C4W Member Profile: Leize Gaillard

What is your profession? I am a professional counselor and student affairs administrator. I have a fascinating and dynamic position in Student Affairs at the College of Charleston, where I have the honor of working along side the dedicated professionals that make up the Students of Concern Committee.

Additionally, I’m happy to announce that I willl soon be launching a part-time, private counseling practice, Lowcountry Counseling, LLC, offering brief, solution-focused counseling to Charleston women.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Anyone who knows me will attest that I have a a variety of interests and hobbies!

I love to sew and I occasionally design and print invitations and stationary for friends and family. I’m a supporter of the arts and historic preservation–I am a Spoleto SCENE patron and a member of the Drayton Hall Palladian Circle Steering Committee. And I’m a dedicated dog “mom” to a beloved lab-mix, Samson.

And I love being outside! While I don’t get to do it as much as I like to, I love backpacking, particularly in the Blue Ridge of western North Carolina. In 2006, I spent several months hiking on the Appalachian Trail, completing approximately 1,470 miles of the 2,175 mile stretch.

When people hear about this, I usually get the following questions (in no particular order): How long did that take? Where did you start and finish? Who did you go with? Where did you sleep? Did you take a gun? Did you see any bears? Were you ever scared?

My responses: 4 months; Georgia to New York (stopping through NC, TN, VA, MD, WV, PA, and NJ on the way); just me, though I met wonderful other hikers along the way; in my tent and in 3-sided “shelters” that sprinkle the Trail; absolutely not, NO guns!!; yes, many bears; and, no, never scared. Ok, maybe I was scared once or twice. But that’s it.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? (I will answer this as an expansion on my answer in the last question!) Being a woman on the Appalachian Trail puts you in the distinct minority–I’m not sure of the exact statistics, but I believe that women are 1 in 10 out there. The Trail itself is a gender equalizer…that mountain doesn’t get any smaller and that rain doesn’t fall any less hard just because you are a woman. While the Trail was gender-blind, fellow hikers were not…I admit I occasionally got preferential treatment from other guys on the trail…especially after the weather turned warm and I started hiking in a skirt.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? My aunt, Barbara Hagerty, a long-time supporter of the Center for Women, gifted me a membership for Christmas in 2008 and again in 2009. It’s the gift that keeps giving! Thanks, Aunt B!

What inspired you to become a member? As a counselor, I am naturally drawn to any any organization, person, or entity who makes empowerment of others their business. True to it’s mission, the Center for Women truly helps women succeed every day, both personally and professionally.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? Just looking at the events calendar for the Center, it’s easy to see the benefits of being a member! But, for me, the impact is less tangible–being a member of the Center for Women is like toting around a little empowerment cloak that you can stop and throw on at any moment. The Center for Women undoubtedly contributes to my belief that I can accomplish anything I set out to do.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Take a risk! Be it switching careers, going back to school, starting a small business, or hiking the Appalachian Trail…Take a risk. Just make sure it is a calculated one…

So much of the benefit of a calculated risk is not taking the risk itself…it is the process and the time spent calculating the risk that moves us forward to reflect on our values, to know ourselves better, and to create a vision for our preferred futures.

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One Response to “C4W Member Profile: Leize Gaillard”

  1. The Quest for Balance « Lowcountry Women Says:

    […] When personal and professional parts of our lives are out of balance, stress can take hold. Join the Work-life Balance: Ways to restore harmony and reduce stress Empowerment Group at the C4W Mondays, September 6-27. This group is for women seeking to identify and target life stressors to restore balance and harmony in their lives. Strategies to enhance life-work balance will be explored during the four weeks. Facilitated by Leize Gaillard, LPC-I, NCC. […]

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