Women Leading Change – San Antonio Visionaries

Women Leading Change – San Antonio Visionaries


Empowering Women at Magdalena House

Rev. Barker, also known as Denise, created Magdalena House in 2007, focusing on educating and empowering women. Denise talks about their mission, “We walk with women for an unspecified period as long as they are willing to commit to the program of Magdalena House, which includes academics, living in the community, participating in events, and working on their emotional well-being.”

Denise, a minister at the United Methodist Church, reflects on her life and the motivation behind starting Magdalena House, a residential community for victims of violence. “I consider myself a feminist. I’ve always had a penchant for empowering women.”

Through the encouragement of others, she created the momentum to make Magdalena House a reality. “The number one advice my mentors gave me is you don’t do it alone.” Her board members are critical to advancing the organization’s mission. Their participation makes leadership essential to sustaining the organization. “Leadership is about believing in the people that work with you, hearing their ideas, and growing an individual into the best they can be.” Individual growth, however, must be balanced with the pragmatic aspects of managing a non-profit.

While the vision of Magdalena House stems from personal experiences, Denise emphasizes that though they are a non-profit, you have to run it like a business. “This philosophy is essential to keep my promises to those I’m committed to,” she says.

According to Denise, passion is the final element that provides the impetus for mission-led work. “From the ends of my fingertips to the tips of my toes, I believe women should be empowered and valued equally,” she says. Facilitating empowerment and value is at the heart of relationships at Magdalena House.

The community transforms the women and children who come to live there for generations. The transformation of these relationships now and in the future provides the most significant rewards of her work. “Without these relationships, I may never have had an opportunity to meet some of the women that I’ve met. They have changed me so much and enhanced my life culturally and emotionally. Transformation is bi-directional, and we are both forever changed,” she reflects.

(source: Nonprofit Visionaries - San Antonio Woman (sawoman.com))