Past Collective Member Spotlight: Brenda Rodriguez

Posted on October 29


Q: When were you a Collective Member?

A: I was a Collective Member at two different times: Lay health educator from 1995 to 2000; and Outreach & Education Volunteer from 2004 – 2006; and for a short while served as CWHC Fundraising Coordinator; I supported the translation of some of the earlier training resources to support extending our services to the Spanish-
speaking communities.

Q: What's your favorite memory about your time at CWHC?

A: I have so many positive memories from my time with CWHC. What stands out for me is the commitment to women-centered care and collective leadership. When I am asked about my most memorable learning experience, I recall my training as a lay health care educator– the activism that is imparted through learning about history, current challenges, conscious delivery of culturally respectful services, and peer coaching and support. I loved being able to model another way of caring and knowing one’s body and helping others experience the same. I loved the ongoing awareness of internal awareness and work that CWHC was willing to do to meet the needs of those in our communities who have less access to health care, information, and sensitive care. A most important memory is my first visit as a client at age 19, which changed my connection to my vagina, cervix and sexuality and radicalized me forever in terms of my feminism, commitment to social justice, and taking care of my body and health in partnership with other providers!

Q: What have you done since leaving?

A: In 2000, I started working as a consultant the U.S. State Department as a consultant to develop training and learning programs related to leadership, team development and cultural competence. I also started my own business as an instructional design and training management consultant. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to travel for work and serve organizations nationally and internationally. I continue to enhance my skills related to cultural competency and integrating inclusion and diversity in organizations. A significant aspect of my development related to learning design with a focus on experiential learning, appreciative inquiry, facilitation skills, and workforce engagement. I continue to consult in areas related to learning design, strategic planning, new program design, inclusive leadership and team development, and leadership and career coaching.

Q: Have you carried any thoughts or values that you experienced at CWHC with you?

A: I engage with all my clients from a place of partnership. Ironically some of the organizations that have contracted with me operate from very traditional, hierarchical structures. Much of the shift comes from modeling inclusive behaviors, using inquiry and language that shifts the mood to one of possibility – not blame or problems, and introducing practices that are inclusive and rely on collaboration and multiple contributions. It has been a fascinating journey. I try to find time to dance and last April had the opportunity to dance and perform with Deeply Rooted Productions – HOT (Healthy Optimistic Triumphant) Mature [over 40] Women – Special choreography for us! I love movement and dancing as a form of expression!

Q: How do you imagine your relationship continuing with CWHC?

A: Though I have great health insurance and find myself traveling and living a distance away, I enthusiastically choose to receive my well woman care at CWHC. I would also welcome an opportunity to help with a workshop or retreat dedicated to women entering the next phase of wise womanhood. I also donate money very consciously.

Q: What are your dreams for CWHC?

A: I would love to do a night of expression (art, poetry, dance, spoken word) that reflects generational sharing related to women’s health advocacy over the years of CWHC (even before); to celebrate the positive shifts and ongoing challenges that require are vigilance and best thinking. In addition to using our creative and brilliant minds, it would be great to find some time to laugh and celebrate in equivalence to our struggles and the laments of the barriers and critical issues that persist. The spirit of CWHC and its volunteers is propelled by knowledge, joy, strength, boldness and love.