INSPIRE Conference Draws Hundreds, Teaches Empowerment and Self-Care

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The Miller Performing Arts Center became a hub of female empowerment Saturday as hundreds of women filled the facility for the inaugural INSPIRE women's conference.

by Madeleine Leroux Sep. 15 2019 @ 12:05am

The Miller Performing Arts Center became a hub of female empowerment Saturday as hundreds of women filled the facility for the inaugural INSPIRE women's conference.

From college students to retirees, the daylong conference attracted women of all ages who sought to learn new ways to not only live better but to more effectively take care of themselves and each other.

The conference was hosted by the nonprofit organization HALO (Helping Art Liberate Orphans) and was modeled after similar events held in other cities. Prior to Saturday's conference, HALO founder Rebecca Welsh said the goal was to help women nourish themselves, inside and out, or as she called it, "filling their cups."

"Women need more days like this in our lives," Welsh said during the conference.

The event included keynote speakers as well as smaller sessions from local women that included better organization for nutrition and meal planning, tips to beautify spaces using plants and how to better connect with your breath, among others. It also included a variety of vendors, with portions of all sales going back to benefit HALO.

The keynote speakers — Welsh and authors Kim Becking and Christine McDonald — all spoke about their own journeys and gave tips to those in attendance on how to live their best life. Welsh spoke of the journey that led her to found HALO as well as what she learned after suffering a stroke four years ago. That experience led her to begin "living with intention," she said.

"My moments had to be so intentional," Welsh said. "Living with intention changes your life because your moments start to matter."

Becking emphasized to "live your 1,440" which references the amount of minutes in each day. Becking, a breast cancer survivor, emphasized taking time for yourself by setting priorities and boundaries, including learning how to say no and letting go of things that can't be controlled.

"Saying no allows you to say yes to what really matters," Becking said.

Referring back to that 1,440, Becking told those in attendance it's up to them how to use each and every minute, urging all to find joy and soak up life.

McDonald, a former victim of sex trafficking who struggled with homelessness and substance abuse, shared her journey of pain and abuse, noting an organization like HALO could have changed so much in her own life.

"Hope changes everything," McDonald said. "Don't allow your burdens to be your final destinations. Love is the most powerful thing in the universe."

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