Several months ago, my rabbi, Rachel Gurevitz, and I were talking about our writing and how people choose to use writing as a vehicle to carry their voice and message to a larger audience. “You should check out The Op Ed Project,” she said. She gave me a brief overview and shared the personal value she had received from attending.

Their website, www.theopedproject.org, provided all the information I needed to make my decision. The home page states, “The OpEd Project’s Mission is to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world. A starting goal is to increase the number of women thought leaders in key commentary forums to a tipping point.”

I signed up.

Recently, I completed the Core Seminar: Write to Change the World, a day-long experience that far exceeded what I saw described on the website. I had the privilege of spending eight hours with twenty-two diverse women with one common goal: to make a difference using the written word. We received invaluable information about how to think through and work with the essential elements of writing an Op Ed. Before that, though, we worked together until each person in the room was able to clearly articulate an area of expertise and what made her a credible expert on that subject. I watched, in awe, as the seasoned Harvard lecturer with a doctorate and several publications navigated the same path of challenge, discovery and clarification as the twenty-year-old with a GED. In the end, how we tell our story and how we establish ourselves as experts is not about who others say we are. It is about becoming grounded and clear about the contribution we bring to a given conversation, and then having the vehicle, training, and the “access pass” to navigate in the world as a thought leader who creates change.

Today I am paying forward the gift my rabbi gave to me. Check out the website: www.opedproject.org. Attend a workshop, or share the information with women in your life who would benefit from attending. In our seminar, we learned that 90% of Op Eds are submitted by men. The Op Ed Project has a mission and a vision to give women the tools they need to change this number. Please spread the word.