What is your profession? While my title is Vice President of Human Resources & Communications at MWV, my profession is truly people. I have a wonderful job that allows me to focus on who people really are, what motivates them, and where they can be best positioned to do amazing things.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? My personal life is focused on my family and friends. I have two children, ages 9 and 12, who keep me running around town with all of their activities. The best part of the day is the conversations we have around the dinner table. I try to hold that time sacred during the week as it is where I learn the most about what is going on in their worlds.
How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I’ve been a member of C4W for 5 years.
What inspired you to become a member? I had lived in Charleston for about 4 years and realized I hadn’t done a great job of networking professionally. One of my co-workers set up a meet and greet with C4W and after seeing the results of their actions, I was hooked.
What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? At MWV we continue to drive strong engagement with the women in our organization. We created a Women’s Network several years ago, and C4W is one of the local organizations we encourage our employees to get connected with. Regardless of experience (or title for that matter) we all have something substantial to share with others. I like that C4W is the type of organization that provides a ‘hand up’ versus a ‘hand out,’ meaning they build skills that can be applied in so many areas of our lives.
How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? For the past 10 years I’ve been the only female member of our senior leadership team. It’s been rewarding, challenging and very educational working with the dynamic group of men on my team. We’ve learned a lot from each other. It took me a while to take the position seriously, meaning to understand the breadth of my responsibility to ensure women in our organization get the right level of recognition, development opportunities, and quite frankly time in front of senior leaders. I’ve learned that women network differently than men. We have a smaller number of relationships that are deep. Men have more relationships but often times lack the depth. They are therefore better networked given they know more people. I encourage women in our organization to build more networks; to sit at the table in meetings and by all means have a voice. I’ve challenged women to stretch and take risks. As a result I’ve had the honor of seeing them do amazing things, both personally and professionally.
What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? The important thing to remember is this: The only thing that gets in your way is yourself. So many of us can make an exhaustive list of why we can’t do something. I myself can come up with the best excuses of anyone. As women we have a bad habit of getting in our own way, over and over again. As yourself the question “why not?” Then challenge every single answer you come up with. Force yourself to, as Nike would say, just do it. Take the risk. Make the effort. Don’t worry about failing. If we can figure out how to get out of our own way, it’s amazing to see what we can achieve.
How can people connect with you?
Cynthia.firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-740-2017.