C4W Member Profile: Sarah McLeod

November 18, 2013

rsz_1dscn4048What is your profession and how long have you been in that profession?
Independent Insurance Agent. 6 months

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  

Being outdoors, spending time with husband, family, friends, and my two dogs (Raleigh and Bronco), playing and watching sports, sewing/redecorating my house, reading, thrift shopping!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women?

Brand New Member

What inspired you to become a member?

I just moved back to Charleston and wanted to meet other professional women in the area!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?

It has been great so far and I have been inspired to work harder and help more people!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?

I embrace being a woman and try to use my knowledge to succeed.

What woman (living or past) do you find most inspiring?

Ellen DeGeneres for her philanthropies and for the ability to laugh that she brings to so many people.

If you could have one super power what would it be?

To go invisible!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?

Never give up, smile, and hold your head high.  When bad days come or the road gets rough always remember this too shall pass!

Women from History: The Grimke Sisters

November 7, 2013

Angelina and Sarah Grimke

Some of the first advocates of women’s rights and the abolition of slavery were two sisters from Charleston, South Carolina, Sarah Grimke (1792-1873) and Angelina Grimke (1805-1879). The Grimke sisters were “raised in the cradle of slavery” and were the daughters of a wealthy plantation owner, Judge John Fauchereaud Grimke. Even though the girls grew up with the privilege and comfort of their aristocratic life, they grew to despise the institutions they were so much a part of: slavery and patriarchal societies that oppress women. As young girls, the sisters taught their slaves to read, something that was highly punishable not only on the plantations, but by law.

Sarah accompanied her father to Philadelphia in 1819, and it was there that she encountered the Society of Friends, or Quakers. The Quaker’s view on equality of the sexes and antislavery resonated with Sarah, and she eventually converted to Quakerism, and Angelina later on. The Grimke sisters moved to Philadelphia, and that move gave them the motivation and confidence to know, that as women, they could make a difference and have their voices heard.

appeal to the christian women

A copy of Angelina Grimke’s pamphlet, “Appeal to the Christian Women of the South”

Angelina published a pamphlet called “Appeal to the Christian Women of the South”. This document was directed at Southern, white women, and it was a call to arms to help end the institution of slavery. The pamphlet was burned and criticized in many areas of the South in opposition to the Grimke sisters’ message. Sarah and Angelina began a speaking tour of over 67 cities, mostly in the North, which was “unheard of women of the time… Angelina’s last speech of the tour, to the Massachusetts Legislature, made her the first woman in American history to speak in front of a legislative body”. Sarah and Angelina’s involvement and fervor on the subjects of abolition and  women’s right lead to a lot of “condemnation from religious leaders and traditionalists who did not believe that it was a woman’s place to speak in public”.

These groundbreaking women helped pave the way for future abolitionist and women’s rights activism. They broke from their privileged, plantation life and linked the struggles of women and slaves in order to create the hope for an equal and progressive future, free of oppression.




C4W Member Profile: Christina Mikolajcik-Edles

November 6, 2013

christinaWhat is your profession?

Esthetician, Master Sugarist, Business Owner

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?
Traveling, driving my car, organizing things, thinking, quiet, creating a good meal, yoga, making life an adventure

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women?
Brand New

What inspired you to become a member?
To support a great organization, connect, encourage other women and to find other women to appreciate

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?
We’re brand new but already see the benefit of connecting with like-minded women in our community

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?
It has given me an immense appreciation for the challenges women faced many years before me and what they accomplished in the face of adversity. “The picture” looks very different now but unfortunately there are still major stumbling blocks, particularly the negative social stigma regarding women in professional roles. I like to challenge that stigma with the strength that comes from success.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?

If something doesn’t work I don’t consider it a failure I simply begin looking for another way to accomplish the task. Think of what a defeatist might do and do the opposite. Find a mentor and keep a list of things that inspire you. Don’t make your primary goal making money, make it about establishing and maintaining opportunities and connections—the money will come.  Do what you love for a living. Then it is not just work. Ask for help when you need it.  Think before reacting. Work with compassion and without presumption. Some of the most intense struggles of my life have blossomed into beautiful gardens and blessings.

How can people connect with you?

Walk at a fast pace beside me.  To find out where I’ll be, email me at Christina@mysweet185.com

Ellen Pence, Ph.D.

October 11, 2013

The Pioneer for the Battered Women’s Movement
April 15 1948- January 6, 2012

ellenpenceEllen Pence, one of the most important pioneer for the women’s battered movement, began her activism in the 1960s with the antiwar, civil rights, feminist, and housing movements. By 1975, she became highly active in the battered women’s movement, and for the remainder of her life, that’s where she devoted her activism.

She began her work in her home state of Minnesota, where she worked as an advocate for battered women’s shelters. Through that work, she and a group of fellow activists organized the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, commonly known as the “Duluth Model” (named after their location, Duluth, MN).

Prior to the creation of the Duluth Model, “arrests for domestic assaults rarely took place, cases were unlikely to be prosecuted, and there were few consequences for violent offenders. While Pence supported the safety shelters provided, she knew they were just band aids”. Pence and her supporters faced many obstacles from institutional forces, because the issues at hand were so deeply embedded in the culture, and many believed there was not a lot one could change because domestic assault cases are “unlike other criminal behavior” and “they argued that the personal nature of an intimate relationship made it difficult to intervene, unless the injuries were egregious. They claimed that domestic assault victims were different—these women were uncooperative and they recant. These same detractors added that battered women frequently provoked their abusive partner in what they called “domestic disputes””.

Pence did not allow the opposition to stop her cause. She visited countless women in hospitals and battered women’s shelters whose faces were split open from boyfriends, raped by husbands, and strangled into unconsciousness. She knew these women did not have to be subjected to this violence and fear, especially from loved ones, and she knew it could change with the intervention of the state and government.

Pence created the Duluth model to accomplish many things dealing with battered women. Some of its functions include:

  • Interventions of offenders
  • Power of the state (arrests and prosecution)
  • Monitoring offenders probation
  • Counseling
  • Emergency housing, restraining orders, and information on safety for victims
  • Community response
  • Protecting children involved

The Power and Control Wheel- now translated into over 40 languages, illustrates the dynamics of violence and abusive relationships, versus non-violence and equality.

With everything set up by Pence and the other activists, there was finally a system in place in America to properly deal with domestic abuse, and “the most remarkable thing about the Duluth Model is that it works. It makes safety for women and their children, gives some men the incentive to change their behavior, and identifies others who pose a continuing threat to women, law enforcement, and the community.” Even though Pence believed that the criminal justice system was essential to holding the offenders of domestic violence accountable, she was also aware that there needed to be an institutional change dealing with “imprisonment that often disproportionately affected men of color”.

In 2007, Pence and colleagues compiled a plan that was composed of 30 years of their research and work with battered women. The plan they came up with was the Blueprint of Safety, or as Pence called it “the Duluth Model on steroids”. The Blueprint of Safety was established based on six principles, and its aim was to protect a woman from the risk of death within domestic violence. In 1998, she also became the executive director of the Praxis International, an organization founded by Pence to eliminate violence against women.

Pence worked up until her death. On January 6, 2012, Pence lost her battle with breast cancer and passed away, but she has left lasting models and a copious amount of work and knowledge that will continue to fight for her cause.


C4W Member Profile: Sharon Becker, LISW, ACSW

October 2, 2013

What is your profession? Therapist, Private Practice

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  Activities Outdoors – hiking, biking, running, beach and bridge walks, Reading, Cooking

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Twenty years

What inspired you to become a member? Wanted to take advantage of the many interesting, useful workshops, meeting other women with similar goals and ambitions.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? It has been inspiring, educational and has served to connect me with other women in business.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? It has enabled me to nurture my spirit and embrace my unique role as the mother of “boys”. What comes from the heart goes to the heart of others.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Define your own parameters for success, Go with the flow and always have faith. Remember that what we get can be different than what we thought we wanted and this becomes a true blessing. 

How can people connect with you? Email me at beckersj@comcast.net or call my office at 843-884-0887.


September 25, 2013

swampsWherever you live, you are working and establishing relationships with people, doesn’t matter to which culture you belong, everybody knows simple things like what it is to wake up in the morning and look forward to your day…like human beings. This is the basic issue.

Now I belong to the group of legal immigrants that came to the United States. I became part of….I acquired a new culture and way of life of this human society: the United States, a nation rich in diversity and with one of the most fluid, complex and democratic culture in the world.  My challenge is not only to recognize the cultural practices, also to change many of my own. I want to be able to effectively function and communicate with this culture.

To start a new life includes learning about the job market and competition, knowing about the economy of the country and, in this case, the United Sates is a country with abundant natural resources, a well- developed infrastructure, and high productivity. But when you think about what an ideal community would look like, you are faced with reality. Societies around the world are growing at different rates, unequal, which is one of the biggest social, economic and political challenges of our time, and the United States is no exception.

Diminishing inequality will reduce poverty. Inequality differs widely around the planet and the definitions of the poverty line may vary significantly among nations. An example of this is the United States, a rich country applying “generous” standards of poverty versus Colombia in South America, my mother’s country. Poverty defined “as an economic condition of lacking both money and basic necessities needed to successfully live, such as food, water, education, healthcare, and shelter”([i]).

To make a comparison between these both nations, I selected the perspective of the population living below the national poverty line by The World Fact book. The poverty line is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a given country.

– United States 15.1% (2010 est.)
– Colombia 34.1% (2011 est.)

As I mentioned the poverty line is significantly higher in developed countries than in developing countries ([ii]). For example, in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia a family of 4 people and with a Household annual Income of $23,550 is considered Poverty. A worker that earns the minimum wage per month in Colombia- South America will receive monthly a total of $660 thousand pesos, with an exchange rate per dollar of $1.919,54 pesos, in dollars is an amount of $343.83 dollars and the situation could be that only one person works at home.

If we analyze local data, in Charleston County, 16.8% of the population is below poverty level and the unemployment rate 8.1 %.( United States Census of Bureau). However population can change due to births, deaths or migration and this last one is very difficult to estimate especially since many of them are in an illegal situation. For this reason, the problem could be worst and “be under the rug”.

The goal is to have a prosperous and competitive economy in our County and in order to progress and to compete. South Carolina needs to be culturally competent with international educational standards, especially in language standards, ready for a global economy. Education is a condition for building and supporting a strong economy that delivers higher wages and higher profits. As a seaport Charleston is connected to the world.

LBM pic_ modifiedLupe Barragan-Moser is a BA Communications with a MBA- Development projects with 15+ years of experience in the areas of Internal/External Communications and projects manager in the non profit sector. She’s a mother of two children 22 and 27 years old, the smallest  in the family of three sisters and still has her mother alive. She grew up in a women sight world in Barranquilla, Colombia. She shares her life of the last 4 years with her husband.  Love was the reason to come to life in Charleston and she enjoys it tremendously … river, sea , sun and beautiful smiling face people.


[ii] Hagenaars, Aldi & de Vos, Klaas The Definition and Measurement of Poverty. Journal of Human Resources, 1988)(Hagenaars, Aldi & van Praag, Bernard A Synthesis of Poverty Line Definitions. Review of Income and Wealth, 1985.

C4W Member Profile: Elizabeth Beasley

September 11, 2013


What is your profession? I do a little of this & a little of that, but mostly I’m a writer and marketer. My day job is Creative Strategist and Copywriter for Kaleidoscope Youth & Family Marketing. On nights and weekends I manage marketing/social media for DuMore Improv and I write freelance articles for ApartmentGuide.com.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? I do love writing, so I’ve been trying to expand those skills into writing poetry or songs. But that’s hard. So sometimes I just like to drink wine and think about writing poetry or songs.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? This is my 2nd year of membership!

What inspired you to become a member? I moved to Charleston in July 2012 and thought it would be a great way to meet other smart business ladies and make new friends.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? Mission accomplished – I met smart business lady friends!! Honestly, C4W has given me a great group to network with and awesome professional development classes. And that Be Brave Bash in August – so fun!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? It’s awesome! I get pedicures, drink wine and gab with my girlfriends. But some days I find being a single female entrepreneur can be tough. Finding financial and emotional support are the biggest obstacles. Often, you feel like you are dealing with everything on your own. That’s how C4W helps me – a great support network of like-minded women.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Never stop trying and network in the unlikeliest places. Word of mouth is the best free marketing there is, but you still need to send the right message to the right people. Hanging out with your peers doesn’t always help you meet the next client. Take a risk and hang out with a group you have nothing in common with. They might lead you down a new path to a different type of customer.

How can people connect with you? At happy hour! Or email me at iebeasley@gmail.com & we’ll plan a happy hour 🙂

Rosalind Elise Franklin

September 6, 2013

July 25, 1920- April 16, 1958
Biophysicist and a Pioneer Molecular Biologist

rosalindRosalind Franklin was not only a pioneer for women in modern science, but she is also responsible for the research done that discovered the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

Franklin attended one of the only girls’ schools in London that offered physics and chemistry. By 15, she knew she wanted to become a scientist. Franklin’s father disproved of university education for women, and wished for Franklin to pursue social work, therefore refusing to pay for her education if it meant her pursuing the sciences. With the support of her aunt and mother, she attended Newnham College and graduated in 1941. By 1945, at the age of 26, she earned her doctorate in physical chemistry from Cambridge University.

Franklin became a research associate in physicist John Randall’s laboratory at King’s College, and was given the responsibility of a DNA project by Randall that she would lead. Many male colleagues mistook her position as just a technical assistant, and dismissed her contributions, mainly on the fact that she was a woman. Between 1951 and 1953, Franklin came very close to discovering the DNA structure, but the scientists Crick and Watson beat her to publication, and therefore are credited by most for the discovery of the DNA molecule structure. Many say that Franklin deserved more credit for her contributions, and that her being a woman in a male-dominated field and working in a hostile environment towards women, kept her from achieving the praise she was and is due for.

In the summer of 1956, she became ill with ovarian cancer. She continued her work through three operations and experimental chemotherapy, and passed at the age of 37 from the cancer.



lwwwSeptember is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and nearly 70% of these women, including Rosalind Franklin, die within five years of their diagnoses. The Lowcountry Women with Wings (LWWW) program was established by Terry Scharstein, an ovarian cancer patient, in partnership with the Center for Women. LWWW provides education and support services to women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, their caregivers and families.

LWWW is one of the charities participating in Second Sunday on King Street this Sunday, September 8.  Come by for a teal wristband to help break the silence about Ovarian Cancer!

C4W Member Profile: Louisa Storen

September 4, 2013

LouisaStorenWhat is your profession? Psychotherapist

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Gardening, exercising and reading

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? 15 years and a former board member.

What inspired you to become a member? To interact with different women from various backgrounds.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I have met some good new friends and business contacts.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? As opposed to what? I love my life as a woman and love the other men and women in my life.
What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Trust in yourself, reach out to others, and be determined to succeed.

How can people connect with you? louisa@louisastoren.com or 843- 416-1103

C4W Member Profile: Sarah Swingle

August 21, 2013

Photo by Alice Keeney Photography

What is your profession? After starting my career in the advertising and Jewish non-profit fields, I decided to pursue my passion and work toward a Master’s in Animal Policy and Advocacy. I’m about halfway through my online program at Humane Society University, and upon completion of my degree, I hope to work for a national or international animal protection organization on farm animal or wildlife policy.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? I went vegan out of concern for animals in 2009, and now I write a blog called What I Vegan to show people how accessible, fun, and delicious a vegan lifestyle can be. I also love volunteering for Unchain Charleston and other organizations, watching Alabama football (Roll Tide!), reading, and hanging out with my husband and our four rescued companion animals.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I joined in July of this year, so I’m a newbie!

What inspired you to become a member? Throughout my nearly six years in Charleston, I heard of the Center for Women, met its great staff members, thought about joining, got lost in my busy life…and forgot. I received an email about the Center’s upcoming Be Brave Bash and thought it sounded fabulous. I decided I had better join right then before I got distracted! I encourage you to join right now too if you’ve been putting it off!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? In the short time I’ve been a member, the Center for Women has connected me with interesting, diverse, and empowered women. In fact, I went to lunch the other day with two new friends I met at orientation! There are many programs I’m interested in attending (Women Writers Forum and networking events particularly), so I’m looking forward to jumping in!

 How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? As a member of a gender that is affected by the glass ceiling (or should I say ‘concrete ceiling’ in South Carolina?), pay inequality, and other issues, living as a woman has made me aware of all the injustice in the world.  This awareness has given me a sense of social justice and is the main reason I am an activist for women’s rights, human rights, gay rights, civil rights, and, of course, animal rights.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? As much as possible, don’t let the economy keep you from pursuing your passions. Sacrifices made today might translate into a dream come true in the future if you set your sights high!

How can people connect with you?

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sarah-swingle/6/282/8b7/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhatIVegan

Twitter: @what_i_vegan

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