As co-leaders of WOMCD, we have a clear Vision of the community we are cultivating. It is a global assemblage of individuals and teams, dedicated to being pro-active with their lives. Whether focusing on families, neighborhoods, countries or world issues, they realize that they can and do make a difference - that's the common thread.
We see our Mission as a responsibility to help people not only discover specific, unique opportunities to impact their area of focus, as only they can, but to join them in the process of manifesting their contribution. We know everyone has natural talents, and is drawn to certain interests in life. And we believe that we each have been given clues to how we might best use these talents.
Donna Lipman - I first met John Denver in NYC. I was working with him in his Windstar organization, heading up the New York group. We were busy with many wonderful environmental projects when John called a meeting of all of the Windstar connection groups around the world, which included many states across the US as well as other countries such as Japan and Australia. At this meeting, John introduced me to his friend, Terry, from Australia who was heading up the Windstar group there. We fell in love and a year later we were married. Terry moved from Australia, I moved from NYC and we happily began our life together in Aspen. We created so many wonderful things - producing John Denver's Choices for the Future Symposia where many of the greatest hearts and minds came together to inspire and motivate, directing the Earth Voices non-profit organization to celebrate, in cooperation with the City of Aspen and the United Nations Environment Programme, the world's indigenous peoples, or developing a volunteer force of 250 to support our efforts to bring Challenge Day into the Austin school system to put an end to bullying and separation among teens.
I worked for years with John and he never knew I sang! We were honored to have been invited to John's New Year's Eve/birthday party each year and on the occasion of his 50th birthday, I was asked to sing. John seemed quite surprised and, after that, I was privileged to be able to sing often with him! He was a generous and kind man who cared deeply for humanity and the earth. I loved singing with him!
For many years now I have been teaching and leading transformational workshops. I have been personally trained by NY Times Best Selling author and teacher, Debbie Ford and often thought of how I could "marry" my two passions - teaching and singing. I have found the vehicle for that in What One Man Can Do.
Peter Schroeder - As far back as I can remember, I've been singing. In the 60's, I began to play the guitar, and soon after, I started writing songs. I loved the songs of The Beatles, The Eagles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and of course, John Denver. Like daVinci transcended art, I loved how John transcended music. His interests were diverse, yet they were global in scope. I developed a theme of intentionality in my music and my writing, and I carry this theme into my part in WOMCD.
Anne Browning - In 1971 I was a very young mother living in a two bedroom walk-up in the suburbs of Chicago watching a John Denver special on a small television set with my son. My three year old and I sang along when John sang and I felt such a yearning to meet this man, talk with him, help him with the projects he spoke of and showcased on his special. Money was very tight, but I managed to buy many of John’s albums and played them again and again as my son grew, I grew and the world changed.
In 2000 I met a woman who had been friends with John Denver, sang with him and was involved with a non-for-profit that actually fostered John Denver’s many passions. That woman, Donna Lipman, would become my dear friend as she and I were hired by Debbie Ford to train her coaches. My husband and her husband became fast friends. When Terry Lipman died in June of 2009, Peter and I were devastated. We ached for our dear Donna, and our hearts longed for just one more glimpse of Terry or one more sound of his infectious laughter. He had been working on documentary of John Denver and it appeared that with his death his dream would end. I heard Terry say to me, “Lovey, we need a workshop.” I instantly saw a movement across the nations of individuals claiming the spirit they were born with, and changing our world to “make it work again,” a grass roots movement. What One Man Can Do, the movement, was born.
My experience as a writer, program administrator, counselor, coach and visionary all contributed to what has become my passion, What One Man Can Do. Donna and Peter are the talent I support, and each of us are incredibly strong leaders with a clear mission and vision. I have a heart for community, believing the world is starving for community, for connection. What One Man Can Do is a community of individuals from all walks of life, all ages, all races, all religions; what unites us is our belief in the ability of one person to make a difference and the knowledge that each individual has that ability.
I am no longer a young mom. My children have children. John Denver still sings in my ear, he is now on my iPod. I am gratefully, humbly honored to be a part of continuing his philosophies and to be working with such brilliant individuals. I thank my God daily for all that is.
Terry Lipman - In so many ways, Terry's spirit is interwoven into the fabric of this movement. Donna has put together the following for all who visit, and for all who join us...
Terry Lipman – friend, father, visionary. My darling, sweet husband of 18 years passed away suddenly on June 2, 2009. It seems just yesterday we were working together earnestly on one project or another that we believed in with all our heart. It’s one of the things I miss the most – making a difference in people’s lives, whether it be at John Denver’s Choices for the Future Symposia, Windstar, Earth Voices or Challenge Day, with a true partner.
Of course, the thing I miss most about him is his music and the passion we shared for it. Terry played the piano every day. He would sit down and just start playing when he felt moved to do so – no matter what time of the day! He would often ask me to acknowledge him for his great skill and the improvements he was making. It was so sweet and I always obliged. He liked to tell people he was my “rehearsal” pianist – and he certainly was! What a joy to be able to share something so intimate and heart-opening as music. Whenever things got difficult, we would often go to the piano and sing. How can you feel bad when you are in the middle of a song? He was also a trumpet player and would often regale me (and others) with stories of his days on cruise ships as a musician. I think he fancied himself quite the ladies man in those days! I didn’t mind encouraging him – it was such fun tongue and cheek. And, the ladies did love him!
Terry had a wicked sense of humor! Sometimes you didn’t know if he was serious or not. Those who didn’t know him well would sometimes turn to me with a puzzled look on their face. He would give me a “look” when I foiled his little plan to “shock” them. In the end, everyone always had a laugh.
A favorite memory was of him “holding court” at our big dining room table during one of our many dinner parties. He would have a plan to include each and every person in the conversation by asking a somewhat confronting question like, “Who are you?” or “What’s most important to you?” You could see some of the guests sweating it out before it was their turn. I think Terry got as much fun out of that as the answer anyone might give!
In the few years before he died, his love and passion was the documentary he wanted so much to see to completion. It was called, “What One Man Can Do,” based on the humanitarian and environmental efforts of John Denver. Terry was committed to showing the world the exceptional work John was able to accomplish in his short lifetime and to inspire and motivate others to do the same. He truly believed it didn’t matter what or how much you did to make a difference as long as you took some action! The vision Terry had was huge and, for this work and commitment, he received the John Denver Humanitarian Award in Aspen, Colorado in October, 2009.
Terry was loyal, forgiving, supportive and the most loving husband anyone could ever ask for. After he died, I would walk into a store or the bank he frequented and everyone had kind word to say about him. He knew each person by name and made sure to compliment them about something. Even when he wasn’t feeling well, he always made the effort to make others feel good.
There was never a dull moment with Terry – life with him was always an adventure! He died at 74 years of age. His son, Sam Lipman, wrote a song in his honor called, “74 Years Young” and sang it at his memorial – it is a beautiful song befitting a beautiful soul of a man. At the memorial, there were 150 people who showed up to say goodbye in 100 degree weather and on Father’s Day – I think that says a lot about the man. It seems to me that he was too young to leave this earth as he had so much more he wanted to do. He remains in my heart and the hearts of so many, including his children, Sam and Nancy.
I miss him so much but somehow know his spirit lives on. Anne Browning, Peter Schroeder and I are doing our best to honor his memory by presenting a series of concerts and gatherings inside of the What One Man Can Do concept. Terry was always so proud of me – I called him my biggest fan – and I know he would be proud now. Because of him, I feel confident to go out and continue the work we started together. I am blessed to have known him and to have been his wife.