We had the good fortune of connecting with Donnella Cranford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Donnella, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Before the birth of Women After God’s Own Heart Ministry, Inc. (WAGOH), I was struggling with overwhelming job demands and balancing work and home, all of which was stressing me out. I’d experienced an anxiety attack which got my attention. I began to wonder if other women were going through what I was experiencing and how could we support one another. The thought of hosting a prayer breakfast for a group of women at my home grabbed me and I began to search for a speaker to meet our needs. After discussing the idea with my husband and praying that God would send the perfect speaker, I had the revelation that God wanted to use me. The invitations were distributed and I spoke to the group. There were about 50-65 women in attendance and it was a grand success. After that, various women would ask me to host another event like that one, asking can’t we keep this going and I’d say, “You can host one.” Until my neighbor shared that she felt there was an enormous need for a women’s support group and that I should lead it that I realized this was my destiny. However, I was perfectly clear to her that I wasn’t going to host another prayer breakfast at my home like that in the near future. The next question out of her mouth was, “If I find a location, would you lead the group?” I didn’t think she was going to find a location and so I said yes. The rest is history and WAGOH has been in business for over 20 years operating as a 501C3 and meeting the spiritual needs of cross generational women, from various economic backgrounds and from different denominations…in a safe and risk-free environment.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a retired educator who had the privilege, honor and pleasure of being a classroom teacher and administrator. God gifted me with the ability to teach and I’ve carried that craft over into the ministry. I continue to develop and use these skills. As a child I had the dream of galvanizing people to be more LOVING. I began to study the qualities and characteristics of love coming to the realization that love is an inside job. I began to search the literature and continue to build on the research. I believed I could assist in helping us all learn how to be better at giving and sharing love. What sets me and the ministry apart is the method in which we are engaged in a risk-free environment every forth Saturday of the month. I teach, we dialogue in an interactive session and everyone present leaves better spiritually equipped to meet the demands of the world. It is a life-long educational and spiritual journey that we are all in together and we welcome ALL women with the love of God. There have been numerous lessons I’ve learned along the way, but today the one that surfaces is to always operate out of integrity and learn to be your authentic self. I continue to study and discuss these concepts in a variety of forums. I’d like the world to know that we can all be loving and authentic.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love eating out and enjoying a movie or concert. Some of my favorite restaurants are Nan’s, Houston’s, Six Feet Under and any GOOD Mexican restaurant. I love movies, plays and concerts and often visit Woodward Arts Center, Southwest Arts Center, Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A momentous shoutout goes first to God, for without my personal relationship with the Lord, I would not be who I am today and the ministry would not be 23 years old this year.
There are so many individuals I would like to shoutout, but the list would be endless. So, I’d have to begin with a big shoutout to my dear husband, Haywood for his unwavering love and continued support to my vision; he’s my biggest cheerleader, my mom has supported me from day one and continues to be present at the age of 98 (what a blessing), my son Paul at the age of 9 was present for the first session and watched from outside our basement window and he continues to watch and encourage me. The very first Board of Directors Chair, Brenda Bridges Ward and the BODs set the foundation and continue to reinforce the vision and efforts of the ministry. Each Board Chair and BODs since, have set the bar higher and led the ministry from glory to glory to glory. Like most leaders, there is a group that is there from start to finish and for me that is my inner circle of women who are always available and willing to add value to the vision, put me in check and carry out the cause, but one lady in particular deserves an individual shoutout, Joan Cranford. Not may ladies can say their sister-in-law is there friend first and sister-in-law next and a huge supporter of the ministry. The ministry would not exist without participants and the ladies of Women After God’s Own Heart Ministry, Inc. They are phenomenal women who share their support in words and deeds! I love each one of them and will forever be grateful to them all!
When you ask about a book, I want to shoutout, the most influential book in my life’s journey and to the growth of the ministry is the Bible in its many different versions. Another book that stimulated and guided my thoughts and beliefs is Think Again by Adam Grant. An organization to shoutout would be my home church Hoosier Memorial United Methodist Church. The members and Pastors over the years have supported me in the vision of WAGOH above and beyond. Community Christian Church in Fayetteville, GA deserves a shoutout as well because they have opened their doors to WAGOH for over 15 years. Also shout out to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Other: firstname.lastname@example.org my email address