"The future depends on what we do in the present" ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Fall 2023

Lillie P. Allen to Receive Founder's Award from the

Black Women's

Health Imperative

Lillie P. Allen, Be Present, Inc.’s® co-founder and Creatrix of Play, will receive the prestigious Founder's Award in celebration of the Black Women's Health Imperative's (BWHI) 40th anniversary.


In addition to co-founding Be Present, Lillie created the Black & Female: What is the Reality?™ Workshop in 1983 at the First National Conference on Black Women’s Health Issues held at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and developed the Be Present Empowerment Model®.

Lillie leads, supports, and embodies the work (and play) of Be Present while continuing to inspire Black women, Black girls, and all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, ability, age, and socioeconomic status. 

Those wishing to be a part of this momentous occasion can purchase tickets for the Anniversary Gala HERE and also register for the complimentary Symposium.

Pacific Northwest ROCG Be Present Presentation to IONS

by Victoria Clevenger

This past May, the Pacific Northwest Regional Core Group, consisting of Nancy Thurston, Lauri Leaverton, Kathleen Park-Lindsay, and I, spoke about Be Present at a Vancouver, Washington Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)* community meeting via Zoom. These free gatherings are open to all who seek greater awareness regarding consciousness.


We were invited by Dottie Koontz, who has been facilitating these meetings for 18 years. She introduced us with the explanation that she looks for “speakers who have scientific research, personal experiences, and knowledge” regarding expanded consciousness, and that offer “practices that can help us expand our consciousness and self-awareness to move us beyond where we are to where we’d like to be.”


Back in 2016, when the Pacific Northwest region was being established, Dottie attended Pacific NW Leadership Development Meetings (LDM) and later hosted a full-day LDM led by Lillie Allen, Margherita Vacchiano, and Nancy. Dottie sees the resonance between IONS and Be Present and recognizes our similar desires to create a more compassionate and thriving world.


We opened the presentation by talking about how we became involved with Be Present. Core Group members then gave an overview of the history and mission of Be Present, discussed the Vision Statement, and explained the Be Present Empowerment Model® (BPEM).

After opening up for questions and conversations, we added more about why we are committed to the practice of the BPEM® and to Be Present. Lauri shared that “Be Present has had a huge positive impact on my family relationships. I can listen and share in new ways and am supported fully by this phenomenal community. I have learned to trust.” 


Victoria summed up her appreciation for the support of “persistent personal growth” in each new moment and added, “I love how intentionally Be Present aligns with its vision and how the leadership team practices the BPEM® in every conversation and meeting. And I’m very grateful for the support, examples, and opportunities to actually walk my talk in each moment a little more fully.”

Nancy underscored that she is particularly moved by the fact that Be Present does more than just talk about diversity and economic justice and explained, “We work with fundraising in a transformative way that flows from our vision and is grounded in social justice. In order to make sure that access to money isn’t a barrier to anyone wanting to attend our trainings, we ask everyone to pay what they can afford (which may be more or less than the actual cost of an event) and the whole network raises the funds to cover the remaining costs of the event. Everyone benefits when our network and programs include a diversity of participants.”


The response to the presentation was very positive. During the question-and-answer time afterwards, those attending asked some important questions and expressed appreciation for the points that were made.


At the end, Dottie offered, “I think this Model® and practice is so important for where we are headed because this is an inside job and transformation in consciousness has to happen from here (tapping her heart) out. All the hierarchical structures we have now are past their sell-by date because we created them with the consciousness we had then. We’re moving into something totally new. It will take all of us showing up as leaders and being conscious of who we are and how we are expressing and relating.”

Dottie sent out a recording of the presentation to all on IONS’ mailing list with the following encouragement:


“The speakers did a wonderful job of explaining the Be Present organization and the (Be Present) Empowerment Model®…They really brought it alive…This way of communicating authentically is so important to where we are evolving as humans. I think everyone could use this… As more and more people show up as their authentic selves, it gives permission and examples to make it easier for the next wave…including children in the learning means we shift that much faster because the newer ones don’t have to unlearn their conditioning…In the future world we will all be leaders creating a world by and for everyone.”


For access to the presentation, contact Victoria Clevenger at vgclev@comcast.net.

*IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) was founded by Edgar Mitchell, an astronaut who had an awakening experience seeing Earth from space. Its purpose is to scientifically explore consciousness with the intent of promoting a "more compassionate and thriving world." 

Trailblazing Conference

Registration is at full capacity!

We are excited to be in preparation to welcome 100 participants!

Look out for highlights in future newsletters.

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Why I’m Looking Forward to the Trailblazing Conference!

by Kelley Alexander

At the heart of the Trailblazing Institute is self-exploration. Participants, while learning and using the Be Present Empowerment Model®, Wisdom practices, and Transformative Money Practices, experience the self-discovery that is at the core of healthy relationships and partnerships, community building, and social justice. Throughout the training, we have embarked on a quest to unravel the intricacies of our thoughts, emotions, and long-held beliefs in service to creating the level of change that makes the world safer and more equitable for all people.


Transformation is not a mere intellectual exercise; it is an immersive experience that engages the heart, mind, and spirit. Through small group discussions and soulful interactions, those of us in the training have connected. Bonds have been forged, and a sense of community has emerged, creating a safe and nurturing space for the journey within.


When I registered to be a part of the Trailblazing Institute, I found the thought of being in a training that occurs every three months and the notion of an immersive training-over-time to be daunting. Since then, almost 18 months later, I’ve discovered that not only does the 18-month timeframe work extremely well, the design of the training, relationships formed, sublime retreat location, and curriculum came together beautifully to create a transformative experience that has been at once magical and growth inspiring.

The Institute has not been merely a training; for me, it has been a pilgrimage of the Self. The training has allowed time for profound expedition and growth, guided by facilitated introspection and small group activities where, using the Be Present Empowerment Model®, I have joined with others as I continue the lifelong unraveling of all the layers of my being.

Though I’ve meditated for many years, the practices of Centering Prayer and Sacred Chant, along with journaling and walking meditation, encouraged me to delve even deeper—both in the training and between sessions at home, while being confronted with loss and other life challenges


The Trailblazing Institute has provided me with a sacred space to journey into the inner sanctum of my being, a space where self-discovery and beloved community meet and form an extraordinary intersection. The combination of the Be Present Empowerment Model® (particularly the first realm of the Model®—“Know yourself outside the distress of oppression”) and the Wisdom Practices have helped me to hear my inner voice and deepen my self-awareness and self-knowledge. The immersive nature of the Institute helps to encourage a shedding of the layers of conditioning and societal expectations that veil true essence. In the process of becoming more and more unapologetically myself, a change has occurred that encourages a deeper stepping into my unique gifts.


In the end, the Trailblazing Institute represents a new beginning. Other participants have also reported a heightened sense of self-awareness and community and the resilience to carry the tools and insights needed to continue to navigate the complexities of life with grace. I know that the transformation I experienced within the Institute will continue to ripple outward, transforming not only me but also my relationships and communities. That is why I’m looking forward to the Trailblazing Conference, the culmination of the 18-Month Institute. The highly participatory and experiential Conference will provide yet another wonderful opportunity for me to share myself while interacting with and learning from others.

Watch this video for a taste of the Trailblazing Institute.

On the Saturday evening of the Conference, participants will be invited to share their creative talents. Click HERE to see Creativity Night in action.

It Was a Transformative Experience: The Black & Female: What is the Reality?™ Celebration Retreat Weekend

by Deborah Edwards

This past July 6th weekend marked the triumphant 40th-anniversary celebration of the "Black & Female: What is the Reality?"™ workshop, and the results were nothing short of spectacular.

Held at the beautiful Forrest Hills Resort in Dahlonega, Georgia, this retreat transformed lives. Women in attendance hailed it as a haven of empowerment and self-realization. Every moment, every session resonated with positivity and the spirit of rejuvenation.


What made this retreat exceptional? It provided an invaluable platform for Black women, girls, and gender-diverse Black individuals to connect, embrace, and lift each other up. Stories of empowerment and tales of how the Be Present Empowerment Model® catalyzed change in various aspects of participants' lives were everywhere . Whether it was about making strides in their career, fostering unity in their families, or building resilient communities, every shared story was a testament to the transformative power of this Model®.

But the retreat was more than just sharing and reflecting. It was about envisioning the future and laying down pathways to achieve it. Intergenerational, multiracial leadership took center stage. We delved deep into what it meant to carry the mantle of leadership across different fields and areas.

The energy was tangible, the determination unyielding. And the celebration! It was a beautiful celebration as we also shared our gifts and talents. The creativity and spirit of Black women and girls was extremely uplifting.

I came away with a deeper understanding of my true self, power and worth. I was not expecting it, but I walked away transformed. I also came away with a deep desire that all Black women know this for themselves.

And at the center of it all were the beautiful hearts and spirits of Lillie P. Allen and other Black women and Black girl leaders. Their dedication over the years to the "Black & Female: What is the Reality?"™ workshop was evident in every smile, every tear, and every hug exchanged over the weekend.


As attendees packed their bags, they weren’t just carrying memories. They were taking home lessons, inspirations, and a renewed sense of self-worth. The invitation to participate in the retreat promised a lot and delivered. This weekend did not disappoint.

Here's to 40 years of empowerment, and many more to come. The retreat may have ended, but its impact will resonate with me and others for a lifetime. Cheers to transformation and the power of unity and the Be Present Empowerment Model®!

You do not want to miss this retreat next year! You will find updates in future BPNews issues.

The photo below is a collage of the wonderful moments from the retreat!

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National Be Present Events

Below are national Be Present events. Please email info@bepresent.org for more information on any event listed below.

Leadership Development Meetings

These meetings support the development of new and current Be Present support groups. Support groups use the Be Present Empowerment Model® to support open and honest sharing, develop personal change plans, and sustain a community of practice in a safe and trusting environment. All meetings are virtual and on Saturdays.


Calendar at a Glance


Trailblazing Conference: Creating and Sustaining Inner Transformation, Partnerships and Social Justice

Forrest Hills Resort, in beautiful Dahlonega, Georgia


Leadership Development Meeting - Atlanta, Bay Area, Pacific Northwest

Virtual Event


Leadership Development Meeting - New York/New Jersey

Virtual Event

For more information, email sanda.nynj@gmail.com.


Be Present Board Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia

Virtual and in-person; for more information, email info@bepresent.org.


40th Anniversary Celebration: Black & Female: What is the Reality? Atlanta, GA

Virtual and in-person; for more information, email info@bepresent.org.


40th Anniversary Event - Atlanta, Georgia

Be Present for Social Justice Exhibition, Community Talk, and Reception 


Leadership Development Meeting - New York/New Jersey

Virtual Event

For more information, email sanda.nynj@gmail.com.


Seasons of Light Celebration - New York/New Jersey

Virtual Event

For more information, email info@bepresent.org.


Leadership Development Meeting - New York/New Jersey

Virtual Event

For more information, email sanda.nynj@gmail.com.

Be Present Upcoming Events
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