From 2010 through 2013, COSIA has been listed as a Top-Rated Nonprofit at greatnonprofits.org. COSIA also received a finalist award for outstanding board leadership from the Volunteer Consulting Group (VCG) in 2010. To read more or to submit your own positive review, click HERE.
What COSIA Means
By Sonia LeRoia Russell
Cultivating Our Sisterhood International Association
Electing to be better and instill excellence in others and ourselves.
Color of Sisterhood in Action
Fulfillment and satisfaction
Giving back to a community that is the world in which we dwell.
Character of Sisterhood in Aspiration
Striving to be absolute in, and the epitome of, what God has ordained.
Cooperation of Sisterhood in Alignment
All in full agreement
Positive, spiritual, emotional, and physical reinforcement attained.
"COSIA is about reaching back: reaching back to pull others forward. Whatever success we've each had, there has been someone along the way to offer support. Whether we already are exactly where we want to be, or still need a little help, COSIA's mission is to provide encouragement, support, and assistance in a concrete manner through access to mentors, workshops, and the opportunity to use our skills to help each other. That is what COSIA means to me! "
Avril Roberts, attorney
"Being a part of COSIA is like having a group of supportive sisters. Before COSIA I was looking to become a part of an organization that was personable and professional. COSIA brings that extra special love and connection that I did not find in many other organizations. I have gained powerful relationships, been exposed to amazing opportunities, and I look forward to connecting with my COSIA sisters both on-line and in person. This is a great network and truly a godsend. If you are looking to grow and connect with some powerhouses who don't throw their status around but instead their passion and love for sisterhood, then this is the place to be. "
Lucinda Cross, author and professional speaker
"COSIA puts together great programs and events. The group of ladies that volunteer to run this organization is amazing and always a pleasure to deal with. I highly recommend if you live in the NYC metro area that you be a part of this organization -- it will leave you enriched and fulfilled."
Gamila Camille Baptiste, property management consultant
"I became a member of COSIA in 2009, and a board member in 2012. What I enjoy most about COSIA is that each woman is encouraged to celebrate who they are and where they are in their particular stage of life that they are in. My experience with COSIA is very unique where I find myself interacting with a diverse group of women at both a professional and personal level. This year, I attended my second COSIA retreat. My personal agenda was to remain open to possibilities. What I walked away with was so much more powerful than what I expected. Not only did I remain open to what could be, I also recognized the importance of identifying and knowing what I want."
Nicole Jones, educator
"I first heard about COSIA through another nonprofit that connects unemployed or underemployed young adults with Fortune 500 employers. I had always been intrigued about doing a women's retreat, so I signed up with the expectation that I would grow professionally and expand my network. What I did NOT expect was an abundance of personal growth; emotionally and spiritually this retreat was like a breath of fresh air. I learned so much more about myself, was empowered and humbled by the caliber of women around me, and inspired to take my life to the next level. I highly recommend this this experience and involvement in COSIA to any woman looking to join a sisterhood of dynamic, strong, and successful leaders- you will definitely not regret it."
Antonia Donato, women's leadership program participant
"It was my pleasure to share the Work/Life Balance workshop with our members and co-lead the Networking Mixer with Roselyn Barranda! Being a board member has been a wonderful experience so far and I look forward to working with our team to continue to grow and make a difference in the lives of so many powerful and gifted women."
Luz Flores Lee, life and leadership coach
"COSIA is built on empowering women to be effective and authentic. The organizational foundations of COSIA are set up to provide women with a diverse network which fosters feminine power, prosperity and connection. My kinship with COSIA was formed in their summer retreat of 2011, for which Lois Reddick asked me to lead the board of directors in a process designed to support the board members in their individual and organizational goals. My interchanges with the board members, and my experience of the retreat as a whole, allowed for important personal and professional discoveries of my own. I recommend joining COSIA. It provides satisfying connections and interactions with an enlivening, adventurous, fun, and intelligent group of women."
Hilary Ben-Ami, workshop facilitator and educator
"I joined COSIA as a housewife who was working part-time and had dreams of writing a book. Lois Reddick connected with me and invited me into a support network of women with impressive credentials and even more amazing spirits. The women of COSIA encourage and empower each other. We band together and help one another prosper. Since joining, I have contributed to their newsletter, became editor-in-chief, and then director of publications. Since then, I have completed my novel and landed an agent. My dreams became goals, and my goals became plans that came to fruition, as a result of being influenced by COSIA members and COSIA's commitment to excellence. One plants, one waters, but God gives the increase. And for me, COSIA has truly been a blessing."
Eartha Hicks, author of Love Changes
The luncheon (2010 Seattle retreat) was such an amazing experience for the staff and girls who joined me at the event. The panel (with Chanira, Cassandra, Deni, and Lucy) allowed us to hear the challenging experiences each woman has endured and how they continue to reach for their dreams. Their honesty, vulnerability, and authenticity will definitely contribute to the girls' desires to actively pursue their own dreams.
Sarah Walczyk, Powerful Voices
"Great Retreat (2009 COSIA Retreat and Annual Conference in Chester, CT)! Everyone involved in the planning did a really good job. And the speakers were wonderful as well!"
"Thank you for welcoming me to COSIA. I am looking forward to serving and contributing whenever and wherever I can. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is involved in enhancing and lifting the lives of others."
Lola Louis, founder and director, Lola Louis' Creative and Performing Arts Studio (CAPAS)
"...Women are networking, raising money to help other organizations, being active in their communities and increasing the awareness of issues that affect women everyday. COSIA helped me realize that I am a powerful, intelligent, and visionary woman who is determined to make an impact..."
Cassandra Williams, owner, Love by the Slice Baking and Catering Company
"...COSIA has been a fountain of replenishment and encouragement for me as I try to help and encourage others to write letters to those they have lost, letting them know the impact of their passing on those left behind. COSIA is where I go to make the impossible possible through positivity and idea sharing, so that I can then be able to pass it on through community building. Through COSIA I have created and grown deep-rooted friendships and revel in the shared space that exists among strong women willing to step into their (God-given) power to realize their dreams."
Deni Taveras, founder, the Afterw@rd Suicide Prevention Project
"COSIA is a unique organization where they practice what they preach. There are many organizations that I’ve come across that toss out 'sisterhood' lightly, but I have been privileged to experience the 'real thing' through ties with COSIA. Knowing Lois Reddick and her organization, I have been privileged to have a personal mentor who has empowered me in all facets of my life. She has been influential in me starting my very own organization in New Orleans after Katrina, which was featured in the COSIA newsletter. This exposure of my organization and its mission was able to touch many audiences that were beyond my reach and network. Since the release of the newsletter I have received an increase in Consciously Rebuilding e-mails, and our blog count has increased tremendously. The sense of empowerment to do more in my community stems from Lois Reddick’s ambition to create this great organization from a vision that she once had, and to see it to its fruition... Keep up the great work COSIA!"
Andrea Floyd, co-founder, Consciously Rebuilding, a Post-Katrina New Orleans Nonprofit Organization
"Cultivating Our Sisterhood International Association affords me the opportunity to network with a group of women who are diverse in ethnicity, talents, and perspectives. We are able to stand on each other's shoulders because we are successful in our careers and confident about our capabilities."
Marcia Caton, assistant dean of academic affairs
"...the April 3rd panel, Pathways to Higher Education: Women in Academia
, at the College of New Rochelle's School of Resources was one of the most positive panel experiences on which I have ever participated. The different yet complementary ways in which our academic and personal lives intertwined with one another, along with a kind of 'how-to' list that inevitably emerged, were invaluable reminders not only for the incredibly receptive audience but also to us as we continue on our paths."
Marie-Therese C. Sulit, assistant professor
"COSIA is not only a place where women can be encouraged and empowered to pursue their dreams. It is that. But it is also a place where you can meet friends and grow in those friendships, where you're accepted as you are and loved for who you are. The women of COSIA are not only intelligent, confident, aware of the world around them and willing to reach out. They are all that. But they are also funny, beautiful, entertaining, generous."
Vanya Koo, wife and scientist
"In addition to cultivating our sisterhood, COSIA is a network that helps to cultivate positive thoughts, which propel us into action and inspire us to walk in our God-given destinies. The best is yet to come."
Joanne Sutherland, PhD
"COSIA offers women a chance to nurture their dreams, and the dreams of others, by reaching out to others for advice, support and connections. You'd be amazed what can be accomplished by asking a question!"
Gail Winar, theatre arts professional
"I have participated in COSIA-sponsored events for nearly three years now and I am continually inspired by the love and wellness that is promoted vis-a-vis sisterhood. I have truly benefited from the social activities, such as bowling, salsa lessons and dining out, however, I have found equal fulfillment in supporting COSIA's benefits such as their Annual walk-a-thon, which is a fundraiser designed to help sponsor underprivileged children to attend a sleep-away camp in Seattle, WA. It is indeed an honor to assist in advancing the mission of COSIA by being in relationship with a coterie of women who share a common goal of helping those in need by leveraging a social enterprise. I wish COSIA much success and look forward to supporting future events and causes."
Nikia Robert, founder and CEO, Kindom Building Consulting
"COSIA is a non-profit organization that is striving for excellence -- not quarterly, not per event or outreach program, but on a day-to-day basis. Though I am not in the New York area to be actively involved, I have donated in the past because COSIA is truly built on the principle of unity, but more importantly on LOVE. There is love sprinkled in their newsletters, on their website, but more so in the lives of the sisters that they have unified. I have personally worked with non-profits in the past & COSIA is truly distinguished above the rest because they continue to GROW & think outside of the box. I know this because I am on the e-mail distribution list so I know first hand the magnitude of how they have served the community & how they continue. I salute all of the members, and Director Lois Reddick for changing the lives of some of the individuals that need it the most. This organization is truly unifying women across race, creed, and nationality."
Christa, sales and marketing
"Lois Reddick's vision for COSIA pays homage to the wonderful legacy established by Dr. Dorothy Heights and NCNW. There is still a great need for 21st century women to galvanize for social, economic and spiritual empowerment. COSIA is meeting that need!"
Angela Polite, actress
"In the Summer of 2005, I accompanied a group of youth from First African Methodist Episcopal Church: Bethel on a trip to Seattle where we joined Operation Longthrust Summer Youth camp. Throughout the camp I was inspired by the relationships that grew between the young women there -- united by growing faith, culture, various social activities, and community contributions. Along with the young women participating in the camp, I also pushed the boundaries of my own convictions, was challenged to develop new spiritual disciplines that reflected my convictions, and felt the power of the Holy Spirit in new and reviving ways. At the very least, the young women at camp -- who sang, danced, stepped, developed skits, taught, played, cried, laughed, and worked together -- left camp with new questions about and visions of how we might live as individuals and communities of faith in GOD."
Rev. Jennifer S. Leath, doctoral candidate
"When I went to New York, I was a high school graduate getting ready to start college in the fall of 2006. So going to a state that I had never been to was exciting and nervous at the same time. My time spent in New York was life changing because I was afforded the opportunity to meet with the president of NYU. During my time in New York, I learned a lot about the world and myself. I also realized that as a high school graduate that I have a responsibility to go out and make a change in the world and that it is up to me as a young African-American woman to make use of the time that God has blessed me. The trip to New York has affected my physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I am so thankful to God that he allowed me the opportunity to be able to go to New York. I will forever remember that trip for the rest of my life. "
Acacia Wilkins, student
"My experience at camp in Tacoma, Washington was the greatest adventure I have ever had! It was my first time riding in a plane and when I touched down I was totally unprepared for the fun I was to have ahead of me. While being there, I discovered my spiritual side and was never more in tune as a true Christian of God. It was like a never ceasing party for Christ! It was awesome!"
Barry Paige, student