Bioneers doesn’t fit into a sound bite. Neither does this remarkable story from Jess Rimington, a global youth leader whose career got a boost when she experienced the conference as a Bioneers Scholarship recipient. Brighten your day by reading Jess’s whole beautiful story…then please consider donating to our scholarship fund to support more emerging leaders in the future.
A Pivotal Conversation Leads to Brower Youth Award
Dear Bioneers, Happy 25th anniversary. Let me tell you how you much you mean to me:
I first came to Bioneers at 17 years old on a scholarship. I can remember sitting in the youth tent outside on the lawn and feeling alive with the *magic* of the gathering. My mind and heart were expanded. I met other young people who cared as passionately as I did about changing the world, other young people who believed another world was indeed possible.
So much was new to me at Bioneers and so much also affirmed what I inherently felt to be true. I felt alive; I felt connected; I felt less alone. It was an awakening.
It was that year at Bioneers that I received encouragement to apply for the Brower Youth Awards. I did and the next year won for having started the first version of the organization I would later become Executive Director of: www.oneworldyouthproject.org.
If it were not for a pivotal conversation at the fall 2004 conference I'm not sure I would have had the gumption to apply. Thank you, Bioneers.
Building Skill As a Presenter
The next year, fall 2005, I went back to Bioneers with the Brower Youth Awards. I was impressed that Bioneers gave us an opportunity to present as youth leaders. I started to hone my skills as a presenter to an intergenerational audience. I felt respected and encouraged.
And, I felt the *magic* of this special gathering wash over me once again. The conference felt like a safe space to practice visioning and believing in big ideas. Thank you, Bioneers.
Bioneers Is “Life School” for All Ages
By 2006 I was a sophomore in college and came to Bioneers on a scholarship offered through their youth program.
It was this year—admittedly a little late to the game—I learned about climate change. I had "heard of" it in high school. But it was at Bioneers that "I got it." I was shocked, horrified, surprised, scared, and fired up to do something about it!
I also learned about mycelium and the secret lives of mushrooms as well as introduced to the concept of biomimicry. Can you imagine how mind blowing this all was for me?! My head buzzed and my soul swelled I wasn't getting cutting edge, important and centering information like this at my university. I concluded that Bioneers is like “life school” for all ages. Thank you, Bioneers.
A Broken Heart and an Opportunity for Leadership
In 2007 I fell deeply in love for the first time. Followed him to Mexico. Learned how to express my subsequent heartbreak through intense spoken word poetry. And took Econ. So, I went MIA from Bioneers for a bit. Sorry, Bioneers.
In May 2008, nursing a broken heart and rushed with the intellectual energy that sometimes comes from those times in life, I received an email from Bioneers about Nina Simons's Cultivating Women's Leadership program. I read the description on a picnic bench in Guadalajara and almost leaped out of my seat: "THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT IN MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!!" I applied that night.
I attended CWL on scholarship in August 2008 and it became one of the single most life-changing events in my life.
I suddenly had women role models who led, talked, and thought big like me. I was WIDE AWAKE and ready to take the next steps in my life—to claim my power and leadership. This gathering has continued to have tangible ripple effects on my life even six years later. Thank you, Bioneers.
The Bioneers Magic Multiplies and Grows
In fall 2010, I had been running the non-profit One World Youth Project for six years and was asked by Bioneers to present in a plenary on our work and my vision for global education. I was incredibly nervous and extremely honored. A little voice inside me said "you're up for this challenge, you can do it.” This voice was made possible because I had had the opportunity to practice and develop my confidence and ideas through previous Bioneers gatherings as well as via CWL.
Seeing people connect to One World Youth's work and our vision was electrifying! I left Bioneers believing: WE CAN REALLY DO THIS! Thank you, Bioneers.
In fall 2011, I came to Bioneers as a workshop facilitator and presenter. It was at that event that I connected with a donor who gave our non-profit one of its largest gifts to date, helping to really secure our work. The *magic* was multiplying and growing. Thank you, Bioneers.
A Network of Support for World-Changing Work
I have continued to come to Bioneers every year since 2010, sometimes to present, always to listen and to deeply connect.
One World Youth Project is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year and continuing to thrive! It is entirely accurate to say that Bioneers informed, strengthened, and helped make possible the journey of our work.
I recently transitioned out of my role as Executive Director of the organization, and who was coaching me through that transition process? A dear friend I had met through Bioneers, of course! Who do I call to excitedly share about my next steps? A Bioneers friend and peer, of course!
I am now a 28-year-old confident woman and changemaker. I came to you, Bioneers, as a passionate, young, striving, open 17-year-old; and you opened me up to all the magic the world needs and has to offer. I grew up with you. You were my teacher. Thank you.
On the eve of this anniversary, I wish for a new generation of Bioneers family members to feel the pulsing golden thread of possibility that runs through each year's gathering. I invite them to come into this home and realize that they are all living and all connected. Believe in the *magic* with me.
With love, and a toast to the next 25 years!
Ensure the visionary leaders of the future can take advantage of the inspiration, learning, and professional connections of the Bioneers Conference.