What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Photography, cooking (I prefer Italian for the emphasis on simplicity and freshness of ingredients and preparation that produces intricate and subtle flavors), sitting quietly on my screen porch listening to the birds in my garden in Spring.
How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I joined in 1998.
What inspired you to become a member? As a long-time “uppity woman” it seemed to me an ideal place to meet others of the same, or similar attitude. And I am a strong supporter of organizations that exist to help women define and identify opportunities that provide for self-determination and advancement. The Center’s mission to help women make a better life for ourselves, regardless of where we come from and what stripe or color we may be is enormously empowering. It rocks and I like being part of that energy and spirit.
What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? For the past 8 ½ years, since I started the Charleston Cookie Company, the networking opportunities and support offered by the Center has helped me grow my business. The Center provides invaluable assistance to women entrepreneurs.
How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? As a baby boomer and approaching 65, I have seen many changes in women’s roles and the expectations of society for women, though, I must admit, at the same time, there are situations I have encountered recently that have caused me to stop short and wonder if I’ve somehow time-warped back to the early 60s.
My first job, in 1968, was with a Fortune 500 company. Women were not allowed to wear pants to work, nor were we allowed to hold jobs that were, at that time, exclusively held by men; jobs that would allow for advancement in the company and provide a decent salary. When I applied for a sales job, I was told those positions were only open to men: the “bread-winners of the family.” It made no difference that I was a single mother and therefore the bread-winner. Fortunately, those times have mostly gone by. Now, a woman can own her own business, creating a full, exciting life for herself with minimal obstruction by gender roles and expectations.
What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Here’s a quote from an author, Tama Kieves, who writes about creating the life you want:
“Hello, my courageous friend…There’s a ticket in your bones and you know it. You know who you are meant to be. Still you insist on doubting yourself, calling it ‘realism,’ to limit yourself to powerlessness. You’d rather ‘play it safe,’ hedge your bets, trust sweetness only some of the time. But dear one, Wild Amazing Visionary people are the new safe. We are agents of invincible faculties. And we’re blazing trails of abundance…You want results? Trust your Inspired Self. It’s a presence and intelligence that dwarfs everything else.”
Don’t’ be afraid to aim high and believe in yourself. Work hard and persevere. And never, ever be afraid to ask for help. There are many willing to lend a hand and share lessons learned. That’s what the Center for Women is here for. Use it.
How can people connect with you?
My email is Judith@charlestoncookie.com
Our website is www.charlestoncookie.com
You can also friend us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/CharlestonCookieCo