CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A local organization is working to move women and the entirety of the community ahead.
"There are women who are chomping at the bit to kind of do this thing that is burning inside of them," said Elaine Lankford, who struggled to find mentorship to make her own dreams a reality.
"I started out in 2016 with this idea to do ministry for women," she continued.
"What I really needed was a supportive community that could see me, see the vision, help me push it forward, and surround me and cheerlead me."
That led Lankford to launch a faith-based, two-sided platform to empower female entrepreneurs called 'She Steps Forward'.
"She Steps Forward [Ministries] is really our for-profit arm. It is our coaching piece, our mentoring piece," Lankford said.
"It's not your typical business education. It's truly helping them step into something that is bigger than them."
"She Steps Forward International is our inspirational piece," Lankford said.
"And God has allowed us to start working with women here in the states and in Nairobi, Kenya."
Through the organization, women gain access to a network of resources, training programs and advocates for their success.
"We're going to be people of integrity that pull back the curtain and say, 'Here's how we got to where we are.' 'Here's all the steps we had to take'," Lankford said.
"When you open up and give women that safe space... they're willing to chase God-sized dreams. And God-sized dreams are what's going to change our communities."
And while 'She Steps Forward' is her passion, Lankford said it's also her purpose.
"Sometimes, it's just a matter of us looking back at what we've been through to figure out what it is that we were going to," Lankford said.
"Everything that happens in our life is just there to shape us into the person that God is driving us to be."
The annual 'She Steps Forward International Women's Conference' is March 24-25 at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Chesapeake. Hotel reservations must be made by March 1 to secure the conference group rate.
Tickets are $95. Discounts are available for group ticket purchases.
During the Month of Sisterly Love Sale, all conference tickets purchased in February are buy one, get one half off.
You can get tickets through the 'She Steps Forward' International website or through Eventbrite.
Click here to learn more about 'She Steps Forward' Ministries.