The Birth of a Movement
February of 2000 Sharise L. Erby married who she believed would be the love of her life in a beautiful church wedding just two days before Valentine's Day. "Till Death Do Us Part," were the ultimate commitment sentiments. Sharise had no idea what the next 10 years of her life would be like inside of this marriage labeled as a "POWER COUPLE." Although Sharise was a licensed minister and was married to a licensed minister her Christian faith did not prevent her marriage from going rogue but instead gave her the strength to endure eight abusive years. Let's be clear that there was no physical abuse but Sharise can attest that emotional, financial, and spiritual abuse is just as traumatizing and is still abuse. Sharise was a glass ceiling shattering corporate executive, a licensed minister, a community leader, and a mom, who found herself stuck in this abusive marriage , after all she did say for better or for worse, till death us do part. Feeling as if she did not have a safe space to turn to that would not judge her, she decided to create one. For purely selfish reasons Sharise created and planned the Phenomenal Woman Conference, a day that she brought powerful women to come speak and teach center stage and she opened it up to powerful women in the community who showed up on this special day. This would be the day Sharise would get set free. By the end of the day Sharise had learned one powerful truth, "she was not alone." Sharise was not the only successful dynamic woman who was stuck in some sort of situation, it may not have been an abusive marriage but it was an exhaustive relationship, a miserable job, an unhealthy self-image, perhaps just playing small in the world. On that day in April 2005 a movement was birthed.
The Phenomenal Woman Conference grew quickly over the next three years and became the premier women's conference; some even bestowed the title of trailblazer upon Sharise. In 2008 Sharise and her ex-husband separated so Sharise decided to take some time to do her own work. How did she get into this relationship, what was going on inside of her that she attracted a broken man? They went on to divorce in 2010.
As Sharise put the pieces of her life back together again she re-entered corporate America and quickly rose to senior levels of leadership. She found herself with a career she loved, earning six figures, owning her own home, driving a fabulous hot car, debt free, her best physical fitness, even a new wonderful relationship, and living her best life but something was still missing. It was in May of 2013 that God tapped her on the shoulder and told her to return to her first love, the Phenomenal Woman Conference. Only this time she knew she had more work to do than a once a year event, so she expanded the vision and found the Phenomenal Woman Empowerment Network (PWEN) obtaining our 501c3 non-profit status.
September 2015, born of turmoil Sharise had to leave her six figure job and became a full time entrepreneur. In response to the unmet needs of thousands of women, PWEN would become a premier organization focused on the development and advancement of women. Sharise says, "PWEN's heart is to empower, encourage, equip, and elevate women by meeting them right where they are and becoming a catalyst to help them reach emotional and financial independence." At this point PWEN was a membership organization but Sharise soon realized being part of PWEN was more than a membership it was a movement. In May 2018, PWEN transitioned from a membership model to a global network partnership platform.
Our mission is to provide underserved women with education, training, relevant skills, and relationships to ensure they are equipped to participate in the economy fully.
This is how we do it:
EmPOWER - Empower women to own their success. The Initiative will enable women to enhance and develop their quality of life and become architects of their future by presenting opportunities for mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, physical, relational, and professional transformation.
Encourage - Provide a non-judgmental space for women to feel safe in sharing their stories while being celebrated for their endurance, achievements, and perseverance.
Equip - We increase women's access to economic resources and opportunities including, jobs, financial services, property, and other productive assets, skills development, and market information. We do this through affordable and often free in person and online development & training.
Elevate - A woman’s self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence are greatly enhanced as she learns her purpose, her various gifts, talents and abilities. Which in turn makes her a better mother, wife, parent, businesswoman, etc. Someone once said that our life reflects our attitudes and therefore having a new attitude will invariably create new results. Thus, it is our goal to help women develop new attitudes toward their circumstances and to help them rise above them.
Through our four-prong approach women gain the access needed to achieve gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth.
PWEN uses our foundation of the 7 Pillars of Wholeness to guide our programming:
Carrie J. Gray Scholarships & Awards Program. The Carrie J. Scholarship Program provides mentoring, training, and financial assistance to underserved young women graduating high school and attending college. PWEN partners with our scholarship recipients for their entire four-year collegiate journey. Please click on our programs page for more details and to learn how you can support.
PWEN Affirmations of Belief
I AM a woman, a WOMAN fearfully, and wonderfully created.
I AM a woman of EXTRAORDINARY resources AND capacity to unconditionally support my fellow Sisters.
I AM a woman who BELIEVES in restoration and new beginnings.
I AM a woman who faces adversity as a WARRIOR standing on the firm foundation of my faith.
I AM a woman with a HEART of Servanthood.
I AM a woman who EMBRACES my flaws, CELEBRATES my value, worth, and ABILITY to shine bright.
I AM an ASTUTE business woman CREATING my own economy, IMPACTING my community, the GLOBAL stage, and establishing my LEGACY of great success.
I AM the NURTURING woman of the past, the COURAGEOUS woman of the right now, the FORWARD THINKING woman of the future.
------I AM A PHENOM
Women had access to PWEN's Economic Empowerment Program
Women have obtained a degree or certification
In Person and virtual training, workshop, and empowerment events.
Chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and Jamaica serving the local communities.
Women start new businesses generating income 250% above the federal poverty level.
Scholarships, awards, subsidies, and services provided to program participants.