our roots

While our organization continues to grow, we remain committed to the guiding purpose & values set by our foundress, Virginia Gilmore, in 2002.

From our foundress: Ginny Gilmore

“Servant leadership is vitally important work for stronger communities and a more caring world.”


As foundress of Sophia, it is a privilege to welcome you to this website as a way to learn more about this organization and it’s learning programs that can change your life! By your visit to this website, it’s clear you have an interest in living a life that is meaningful and reflective of what you care about most.

By working with very dedicated and gifted people for 15+ years to form Sophia’s vision, mission, values and operating principles, I developed confidence in those roots as a strong foundation of wisdom for those in Sophia leadership today. This confidence supported my decision to complete my time as President and Board member of Sophia in 2016 – asking the current leadership to move the organization and its vitally important work forward in ways they create to best serve caring individuals, families, and communities.

Every next level of your life will demand a different you.

It is now my great privilege and honor to serve Sophia as a wisdom leader and advisor, along with many other very gifted colleagues around the country who continue to learn, grow and inspire one another. Sophia gives us the opportunity to share our networks and participate in a continued dialogue that supports best practices of leadership in ways that reflect our most impactful learning in our work and in our lives.

I am very grateful to have founded Sophia, and even more grateful for those who are now so courageously taking it forward. I encourage you to find out more about what this organization is offering to you, and sign up for some of the most important learning of your life through one of Sophia’s outstanding programs.

I can promise you…

Sophia will make a difference for you in more ways than you may now imagine! You will be taking one of the best steps you can to participate in creating caring community wherever you may live and serve.

Love & hope to all,

Sophia Foundress authors book: Wisdom from the Woods
WFTW book Cover

Wisdom from the Woods co-authored by Virginia Gilmore

From the time she was a young girl, Ginny, loved playing and dreaming in a treehouse located in the woods of her childhood home in Chilton, Wisconsin. It was here that Ginny would turn to nature for healing and connect with her heart through writing.

When faced with a time of great change as an adult, Ginny once again turned to the nurturing lure of the woods for reflection, healing, and guidance through the reconnection with the wisdom in her own heart. The wisdom of the woods inspired her to pursue a degree in Spirituality and Leadership and participate in many influential learning opportunities, which influenced her to co-found three organizations: The Center for Spirituality and Leadership at Marian University, The Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund, and the Sophia Foundation, now named Sophia Transformative Leadership Partners.

In 2020, Ginny and co-author, Duane Trammell, published Wisdom from the Woods, Navigating Life’s Unexpected Challenges.  In addition to supporting the book through various learning-community programs, Ginny continues to learn, write, facilitate, mentor and support others in their journey and their work. She especially treasures spending time with her husband, Jim, and her family, including her four grandchildren.

Learn more and read a chapter.

Learn more about Sophia