She Leads America/UK Summit at Windsor Castle Welcomes Media Executive Kathleen Cooke

She Leads America/UK Summit at Windsor Castle Welcomes Media Executive Kathleen Cooke

On special invitation, Kathleen Cooke will join 50 nationally recognized women of distinction from the U.S. and UK at Windsor Castle to explore faith-based solutions to counteract the attack on biblical values within our cultures.

Los Angeles, CA (May 8, 2024) — In 2022, Kathleen Cooke was awarded a national congressional award from She Leads America Award for Distinguished Work in Media and Entertainment. This June, she is invited to a strategic gathering of 50 women of influence from the U.S. and UK at Windsor Castle in London. With high-profile U.S. delegates that include Dr. Alveda King, State Representative Nancy DeBoer, and award-winning author Bodie Thoene, and U.K. delegates Lady Carol Baker, Helena Croft MBE, and Dr. Sheena Tranter, the landmark gathering will feature discussions on the challenges confronting both countries as biblical values are threatened, and will explore faith-based solutions to address those challenges.

“Only with the combined efforts of distinguished and leading voices will we be able to cut through the challenges we face on either side of the pond,” shares Kathleen Cooke, global director for Influence Women and co-founder of Cooke Media Group based in LA.  She adds, “Leadership matters, and leaders supporting leaders turn the dial.”

Liz Doyle, founder and executive director of She Leads America shares the vision behind the UK Summit prompted by what she terms an “unprecedented simultaneous attack” on Christian values. “We are eager to meet our sisters across the Atlantic to learn about the unique challenges in Britain and how they are addressing the global crisis we all find ourselves in.”

She Leads America is an organization of accomplished Christian women from across the U.S. representing a broad spectrum of women of distinction, recognized by their peers and state and national government. The UK Summit offers an opportunity for strategic thinking and collaboration to approach the issues facing our societies from a biblical and prayerful perspective.

Partner with The Influence Lab! Your generous gift helps with logistical expenses for this trip.

Selected by special invitation to attend the UK Summit, Kathleen Cooke will share on media and the arts, offering insight on how media can effectively change the culture’s mindset toward Kingdom values and truths. To help sponsor the logistical expenses, donations can be directed to the nonprofit The Influence Lab at https://influencelab.com/donate. To interview Kathleen, contact info@influencewomen.org.

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About Kathleen Cooke, Global Director – Influence Women
Kathleen Cooke is the co-founder of Cooke Media Group and The Influence Lab, and the global director of Influence Women, nonprofit organization for Christian media professionals with offering mentorship, career development and a faith community for women in the film, television and arts industries. Author of “Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture,” she has appeared on top national and international radio, podcast and television shows including CBN and TBN, and her articles carried by Avail Leadership and Charisma Magazine. Find out more at KathleenCooke.com and InfluenceWomen.org

PARTNER WITH THE INFLUENCE LAB!
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An INNER VIEW with Producer Janet Craig

An INNER VIEW with Producer Janet Craig

BIO

Janet Craig is an Arizona-raised actress, writer, producer, and director. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre while playing on the nationally ranked women’s tennis team at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, before moving to LA to pursue her acting career. Now a veteran actress, Janet has performed in a wide variety of roles on network television, film, and in theatre. Janet co-wrote, directed, produced, and acted in the award-winning narrative feature film WAKE UP, a project inspired by her personal experience with foster and trafficked youth. She has directed over a dozen short films, co-founded and created original content for ProReels, and co-written another narrative feature film that is currently in development. A lover of the ocean, mountains, and all things outdoors, Janet is grateful to live in beautiful Los Angeles with her family.

Janet was our recent guest interviewee at the Influence Women Hollywood Chapter Brunch and will be our next featured guest on the Influence Women Podcast. Catch more of her great, inspiring wisdom on the Influence Women YouTube channel.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen: Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and less demanding on our schedules, but in reality, that’s not the case. We just pile more on our plate. How do you navigate and prioritize your schedule?

Janet Craig: When I have more to do than I have time for, I have learned to stop and spend time with the Lord. In those situations, I am realizing more and more that intimacy with God is what I need. Meditating on His Word and praying is where I find His path for each day and the strength through His Spirit in me. I also realize that I must stop, pray, and die once again to my flesh when I start to feel my life spinning.

Making the movie Wake Up was a mountaintop experience for me. I watched as He allowed me to experience His hand on me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. During this time, I leaned into prayer and dependence on Him.

When I first created the story of Wake Up, I would stay up until all hours of the night, feeling energized and inspired. I did not consider myself a writer, but the story just seemed to flow out of me. After the movie was completed, I realized that a lot of the story I wrote was part of my own story. Not that I was trafficked myself, but I grew up experiencing trauma and brokenness from early childhood, and those experiences deeply influenced the story of Wake Up, making the movie autobiographical in many ways. God used my brokenness to teach me and turned all of my pain and suffering into deep dependence and comfort in Him alone.

Kathleen: Where do you turn and do when you need inspiration or encouragement?

Janet: I have been so grateful for faithful friends who inspire and encourage me. I often am inspired by the example of faith in others. I also get encouragement from listening to a great sermon and fellowshipping with other believers of Christ. Many kinds and genres of music inspire me also, but. the Bible is a huge salve to me. I love reading and meditating and memorizing scripture verses found in it. Spending time alone with God – journaling or praying at the beach, in my private prayer closet, outside walking/ hiking, or just sitting and observing the beauty of what God created is the best way I find rejuvenation.

One example that comes to mind is when a sister in Christ shared some tough stuff with me in such a beautiful way. She started by telling me something she admired about one of my children, and then she told me about the hard things she had gone through in her marriage. Her sharing these things first made her safe and trusted before she shared some hard news about the trouble my child was in. It was a lovely way of making me feel loved, encouraged, and safe with her.

Kathleen: What you’ve learned about making mistakes and times of failure?

Janet: I fail so often and believe it is a sweet reminder from the Lord of how much I need Him. When I fall on my face physically or blow it, I realize that nothing is beyond God. He is more than able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.

When I was a young adult pursuing a professional tennis career, it was all about my own personal glory. I had Bible verses written all over my tennis racket cover, but I actually wanted people to notice me rather than give all the glory to God. I felt that I was a failure if I failed to become the world’s number one ranked player. When I blew out my shoulder in the Australian Open, it was actually God’s grace that brought me to my knees and got my attention back on Him.

Kathleen: Today is about being an “influencer.” What’s the one thing you’ve learned about influence?

Janet: Our whole purpose is to glorify God, and we should use our gifts and talents to do just that. We need to be willing to be open and transparent with our story. When I first started writing Wake Up, I was inspired by hearing a young woman tell her story of being trafficked. I wanted to bring the whole world into that room to hear it because I thought that if everyone heard her story, they would feel like I did and want to do their part to stop trafficking. It was her courageous willingness to tell her story, a story of brokenness, that made it so powerful. As I look back, I realize that God had plans for me to walk in my own story of brokenness that would intersect with hers to create Wake Up.

Courageously sharing our brokenness with others connects us with others who are hurting. When they see joy in the midst of suffering, pain and our dependence on the Lord, it brings God glory. He turns what the enemy meant for evil to good.

An INNER VIEW with Actress, Singer and Beauty Pageant Winner, Tania Joy

An INNER VIEW with Actress, Singer and Beauty Pageant Winner, Tania Joy

BIO

Tania Joy is an actress, singer, speaker, and winner of multiple beauty competitions – Miss Teen Illinois 1993, Miss Teen America 1994, and Miss Illinois 1996. She started Beauty for Ashes and is the host of her show, The Tania Joy Show, which focuses on combating the many anti-Biblical ideals and cultural norms of today. She has dealt personally with anti-Christian attacks on her career and life and as a mom, has had her family and Christian beliefs and values targeted for sharing her viewpoints and faith. She has worked in corporate American finance, Bio-Pharma, Retail, and HR but currently travels the country speaking about what it means to be a modern-day Esther. She is passionate about preserving Christian values, political freedom, and the importance of preserving the traditional family unit.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: As a TV host and speaker, you are passionate about preserving Biblically based values, but in today’s culture, it takes courage. What has God taught you about being bold in a Babylonian world?

Tania Joy: He is good and faithful through all of life’s storms and circumstances. When He calls you, He qualifies you. You might not feel qualified when He first calls you, but never doubt that you are not placed here, at this point in history, for such a time as this. He will use the foolish things of this world to confound the things of the wise and the weak to shame the strong. Just like Esther, she had to be willing to sacrifice even her own life to follow the call that God had placed within her. She was scared, yet she prayed, fasted, and then obeyed.

I have followed Jesus since I was 3 years old, but I was not fully prepared for what would be required these days to follow the narrow road laid out before us. The cost and sacrifice to follow His Word and teaching is often a difficult choice but one that God asks of us. Yet, when we fully surrender, we step into His fullness of joy, blessing, and fulfillment like nothing we could ever imagine. We are living in biblical days, the days of Noah, the days of Esther, the days of Gideon’s army, and truly in biblical proportions. We are seeing in America, for the first time, the cost of being a Christ follower, experiencing persecution like we have never seen. But let’s not forget that He has already overcome this world. We are only passing through. This is not our forever home. We were called to occupy until He returns, so let’s love Him above all other gods and love our neighbor as ourselves. I believe this is what we must encourage each other to do in these days.

Kathleen: How have you been able to find hope when things look so bleak in our world today?

Tania: The Word instructs us in Matthew 16:24 that we are to take up our cross and follow Him; in other words, count the cost. We are called to lay down our ways, our hopes, and our thoughts and seek Him for His dreams over our lives. Sometimes, what we face on this side of heaven will not ‘feel’ as good as we would hope. Jesus told us in John 15:18 that the world hated Him first and that, as a result, if we truly follow Him, the world will hate us in return. How many Christ-followers truly understand what it means to have the world ‘hate’ you, the culture, the common world around you, the community, and the social networks – ‘hate’ you? If we choose to follow Him against all odds, regardless of how unpopular it might make us, we will suffer in this world.

I have watched my world collapse around me multiple times; the suffering is deep, long, and hard. But the Word tells me 365 times not to fear. We will suffer. The world does not like what we stand for. The way to get through the suffering is to surrender all our callings, our fleshly desires, our hopes and dreams, and everything that we think about, knowing that He will sustain us. We are to be in this world but not of this world. It is often hard to understand the suffering we see in this world, but we must remember that we are living in a fallen world. When Jesus walked this earth, He reminded us, “Be of good courage because I have overcome the world” John 15:33.

Kathleen: The world is relentless. It pushes us to our limits with 24/7 non-stop demands. How have you found rest, particularly as a TV host and with the travel you do?

Tania: The Lord has been speaking to me a lot about rest. He told me about a year ago it would be crucial to know when and how to rest in Him. We are in a spiritual battle. There are many scriptures about the battle that we are in; my favorite is Ephesians 6:12: we “are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” The only way we can battle in this way is to know how to rest in Him at the same time. The Bible talks about rest; in fact, it mentions rest 57 times. Psalms 37:7 talks about finding rest in the Lord and to wait patiently for Him. During our busy daily lives, where we are surrounded by the push of the culture, social media, and 24/7 work, we have forgotten the importance of what rest can and will do to us.

Resting is vital for our health, increases our concentration and memory, healthier immune system, reduces stress, improves our mood, and gives us a better metabolism. What does that look like? Turn off the phone and let your thoughts be on Jesus! Put your mind on Him. (Col. 3:2) Then stay there. We have become a culture that thinks our ‘rest in the Lord’ is like a Tesla charging station: plug in for 30 min and then get back on the road of life. He wants our everything. This is how we renew our minds daily. He alone will refuel us. If we do not take the time to rest, we will have nothing to give out. “For out of the abundance of being in His presence, do we have what is necessary to flow out onto others. (John 7:38)

Kathleen: You have a big following and have become an influencer. What has God taught you about being the right kind of influencer?

Tania: The definition of influence has changed for me over the years. When I was young and dreamt of being an actress/singer, I thought of fame and fortune, of lights and cameras. That definition has drastically changed in me over the years, and I am thankful that the Lord was kind to keep me on the journey of transformation in preparation for today. Influence is a very powerful thing, it can sway culture, it can transform nations, it can change hearts and minds.

Being a woman of influence means that the words I say, the places I go, the things I support, the views I have, and the beliefs that I stand for – all have the potential to impact someone else. Both good and bad. My voice can bless or curse. Therefore, it is of high value that I surrender my life daily to Jesus, that I seek His face on a regular basis and listen for His words so that when I speak, I am not just sharing my thoughts, but I am sharing what I hear Him saying to His Bride in these days. Being a woman of influence is the power to touch others with the love, truth, and power of Jesus Himself in a broken and dying world. We have a great responsibility when we have an influence of any kind.  I believe He has placed many of us on this earth, at this point in history, for a specific reason. Like Queen Esther, she was prepared for the time at which she lived and was in the kingdom. Had it been years earlier or later, her impact would have been different. Every woman on this earth right now needs to be prepared and has been called for such a time as this to set the nations free and save God’s children from being stolen by the enemy.

An INNER VIEW with Producer, Podcaster, and Production studio owner, Amber Butaud

An INNER VIEW with Producer, Podcaster, and Production studio owner, Amber Butaud

BIO

Amber Butaud is multi-talented. As an executive producer and podcast host, she uses her God-given gifts to inspire and lead others through storytelling. Amber is the founder and owner of 4 The One Studio, which is excelling the film industry in Houston, Texas, and is earning accolades from industry leaders and corporations such as The Beach Boys, Wilson, and Univision. She co-produced UP TV’s first original feature film, “The Life of Me,” and executive produced the feature film “Multiplied,” both set to release in 2024. Amber hosts the weekly video award-winning podcast “Set Life: Inspiring Stories of the Entertainment Industry,” and her passion for uplifting others extends to her production company, No Judgement Media, where she produces films, TV shows, and shorts that impact the culture. Amber’s drive for above-industry standards fuels her mission and has ignited an unstoppable ripple effect to bring meaningful change to the industry. Amber is proud to be part of the leadership team for Influence Women Houston.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: What has God recently taught you that has enlarged your faith?

Amber Butaud: God has recently taught me to trust in Him and his timing. All my life, I have been able to see the big picture of God’s vision for my life, and recently, he has been showing me one step at a time and less of the big picture. This is a new level of trust as I am not often sure where I’m going daily, but I have faith that where He is leading me is full of goodness and mercy. I remind myself that when I cannot see the hand of God, I can trust His heart. It has been a new faith journey: trusting the Lord with daily obedience. He has taught me to pray through things when my hopes and dreams don’t reflect my reality. Keep praying. Don’t stop. Keep contending. This season may be difficult, but the unknown is a place of possibility. The two promises from God and His word that I stand on are Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Proverbs 3:5-6.

Kathleen: One of the things that impresses me about your accomplishments is your ability to “just do it.” What have you learned about when to push on and when to pull back when you’re working on a project?

Amber: After a few months in the industry, I learned that there is a time to push and press in. There is also a time to be still and wait on the Lord to reveal what He wants to do through the connections I make daily. I’ve learned to ask God before all my meetings to show me what His ambitions are for the relationship, whether it be a connection, a collaboration, or that it is just a time for me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others by offering encouragement, praying for them, serving, and helping them. It has been humbling to watch God show up in the most miraculous ways through relationships He has brought my way. This has allowed me to temper the over ambitious, self-driving, achiever personality that I have been given. I surrender my own ways and ambitions by staying in the Word- the Bible and allowing His voice to reign true in my thoughts. His ways are always above my own. I love the scripture in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Kathleen: What’s a leadership lesson that changed everything for you?

Amber: A leadership lesson that truly changed how I lead was to lead from my strengths, not my weaknesses. I took an assessment and studied the teachings of Tom Rath called Strength Finders 2.0. The assessment taught me what my top five strengths were. The whole concept of his teachings is to stay focused on our strengths, and we are five times more productive when we focus on our strengths than when we are trying to fix one weakness. As I studied this, the Lord spoke very clearly and said, “What sets you apart? Is it your weaknesses or your strengths that I’ve given you?” His answer was my strengths. That’s what He has set us apart in and where His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. I learned to lead from my strengths and allow the Lord’s power to be made perfect in my weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, …“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…”

Kathleen: We influence others daily. What have you learned about influencing others?

Amber: One of the most important things I’ve learned about influence is we can either be a positive influence or a negative influencer. As women, we have the opportunity to make a positive influence in our families, communities, and even in our culture. We are often tempted to sit back and allow someone else to set the pace for the rest of society. Still, there has never been a more important time for us to lead with love and integrity; whether you have the opportunity to be a leader within your neighborhood community, family, business, or even your church, you have the potential to influence others through your words, ideas, and examples. I hope the Lord will light a fire of influence in your heart and encourage you to stand up and step out as an effective leader or influencer. Don’t wait for someone else to carry out the job. God has equipped you as an influencer, so just do it.

An INNER VIEW with Beth Townsend

An INNER VIEW with Beth Townsend

How can you wisely discern what to give your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to? It can feel like a tightrope of expectations and motivations, but Baton Rouge Chapter Director and award-winning television show host Beth Townsend makes it simple. Read this month’s INNER VIEW as she dives into what it means to find your purpose!

BIO

Beth is an author, speaker, award-winning TV show host, and purpose coach. On her own at 17 years old, Beth had no choice but to go to work. Starting as a property manager in Virginia, she climbed the corporate ladder and became a young executive working as VP of Operations for a real estate company in Atlanta. Beth kept asking one question, “How did you know your purpose?” The depth of the question led her on a spiritual journey which led her to becoming a purpose life coach, writing an award-winning book, Life on Purpose, and her award-winning TV show, Life on Purpose. “Purpose is a mindset where passion lives, faith thrives, and God’s will is accomplished in the life of every Believer.”

Beth is excited to be leading Influence Women Baton Rouge as the chapter director, which launches on January 27th. You can find out more about Beth at bethtownsend.com, where she is changing the world one story at a time!

INNER VIEW 

Kathleen Cooke: We are thrilled that you will be leading Influence Women Baton Rouge’s chapter group. Your driving focus in your life is for women to know their purpose. What’s the one thing that you want to tell women about finding their purpose?

Beth Townsend: To ask and answer this question: Who Are You? We are human beings, not human doings. If you know who you are, you’ll always know what to do. Learning to have a strong sense of identity is a learned skill based on the knowledge of who God says we are, not who we ‘feel’ we are or who others say we are. Once we dig deep into our sense of who God created us to be apart from the roles and relationships, we learn that a better me means a better we. The me affects all the we’s! A life of purpose is the result of a strong sense of self. Do you like yourself? Are you for you? God has a plan and a purpose for your life.

Kathleen: You’re constantly juggling speaking, writing, and hosting your TV show. What have you learned about prioritizing your time to make it all happen?

Beth: One of the purpose principles that I live by is to ‘know my “nots.” Many people do a little bit of a lot of things, mostly in the pursuit of trying to ‘find’ purpose, and they are afraid that they will miss that one big thing. This leads to confusion as opposed to clarity. “Where are you, God?” We will often have to say no to people to say yes to God. “No, thank you” is a complete sentence. Colossians 3:23 is quick to clear up confusion. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Before we say yes to anything, we need to honestly ask ourselves, “Will I do this for the Lord?” And with excellence? Give it all I’ve got? Otherwise, it’s a not. We are not called to mediocrity ever. Your commitments must reflect that commitment to the Lord. He gets only our best.

Kathleen: We are living more and more in a world of uncertainty. How have you learned to break through the fear and go for it?

Beth: Better voices lead to better choices. If I’m not hearing from God, I’m listening to the wrong voices. Certainly, others can add wisdom and offer encouragement. God just used to be one of the opinions that factored into my decisions, and I was about running in circles. Been there, done that, and didn’t like it. We live in a loud and noisy world where everyone has an opinion. Don’t fall for the noise. God planted within us all we need to be us. We seek Him, and then others can add. He made us and knows us, and He must be allowed to lead us. “Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” Matthew 6:33. If we don’t put our firsts first, what follows will be frustration and a lack of understanding of who God is and, therefore, who we are.

Kathleen: God tells us to go and be an influence in the world. Why is this important?

Beth: I’ve been interviewing people since 2001, many well-known. Athletes, politicians, celebrities, and ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. Not one of them ever asked for anything in return; they simply wanted to share their story for God’s glory. We can change the world, one story at a time, but we must be willing to share that story. To do that effectively in today’s soundbite world, we plan and prepare for that magical moment. How? We do what movie producers and book editors do: we edit and edit some more! Start with a defining moment, and fill in the blanks. Sharing your story starts with preparing your story. I once heard a professional editor say, “No one wants to hear your life story.” That is true, but I’ve since learned a valuable lesson on timing. “While no one wants to hear your life story, everyone wants to hear how your life story can help their life story right now today.” With the advancement of technology, we are all influencers! Be ready. Share your story for God’s glory, but take time to do so with excellence.