We are launching a new series over the coming months called #WomenWhoLead. We will be talking with women who are visionaries; who create an impact in their lives, across industries and across the globe.
Leadership isn’t a model, a system or a program you can rollout and cross off the list. There is more to a human being’s life than competencies, behaviors, or theories. Leadership is a lifestyle; it’s a way of being in the world. It requires a commitment to evolve and to be whole.
We believe extraordinary women today are leading with this purpose and we are here to share their stories. Join us for the conversation.
Today, we have the honor to share with you a conversation with our global partner and dear friend Ashley Turner, Founder of The Farmhouse Project. Ashley created The Farmhouse Project with a vision and mission all born out of experience, conversation and research during long stays in Uganda over the past five years. The Farmhouse Project is a community initiative to empower Ugandan families through sustainable farming and to create future village unions to promote independence and equality. The average village family has 7-10 children, and with a current income can only send 2-3 children to school. If a family has the means to start a chicken coop, that alone can provide education for an entire family. Education is the most powerful tool for change among this nation.
We are honored to share with you a conversation with Ashley Turner on vision, purpose and her leadership in the world.
Where did your drive to contribute to your work originate from?
I first have to give credit to my parents, who have always been the most selfless people in my life and heavily instilled in me to be conscious that we all have our own story and where we come from. Secondly, my first trip to Uganda heavily impacted me in a way that I began to comprehend the world in a different way. I met a family and a woman named Mama Rose who inspired me beyond words. She lost her husband and became homeless with eight children, throughout the years she sacrificed so many things to ensure her children were provided for and received an education. All of her children have grown into some of the strongest people I know, and not to mention successful in so many ways. Rose showed me what it means to be a woman of honor, and throughout the years we have become family and it has left me with no choice but to be a vessel to try to make a difference where I can.
What compelled you to step up as a leader in this world and in this work?
It has truly all been about timing. Two years ago, Mama Rose was caring for two orphaned sisters I loved dearly and neither of them were able to go to school, and were in danger to be separated and put on the street, which gave me the sense of urgency that this MUST be done. I also always knew I wanted to start a non-profit benefitting women and children to provide education. After spending a lot of time in Uganda over the past several years learning and seeing true need, but more importantly learning what can be sustainable (farming and education) I was finally able to see how it could all come together.
When did you know you were stepping into a calling - a purpose?
No doubt, my first trip to Uganda in 2007. Over the years so many visions knocked at my heart, but now I am grateful for the timing of it all as I truly got to know the culture.
What is the boldest thing you have done on your path today?
What's been a moment of understanding or realization that your work has created an impact on others?
Just yesterday actually. We spent the day finalizing and shopping for Rose's chickens for her first coop, which was just finished being built. We got home and she came to tears of gratitude and told me a story for the first time about a man she met ten years ago. He asked her what her dream was and she told him it was to run a chicken farm because she knew it would help her provide education for her children. The man promised her he was going to send the money from America for her to start that project, and although he followed through, the money was stolen from her. She was devastated but throughout the years she still held the dream close to her heart. Hearing her tell me that story, reminded me that when there is purpose and we remain faithful in those visions, that mission will be carried out no matter what obstacles you come across. Within six to eight months of starting her chicken coop, Rose will be receiving her own income to begin her path of self-sustainability, and to me, that is my biggest dream. The impact I believe is a trickle effect of knowledge, experience, and surrounding yourself with those who challenge you and inspire you to be better.
Why do you lead?
I don't always consider myself a leader because the path life has taken me on has given me no choice but to be a vessel to use my resources to make these things happen, and it's been that way my whole life. I have so much to learn about conscious leadership and the launch of The Farmhouse Project has taught me so much, especially being on the ground here for the past few months. But I'm so excited to continue processing it all, growing, and learning on a daily basis of how I can be a better leader.
What's your take on living and leading with soul?
I do believe our souls are our guidance from within and if we intentionally listen, we are capable of reaching our fullest potential of what we are meant to create on this earth. With that, I also believe it's a fine balance of sacrifice, being disciplined and showing up to do the work in order to make it come to life.
Leave your comments and questions below! Join us in this conversation,
Sarah & the SoulPowered team xo