Our History 

1st Annual
Sensible Women Initiative Banquet

New Haven, Connecticut

October 13, 2012


"My Valley - Your Mountaintop"


Attorney Lovely A. Warren,
President, Rochester (NY) City Council

Mary E. Payne Florence
Family Services Assistant (retired)

Dr. Lovely A. Thornton
Lecturer at Towson University (MD)

Speakers shared their valley encounters in hopes of encouraging others to by-pass turns of deception and self inflicted setbacks in order to create mountaintop experiences.

The audience included young ladies as well as mature women.

Development of the Sensible Women Initiative, Inc.

The Sensible Women Concept was conceived in 1995 by Dr. Lovely A. Thornton. The example, love, encouragement, humility, kindness, tenacity, and wisdom of Dr. Thornton’s mother (the late Mrs. Margaret Felder McClary) inspired her to write the poem, “A Sensible Woman.” This poem epitomizes Mrs. McClary’s spirit and ability to transform and transcend affective capacity to others. The Sensible Women Initiative will encourage women to embrace their God-given responsibilities and to emulate the example set by the late Margaret Felder McClary. Despite setbacks, disappointments, and hardships, Mrs. McClary believed that God has provided women a level playing field with a sure path to victory. The playing field of both men and women, she believed, is located side by side with the victory goal post in the middle. True victory, according to Mrs. McClary, is achieved when respective roles are embraced and movement is towards the victory that’s attached to the post in the center.
Dr. Thornton’s husband, Minister Michael Thornton, has stated, “My wife is inspired by visionary values and virtuous volunteerism. She has ventured and vested herself in a vocal conviction to victory over victimization.” Being a true “Man of Integrity,” Minister Thornton’s conviction, faith, and spiritual insight has propelled Dr. Thornton to a level of spiritual consciousness that feeds her tenacity. In addition to Minister Thornton, Dr. Thornton’s sons - Michael Jason, Marcus Justin, and Mikale Joshua - along with her father, the late Mr. Cecil McClary Sr., and brothers - Cecil Jr., James, Willie, Haze Sr., - and twelve nephews have given her a keen insight into the psyche of a man. With this knowledge, Dr. Thornton has wrapped herself in humility and has committed herself to bring more understanding to the perennial struggle that has developed between men and women.
With unshakeable faith, Dr. Thornton maintains the philosophy presented in the three paragraphs below:
She believes that a sensible path can be forged to restore dignity, pride, honor and respect to the state of woman and motherhood. She believes that a sensible woman’s touch is powerful and far reaching. It has the ability to create hope and develop mental stamina, emotional stability, and spiritual insight in a household absent of financial wealth. A sensible woman’s touch is capable of maintaining love, common sense, and unconditional positive regards in an environment where wealth dictates worth. Its effectiveness is powerful enough to reach from a poor house to the White House. A sensible woman’s strength stands respectfully in the midst of chaos. It positively dismantles confusion as it touches the mind of reason and bends it towards compassion. To this end, the Sensible Women Initiative strives to touch the minds of every human being who will stop, read, and think. In so doing, we venture to say that one will conclude that it makes plenty of sense for a woman to be sensible.
A sensible woman’s inner spirit guides her through her valley of despair. The sharp cutting rocks of hardship that protrude out of the sides of the two plateaus that encapsulate her valley sharpen her determination to make a positive difference when she reaches her mountaintop. She understands that a woman possessing academic astuteness absent of sensibleness has the potential of self-destructing. Therefore, a sensible woman’s disposition and mere presence demands respect. When she is in the midst of men, her personality radiates like a beam from heaven. Men stand in awe of her humility and sagacity. There is no need for her to concern herself with cracking the glass ceiling because men will crack it for her. Men love to be in the presence of a sensible woman because of her ability to create an atmosphere of peace and solace. They respect her refusal to compromise her principles in order to gain notoriety. Her sensibileness squeezes the air out of non-sense.
A sensible woman understands that sensibileness is a simple concept, but its practicality is a difficult skill to acquire. The Sensible Women Initiative (SWI) embraces this challenge. SWI believes wholeheartedly in the power of common sense and unity. The perpetuation of these beliefs will be entrusted to the Sensible Women Advisory Board. This board is a compilation of women (representing various regions in the United States) who are committed to the overall success and stability of girls, women, and the family. Each board member has unique talents, skills, and abilities.
With the backdrop of her mother’s life in mind, her personal beliefs stated above, and her desire to make a positive difference in the lives of young women, Dr. Thornton allowed herself time to devise a plan for creating a non-profit women’s organization. She did her research on developing organizations; attended numerous professional and grassroots events dealing with women’s issues; and sought out other people who would possibly join her in creating a new organization.

In October 2012, her dream of starting an organization became a reality. With the enthusiastic support of women from New Haven, Connecticut, Rochester, New York, and others areas, Dr. Thornton launched the “Sensible Women Initiative” at a Banquet held for this express purpose. The launch was a great success, much interest was kindled in attendees, and all wanted to see the organization continue to grow.
During the 2013 year, the Sensible Women Initiative developed in several significant ways: Its membership expanded; it successfully become a non-profit faith-based corporation; and it began the process of becoming a 501 (c)(3) federal tax exempt organization.  

The SWI held its 1st Annual Sensible Women Initiative Board of Directors/Advisors Meeting in Chicago, Illinois on June 14-16, 2013.  The Chicago meeting was slated to further document the existence of the Sensible Women Initiative, Inc., formalize its organizational structure, cement its programmatic focus, and bring together a group of likeminded women from all over the United States who believe that “sensibleness is capable of squeezing the air out of non-sense!”
The contributions of the directors who were present at the Chicago meeting were greatly valued and appreciated by all concerned. The SWI continued to work diligently to build on these contributions and move forward as an organization that will be stronger, wiser, well staffed, and equipped to meet the challenges before it.
During the 2014 year, the SWI secured its trademark logo, completed and filed it application for gaining its 501 (c) (3) – federal tax exempt status, and begun the formation of its first chapter (Alpha Chapter) in Rochester, New York.   It also continued its work in developing the SWI Curriculum; reviewed its constitution; further defined the responsibilities and services of its officers, directors, and committees; completed the SWI Standards and Procedures Manual; and updated its website. In addition, the SWI brought on board several well qualified directors who have expressed a willingness to join the organization in working with dedication, cooperation, professionalism, perseverance, and patience.
The 2nd Annual Board of Directors/Advisors Meeting was be held in Baltimore, Maryland on July 11-13, 2014.   In a statement provide by Dr. Lovely Thornton, SWI President, she proclaimed: “SWI will stay the course, work through setbacks, and assist in providing a positive, sensible path for young ladies to follow. Our vision is clear, our mission is obtainable, and our goals are reachable. SWI will change lives!”
Following the Baltimore meeting, the SWI continued its organizational and developmental process.  It began refining its procedures for establishing SWI chapters and making plans to establish its second chapter (Beta Chapter) at Towson University in Towson, Maryland.   In late August, it received notice that it had been accepted as a "Public Charity Organization" and was certified as a 501 (c) (3) federal tax exempt entity.  It was also informed that its effective date of federal exemption was March 13, 2013.  Thus, contributions made to the organization on this date and thereafter can be claimed as tax exempt donations when filing one's Federal Income Taxes.
The 3rd Annual Board of Directors/Advisory Board Business Meeting was held in Columbia, South Carolina on July 9-13, 2015.
The 4th Annual Board of Directors/Advisory Board Business Meeting was held in Rochester, New York on July 13-17, 2016.

The 5th Annual Board of Directors/Advisory Board Meeting was held in Hanover, Maryland on July 20-24, 2017.

Sensible Women Initiative
3rd Annual Business Meeting

Columbia, South Carolina

July 9-13, 2015


"Expanding Our Horizons"

Sensible Women Initiative
4th Annual Business Meeting

Rochester, New York

July 13-17, 2016


"The Wind Beneath My Wings"

Sensible Women Initiative
1st Annual Business Meeting

Chicago, Illinois

June 13-15, 2013


"Marching Forward"

Sensible Women Initiative
2nd Annual Business Meeting

Baltimore, Maryland

July 11-13, 2014


"Staying the Course"

Sensible Women Initiative
5th Annual Business Meeting

Hanover, Maryland

July 20-24, 2017


     "Surveying Our Past -

                           Charting Our Future"