January 5, 2021
In Linda’s book Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free, she discusses what it was like as an Evangelical girl growing up in purity culture and the effect it had on her sexuality. The book also highlights the countless other women who she interviewed nationwide on the same topic. Whenever I do workshops within a church community, I recommend this excellent book which mirrors so many stories of women who grew up in religious communities in the 90s. In this podcast, we discuss her work as the founder and president of the nonprofit, Break Free Together and her work as a personal coach dedicated to helping people release shame and claim their whole selves. She is changing lives and I am so happy to have spent our time together.
Linda’s work was born out of her 15 years of research on religious trauma around sex and gender, documented in her award-winning book. Linda’s work has been featured by CBS, NBC, NPR (her interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross having been named one of the top ten of the year), and over 150 other outlets, and she has been highlighted on the TEDx stage, and at The Apollo’s Women of the World Festival, the 92Y SHE Summit, and over 100 other venues.
Linda is also teaching faculty at Claremont Lincoln University and consults with organizations and individuals committed to doing good. Previously, she was the founding director of Echoing Green’s multi-award-winning Work on Purpose program. The program’s leadership development curriculum on how to find and follow your purpose was adopted by over 200 colleges/universities, nonprofits and corporations and has impacted tens of thousands of emerging professionals. Prior to this, she led Moving Millions, propelling what was then a $181-million campaign for large-scale investment in women and girls into the global community of 100+ donor-activists committed that it is today, and held other roles within academia and the women’s funding movement.
Linda has contributed to several publications, and authored two successful curricula and training programs. She was awarded the NYU Reynolds Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship for her work on religiously-rooted sexual shame in 2006. She later became a judge for the Forbes 30 Under 30 faith-based initiative, and the Echoing Green, AshokaU, and NYU Reynolds social entrepreneurship fellowship competitions. She is chair of the Board for the Forum for Theological Exploration board, and sits on the advisory boards of Feminist.com’s Our Inner Lives initiative and New York University’s Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership.
Linda holds an interdisciplinary Masters degree in gender studies, religious studies, oral history, nonfiction writing, and art as social change from NYU and is a trained Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education facilitator. A Midwesterner at heart, Linda lives in New York City with her family. She is the wife of a writer and social change agent who inspires her every day, and the “bonus mom” to a very cool teenager.
Learn more about Linda at Break Free Together and follow her on Instagram.