowd with jokes about womanhood, childbirth and motherhood, she got serious.

The motivational speaker told stories of loss and pain in her own life, such as when she found that her brother had committed suicide, or when Hollis and her husband had wanted to officially adopt twin girls, but the babies’ father decided to take the twins back instead.

“I could not get over it. If you know me, I am the most motivated. I’ll get through it with prayer, a good workout and enough water,” Hollis said. “But I could not get past it.”

But, Hollis said that through the successful adoption of her daughter Noah, she learned that it’s possible to find meaning in the hard experiences if you look for it.

“It doesn’t feel like it, when you’re in the hard season, but you are stronger than this season. You are so freaking strong, because if you weren’t strong, you wouldn’t be here,” Hollis said as she addressed the crowd. “It’s possible to see beauty even among the scars.”

Hollis encouraged the women in the room to believe that they are capable enough to keep showing up for their own lives while they shut out comparison and insecurity.

“One of the biggest beliefs in my life is that our creator gave each and every one of us incredible potential,” Hollis said. “What you do with that potential is your gift back to the rest of the world.”

It wasn’t all serious, though: throughout her speech, Hollis made the crowd laugh by singling out a man in the crowd — jokingly apologizing for the speech focused on women. Ironically, that man was Jim Parisi, President of CHI St. Luke’s Health The Woodlands, the event’s presenting sponsor.

After she was done with her speech, Hollis circled back to the event’s purpose: helping Interfaith raise funds for their Community Clinic.

“You have an opportunity to show up in a really big way today,” Hollis said.

While the clinic is funded by local hospitals in The Woodlands, Interfaith’s President and CEO Missy Herndon said they organize this fundraiser to become more self-sufficient.

The clinic offers medical, dental and mental health services to uninsured Montgomery County residents, both men and women. The clinic averages about 10,000 patient visits per year, and does so with volunteers who work as licensed health care providers.

“We at the clinic are blessed to witness this work every day, and that is all because of someone like you,” Herndon said.

Last year, Herndon said the event raised $100,000. This year, they’re looking to bump that number up: with a goal to raise $164,000.

The total amount raised was not available by press time, but they seem to be well on their way to that goal—Herndon said there were 300 more people in attendance than last year’s luncheon.

“We hope you leave with a heart for Interfaith Community Clinic, and the work it does every day providing access to quality and compassionate health care,” Herndon told attendees.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

AP RADIO
Update hourly