GLS21 Empowers Trafficking Survivor in Her Leadership
The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) brings people together from a wide variety of backgrounds, including not only business, church and nonprofit leaders, but also survivors of trafficking (among many others). With an audience focused on a desire to see positive change within their sphere of influence, the Summit brings people together to be equipped and inspired with leadership insights to help them thrive personally and professionally. Sharee Land is one of those leaders.
After praying for an opportunity to learn and grow in her leadership, Sharee’s prayers were answered when she was gifted a ticket to attend The Global Leadership Summit for the first time in 2021. “It was not only an investment in myself to become a better leader and person, but also an investment in my team and future,” said Sharee. “You can’t afford not to attend—you will not leave the same!”
Sharee Land is the executive director of Dignity in Grace, a nonprofit she founded to help women transitioning out of prison by equipping them with counseling as well as resources to find employment. Having personally experienced her own journey with trauma, abuse and 26 years of being trafficked, her heart beats to serve these women and remind them of their value. “I used to be one of these women,” said Sharee. “Coming out of that life, I struggled with mental health issues—two years into my recovery, I almost took my life because I did not know how to be or fit in. But with the help of amazing doctors and counselors, and meeting my amazing husband, I have gone on to live a beautiful life. My life is so different today. Never in a million years did I ever think God could bless me with this beautiful life and an opportunity to serve women like me.”
The Turning Point to Give Back
On a new path and in a loving marriage, Sharee began to heal. And it was during this journey where she realized she wanted to give back to women like her.
“Going through my own healing process, I began thinking about so many other women with similar experiences, struggling with the trauma from their past,” said Sharee. “I thought about how many of them don’t have the resources for healing that I was so blessed to receive. I realized God did not give me this beautiful life just for me. So, I told my husband we must go back—we must help these women. And that is how our nonprofit Dignity in Grace began.”
Through Dignity in Grace, Sharee supports women suffering with mental health issues. Through their new shop called Boutique West, they are also able to provide employment resources. Sharee also volunteers in her local women’s prison where they host a fashion show with incarcerated women as the models. “All the local businesses come!” said Sharee. “My girlfriend owns a very well-known salon in Oklahoma City, and her hairdressers and makeup artists come for a day of pampering. Each model has her own outfit designed for her which she gets to keep! Employment agencies also come out and we do on site job fair for the women who are about to be released. Then that evening we have our fashion show, and we celebrate these women because we want them to know they matter and their voice matters.”
“I love going to Mabel Bassett women’s prison,” said Sharee. “I get to be a part and teach year-long through the Prison Fellowship Academy. I love these women so much. I feel so honored to be with them. I love seeing them realize that no matter their past and what they have done, they have worth, value and they do matter.”
Empowered for the Journey Ahead
During the GLS in 2021, Sharee was particularly impacted by Rebecca Bender’s story about escaping trafficking and using her experiences to now serve and empower survivors with a new future. “I was so moved by her story and the reminder that my leadership matters,” said Sharee. “Because of my past and now running a ministry, people can still make me feel like I don’t belong, like I don’t have enough experience or education. So, starting this ministry has been a challenge. But hearing stories like Rebecca’s and talks from Jamie Kern Lima and Richard Montañez reminded me of God’s truth about who I am and what God has called me to do. I was so encouraged.”
I realized my position of leadership is an opportunity to empower and equip others.
“Through the Summit, I realized my position of leadership is an opportunity to empower and equip others—to take risks, to learn, not give up and to endure uncertainty and chaos because God uses it all for growth.”
“I have taken my past and instead of letting it destroy me, I’ve used it to empower and help others, reminding them they are not alone, that they can do this. I am living my dream every day,” said Sharee. “I now have a home. I belong. I am safe and I have some of the most beautiful relationships. I have the ability to believe in myself and believe what God says about me—above all the voices and opinions, I’ve learned to be still and here His voice above all others.”