April 28 – May 1, 2011
Sofitel San Francisco Bay
Redwood City, CA

This large gathering attracted a community of 170 women from across the U.S. and Canada who came together for inspiration, deep wisdom and potent co-creation.

Alchemy Highlights

• Inspiring Keynote wisdom from Sister Joan Chittister, Valarie Kaur and Naomi Tutu

• Stimulating Leadership Conversations featuring the wisdom and experience of a dozen diverse women leaders

• Informative workshops with a focus on building practical skills and new models for collaborative leadership

• Many opportunities for circle dialogues and structured conversations

• Optional activities such as Open Space Offerings, Morning Meditations, Yoga, Movement, Labyrinth Walks and more

• The Alchemy Marketplace which offered books, jewelry, art and music

• A Beautiful Meditation and Prayer Room for silence and reflection

• Art, music, poetry, laughter and lots of right-brain fun and stimulation



Keynote Speakers


Sister Joan Chittister

Voted “the most inspirational woman alive” in a recent survey!

A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Joan Chittister is a best-selling author and well- known international lecturer on topics of justice, peace, human rights, women’s issues, and contemporary spirituality in the Church and in society. She presently serves as the co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the United Nations, facilitating a worldwide network of women peace builders, especially in the Middle East. Sister Joan’s most recent books include The Way We Were (Orbis) and Called to Question (Sheed & Ward), a First Place CPA 2005 award winner. She is founder and executive director of Benetvision, a resource for contemporary spirituality.

“At the crossroads in life, authority goes one direction: back. Authority goes in the direction that’s already in the book; the path that has been clearly trod before now, the way that is safe and sure, clear and certain, obedient and approved, applauded and rewarded. Leadership, on the other hand, rewrites the book. It takes the direction that leads only to the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone however difficult it may be to achieve it now. “The seed,” the Zen master teaches, “never sees the flower.”

The times are clear. The needs are now. The time for new decisions is upon us. Authority is not enough for times such as these. We need leaders now.”

Sister Joan Chittister
writing in the National Catholic Reporter
August 11, 2010


Valarie Kaur

Valarie Kaur is an award-winning filmmaker, public speaker, and writer who has advocated on behalf of communities swept up in hate crimes, racial profiling, and immigration policies since September 11, 2001. A third-generation Sikh American, Valarie has been called “a woman of extraordinary courage and vision,” an “inspiring millennial,” and “one of the most exceptional speakers/thinkers“ in the next generation of public intellectuals. She takes all as compliments that reflect a superb team of collaborators and thinkers in each of her projects. She wrote and produced Divided We Fall (2008), the first feature film on racism in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 and winner of more than a dozen international awards.

“It is time for young people everywhere to emerge from the shadows. We know how to form common ground with people different from us, whether Muslims or Evangelicals, conservatives or progressives. We can draw upon these experiences to help overcome the fear driving hateful expression on both sides of the debate…But only if we commit to action.”

Valarie in Huffington Post
September 15, 2010


Naomi Tutu

Naomi “blends her passion for human dignity with humor and personal stories” informed by the challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa as the third child of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu. Growing up the ‘daughter of …’ has offered Naomi Tutu many opportunities and challenges in her life. Most important of these has been the challenge to find her own place in the world. She has taken up the challenge and channeled the opportunities that she has been given to raise her voice as a champion for the dignity of all.

“As a black woman, race and gender looms large in my life, but also for me the other passion that ties to those is bringing people together, the sense that if we start talking to one another rather than yelling at one another that we find opportunities for so much growth, that we find opportunities for real healing of communities, but that we also find opportunities for great creativity and for doing things in different and better ways. It’s all about bringing people together with all their differences, not trying to ignore their differences.”

Naomi on MPR News
April 10, 2010


Other Featured Leaders

Lisa Anderson– Director of Women’s Multifaith Programs, Auburn Theological Seminary

Fredelle Brief – International Association for Religious Freedom

Z Budapest – Author of The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries

Reverend Guo Cheen – The Compassion Network

Maha Elgenaidi – Islamic Network Group

Barbara Fields – Executive Director, Association for Global New Thought

China Galland – Author of The Bond Between Women and Love Cemetary

Bettina Gray – Chair of North American Interfaith Network

Kathleen Hurty – Women of Spirit and Faith

Musimbi Kanyoro – Director of the Population Program of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Marla Kolman – Co-Founder of Partners in Peace

Kay Lindahl – Women of Spirit and Faith

Dawn Maracle – First Nations – Mohawk

Kathe Schaaf – Women of Spirit and Faith

The Very Reverend Dr. Jane Shaw – Dean of Grace Cathedral

Yoland Trevino – Chair, Global Council of United Religions Initiative

Jamia Wilson– Vice President of Programming, Women’s Media Center





Understanding the Media Landscape
Jamia Wilson/ Women’s Media Center

Creating a Buzz with Social Media
Alisa Roadcup/ Young Leaders Council


The Seeds and Harvest Workshop
Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Saquile Lazenby

New Revenue Strategies for Your Social Mission
Susan Diamond


Collaborative Leadership – The Wave of the Future
Kris Steinnes and Rev. Peggy Price

What is our Collaborative Opportunity NOW?
Networking Partners


Coming Together at the Root: Making Inclusive Spiritual Choices
Ronita Johnson and Diane Woods

Leading like Water: Bringing Forth Your Queen for the Benefit of All Life
Ava Park

The Compass of Joy
Anne Scott

Reclaiming Your Power as a Woman: 9 Arms of the Power Wheel
Hilary Hart

Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Tracking the Prowess and Progress of Women of Spirit and Faith
Ruth Sharone

Artful Leadership: Igniting the Feminine Imagination
Karen Casey and Margaret Mell