Frequently Asked Questions
Types of Events
1. What types of events does Sheila speak at?
Sheila has spoken at many different types of events. Generally she delivers the keynote address at conferences, or speaks at retreats for audiences ranging up to 1,000 people. She also speaks at outreaches or evening events at churches. Generally Sheila speaks to Christian women, but she has also given addresses at Rotary Clubs, Sorority Clubs, and parenting groups. She also speaks frequently to homeschooling organizations. Together with her husband Keith, she also teaches at marriage conferences.
2. What about US and international events?
Sheila does accept a few U.S. and international events each year, but she tries to limit them due to the stress on her family if she travels extensively frequently.
3. Will Sheila do workshops?
At this time Sheila is focusing on keynote addresses at conferences. However, she is willing to do workshops at some larger conferences. Some of her topics, especially, lend themselves better to workshops than to larger venues since they only apply to a certain group of women. Sheila would be happy to do a workshop on her book Honey, I Don’t Have a Headache Tonight, for instance. In general, though, Sheila’s board of advisors believes that it is more beneficial to speak at larger venues, since she has a limited amount of time to speak given her family commitments.
4. What topics does Sheila speak on?
Sheila speaks on a variety of topics, which you can see here. Her main focus is helping women get out of the cultural trap we often find ourselves in and figure out how to reflect Jesus in our homes, our families, and our communities. She has a passion for family, and most of her talks go in that general direction. However, she is sensitive that many women are not married and are not mothers, and strives to be as inclusive as possible when speaking to general groups.
5. I notice that most of Sheila’s books have to do with marriage or motherhood. Many of the women in our group are not married, or they no longer have children at home. Will Sheila still be relevant?
Sheila knows that women are at all different stages of life, and endeavours in her presentations to be sensitive to all. When speaking to larger groups, she tends to focus more on how we can ensure that we’re journeying towards Christ, and not away from Him, rather than focusing solely on family.
6. We have a theme for our event, and it’s not really in the list of Sheila’s topics. Will she accommodate us?
Sheila is happy to work with churches or committees who have a theme in mind for their retreat. However, due to the time involved in prayer and Bible study to prepare completely new talks, Sheila limits these types of requests. Therefore, we ask that you let Sheila know what topic you would like at the time of booking.
7. We’re happy to let Sheila pray about it and choose the topic herself. Is that okay?
Sheila is happy to give groups a shorter list of topics after hearing about the group’s demographics and recent activities. However, she would prefer that the event organizers choose the topic, since they are more familiar with the audience and know what they would like more.
8. What are Sheila’s fees?
Sheila’s fees are set depending upon the type of event and the distance she has to travel. If you would like to know specifics, you can fill out her booking form and someone will get back to you so that you can discuss fees. Her fees are set taking into account the amount of preparation that goes into each event, the amount of time away from her family, and the time spent at the event. She does accept a limited number of events from churches or organizations that cannot afford her honorarium, after prayerful consideration. She also believes that her local area is part of her local ministry, and so she is more lenient in the Quinte area with her fees.
9. What other expenses are involved with Sheila speaking?
We ask that the event committee cover all of Sheila’s travel expenses, including mileage at 30 cents a km, or airfare where applicable. When an overnight stay is necessary, we ask for Sheila’s meals and hotels to be reimbursed.
10. We would like to save on expenses by having Sheila stay in a private home. Is that okay?
In general Sheila prefers to stay in hotels, especially the evening before the event. She needs quiet time to pray, reflect, and prepare, and when staying in a home often the social demands can be disruptive. If an overnight stay is necessary after an event, Sheila is happy to accommodate her sleeping arrangements as best suits the group.
11. Which airport does Sheila fly out of?
When traveling within Canada, Sheila flies out of Pearson airport in Toronto. If traveling in the United States, Sheila is happy to fly out of the Syracuse, New York airport if this saves on airfare.
12. Can we know Sheila’s other expenses before the event?
When Sheila books an event, she will send you a letter of understanding which will include her anticipated expenses, including mileage, meals and hotels. If a speaking event requires Sheila to leave the house before 7:00 a.m. in order to arrive at the venue, Sheila will request a hotel for the evening before so she won’t be too tired at the event. Because of traffic, this means that events in the Toronto or Ottawa area must start after 10:30 a.m. in order for Sheila not to need a hotel the night before.
13. We’re just a small church and we can’t really afford Sheila’s fees. Do you have any suggestions?
If you want to host a retreat for your church, one way to do it very economically is to purchase a DVD of a retreat that Sheila has given. She can supply you with a church kit for retreats, that includes the DVD, song suggestions, and discussion questions. That way you can have a great weekend away with your women at very little expense. You can email her here about that.
If you want to host an event and have her come to speak, another idea is to band together with the churches in your area and put on an event together.
14. How can we book Sheila?
Please feel free to fill out the booking form Sheila has here. Someone will get back to you within a few days to let you know that your request has been received and is being considered.
15. How far ahead do we need to book Sheila?
In general, Sheila is booking for events 12-18 months in advance, especially if you want a weekend conference. However, she does have some openings in the next little while since she was not actually planning on being in North America this year (the family was supposed to be in Kenya, but the hospital appointment her husband was pursuing was postponed a few years). If you do have an event soon, then, let her know and the board will see if you can be accommodated.
16. How does Sheila decide which speaking engagements to accept?
Sheila has a three person advisory council which meets every eight weeks to go over the speaking requests for the period 13-15 months in the future. So, for instance, in January 2008 the board will consider the requests for February-April 2009. The board prays over the requests and makes decisions based on Sheila’s commitments to her family, her writing schedule, and the direction in which they believe her ministry should go. Therefore, she can’t accept things on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you request a date 24 months in the future, for instance, it won’t actually be considered until the 14 months before the event. If this is going to be a problem for your group, please let us know.
17. We’re pursuing a number of speakers, and don’t actually know if we want to book Sheila. We just want information and to know if she’s available then. What should we do?
Please fill out a booking form and ask any questions you need to. If the event is in the next 12 months, Sheila should be able to answer whether or not she is available within a week or two, after meeting with her Board. If you want to information about her availability further in advance, she cannot commit to being available before knowing if you definitely would want her. She can, however, assist you in making your decision by pointing you to testimonials and samples, if that can be of help.
18. Can I get a sample audio or video tape of her speaking?
Sheila has some short video clips of one of her talks online, and several of some television appearances that she has done. Shortly you will be able to download some of her talks to listen to. Due to the volume of requests, we can’t send out DVDs and tapes to every group. However, if you really need one to take to a committee, contact Sheila and we will see what we can do.
19. What if I don’t know the exact date of the event yet?
If you aren’t sure of the exact date, you can submit a range, such as April 2009. The Board can then get back to you with what dates Sheila may be available, if your request is accepted.
20. Can I phone your office about a speaking request?
Sheila prefers to deal mostly with email, because she spends most days either homeschooling her daughters or writing, and finds the phone distracting. She is also much better at returning emails than phone messages! If you need to chat about topics or dates, please submit the request in email and she will try to find a time that suits both of you.
21. How soon will I know whether or not the invitation is accepted?
When we receive an invitation, we will send out an email within two days letting you know when your request is going to be considered.
22. Does Sheila accept speaking invitations on short notice?
Generally, Sheila’s schedule is set a year in advance, especially for weekend events and during the busy months of September-November and March-May. You can, however, look at her schedule here and see if she is booked for the time that you would like her, and submit an invitation then. Sometimes, though, her schedule may look empty, but that’s because she is taking a family vacation or blocking out some time to do writing. If you really want Sheila in the next few months, one good idea is to schedule events in January or February when she is generally much less busy.
23. Does Sheila require anything of the event organizers during the event?
Sheila does require a book table everywhere she speaks, since this funds her writing ministry. The book table should be at least 6 feet long, and must be positioned in a prominent place near the exit of the room for a one-time event or in a prominent area for a weekend conference. She would ask for one tablecloth for it. If a bookstore is also setting up at the event, Sheila asks that the bookstore not sell her books. Sheila would also appreciate a volunteer to help manage her table, so that she has more time to speak and pray with people after the talk.
24. What tips can you give us for planning our event?
Sheila believes that the point of an event is not to hear a wonderful talk, but to engage women so that lives are actually changed. This means that the women must “own” the talk, rather than just hear the talk. In our experience, it works best if women have several minutes after a talk to write things down, reflect, and pray. Breaking into small groups to talk about some of the material can also be beneficial, and Sheila is happy to facilitate this. If you have pens and paper available for those individuals who didn’t bring any, this will help them be able to write down important insights that God has given them.
25. Can I meet with Sheila prior to our event?
Due to the heavy demand on Sheila’s schedule, she prefers not to meet prior to an event. If this is necessary, she will consider it, but her fees will increase.
26. We want to have this event as an outreach and don’t want it to be too preachy. Is Sheila okay with that?
Sheila is happy to accommodate groups like this—in fact, this is one of her favourite things to do! Sheila can present biblical truths without using overtly biblical language, to make them easily accessible.
27. We want the presentation to have a gospel message. Is that okay?
Sheila is happy to add a gospel message to any of her talks. However, before doing this she would want to talk with the organizers by phone to understand exactly how they see this being done. One of the problems in women’s ministry is that people’s ideas of “outreaches” are different. If some women hear an event will be an outreach, they may assume there won’t be a lot of God language and bring a ton of friends. Then, if there is a gospel message, they may feel very uncomfortable. Other groups are looking specifically for a gospel message. Think of things on an A-B-C scale: A events get people in the door. B events introduce the need for Jesus. C events give a gospel message. Often women need to be invited to A and B events before they will be open to a C event. Sheila is happy to do any of these types of events, but requests that the group organizers make it very clear to the women from their organization which type of event this will be, so that they are aware of it before asking friends. It’s Sheila’s deepest desire to see women come to know Jesus, but she believes this must be done strategically so as not to offend where unnecessary.
28. Will Sheila make song suggestions and other suggestions for our event?
In general, Sheila prefers that the event organizers do most of the planning, and then she is happy to adapt to what they have done. When she does accept an invitation, she can send a list of contemporary songs that she believes go well with the talks. However, these are suggestions only, since the event organizers are the ones who know what kind of music people are familiar with and comfortable with.
29. Can Sheila send an outline of her talk?
Due to heavy demands on her time, Sheila can’t send a complete outline of each talk that she is going to give. She can, however, provide the event organizers with the Scripture references around which the talk is built, along with song suggestions.
30. We’ve already had Sheila speak and we’d like to have her again. How do we find out what her new talks are?
To keep in touch with Sheila and hear what new messages God is giving her, you can sign up for her women’s ministry newsletter (click here for Canada and here for the United States).
31. I don’t want to book Sheila; I just want to know if she’s ever going to speak in my area so that I can come hear her. How can I do that?
The easiest way is to sign up for one of her newsletters, which will list her upcoming speaking engagements.