Archive for November, 2010

Pacesetter – Doretha Walker

November 23, 2010

Every month Traxee features one extraordinary member who exemplifies the spirit of women’s running and of giving back to the community. This month they featured our very own C4W Board President, the amazing Ms. Walker – triathlete and founder of the Walker Phenomenal Spirit Award…

Doretha Walker
Age: 49
Home: Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Years she’s been running: 25

Average weekly mileage: My workout schedule varies depending on what I’m training for. I try to get at least one 10-mile run in every week.

Current training goal: I am currently training for the She TRIs Wilmington – Women ONLY Triathlon 2010 triathlon in September, so right now I’m back in the pool as well as running.

Favorite Race: The Marine Corps Marathon

Gear love: My current (running shoe) love is the Brooks Glycerin 7s. I also use eSoles (specialized insoles), Yankz laces, and Footlocker socks (I like them better than the more expensive brands).

Favorite reward: Champagne – and putting the event magnets on my car! I have 26.2, Running Girl and Swim, Bike, Run.

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We first met Doretha on Traxee’s Facebook Page just before her first triathlon and it didn’t take long to discover that her passion for running is only matched by her commitment to service.

By day, Doretha works full time as a logistics manager. She is also an adjunct instructor in Human Resources and Public Relations for the Art Institute of Charleston, a guest columnist for Charleston Post & Courier and serves as the President of the Board of Directors for The Center For Women (C4W), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to make personal and professional success an everyday event for women in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina.

Since 1990, C4W has touched the lives of more than 70,000 women, connecting them to professional sources for practical help by providing counseling, facilitating peer support groups, and making referrals. Oprah Winfrey honored The Center for Women in 2006 with an Oprah’s Angel Network Grant and the organization has been recognized by numerous civic organizations on the state and national level.

In 2005, Doretha developed the Walker Phenomenal Spirit Award, which provides one-time grants to women 35 years of age and older to help fund a project, activity or event that fulfills a heartfelt dream. Impressed? There’s more!

Our Ms. Walker is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in public policy and administration and is actively working on bringing an all-woman triathlon to the Charleston area. “My goal,” she says “is to get move women involved in the sport in a non-intimidating way.”

Doretha clearly redefines the concept of “finding time!”

Earlier this month Doretha took time out to talk with me about her passion for running, her training schedule, and the things that have inspired her most in life.

How did you get started running? I was going into the Army out of college and running is a requirement. My dad is a former Army drill sergeant and he would take me out for runs.

How do you stay motivated in your training? I think of all of the people who cannot move and remember how blessed I am. I also love to eat sweets and I know that if I don’t run, I will pay the price for butter cream frosting. I also love what running does for my mind and body. Running is the only place where I don’t ever feel angry, lonely, or any of those other depressing emotions.

We talk a lot on Traxee about the positive ways in which running influences women’s lives. How has running influenced you and your work? Running is a stress release for me. Completing my first marathon gave me such a boost of confidence. Now, when I find myself in difficult situations I just say “I got this. I ran 26.2 miles. This is easy.”

What does your typical weekly training schedule look like? Tell us your secrets! I do cross-train and am in the pool twice a week, on the bike twice a week, and run at least twice a week. I used to do Pilates and I miss that, but fitting it into my schedule is just not possible right now. At work I do a lot of walking and rarely take the elevator. My eating regimen consists of tons of fruits and vegetables and I eat lots of salads and make my own dressings. I do not eat red meat and I bake instead of fry. I live near the ocean so fresh seafood is always available and is a staple in my diet. I make it a point to eat breakfast. I also allow myself that piece of chocolate or glass of champagne when warranted. My other treat to myself is a monthly facial. It’s very relaxing and I consider it “preventive maintenance” for my skin – repairing the damage caused by sun, stress, and age.

Who is your greatest inspiration as a runner? I will always admire Wilma Rudolph. She couldn’t even walk as a child and look what she did with determination and confidence! I have a quote by her taped to my bathroom wall. I saw Jackie Joyner Kersee at the Millrose Games awhile back. She has asthma and she is amazing. I loved Flo Jo as well, and Lolo Jones is phenomenal. I love to see women who are strong and still look like women.

How did you first become involved with the Center for Women? I was a consumer credit counselor and I did brown bag lunches (free lunchtime seminars) for them on credit card debt and how to buy a car. Then I started doing anything they asked me to from painting to manning booths at events. I fell in love with the mission: “To help women succeed everyday”. You do not have to be a label (homeless, abused, or any other name we use to categorize ourselves) to benefit from the many programs the Center provides.

What motivates you to volunteerism? What effect has your work with The C4W had on your own life? I grew up volunteering and honestly do not remember a time when I did not do it. My parents are committed volunteers, even to this day. They taught us that because we are blessed (and we are all blessed), it is our responsibility to pass along the blessings to others. I am the woman I am today due to some amazing volunteers who were my Girl Scout leaders, softball coaches, cheerleader coaches, and of course due to my parents’ teachings. It is a circle. I am doing my best to perpetuate it.

The award from Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network must have been thrilling! There’s a lot of competition for such recognition. How did that happen? Oprah’s people found us on the Internet. She was coming to Charleston and wanted to give a grant to a women’s organization. We were one of the few organizations that had a web presence.  They sent a thorough confidential grant application and we were awarded the grant and tickets to see her.

How did you get the inspiration to create The Walker Phenomenal Spirit Award? It was actually on a six-mile run. I was thinking about going back to school and was wondering where I could get funding. People don’t usually give financial aid to people who aren’t “at-risk.”  I am not homeless, a single parent, abused, unemployed, uneducated, in poverty, or anything else that would put me in the category of those needing money or immediate rescuing. I am not rich, but I get by. So I decided that when I had some extra money that I would establish a foundation to help women pursue dreams regardless of the dream – and definitely regardless of their circumstances. The only criteria the Award that they be at least 35 years old and have a dream. When I got a sizeable bonus from work, I set up the Foundation. That happened to be around the same time Oprah came to town. Everything she said confirmed in me what I was about to do.

What do you think the biggest challenge is facing women today? I would say lack of confidence in themselves. If you are confident in your own abilities, the other stuff falls into place. It’s not easy, but confidence is the one thing you cannot buy. You have to earn it. You cannot rely on others to give it to you. It comes with the tour of duty in life.

What advice would you give a woman who may be in transition in her life? Be fearless – or at least act like it. Surround yourself with only true friends (I call them “dear sistergirlfriends”). Do not waste time trying to convince others that what you are doing, or about to do is the right thing. Your sistergirlfriends will support and nourish you through the process. Also, be a mentor to someone else. It’s the “each one teach one” philosophy. As you go further, you have a responsibility to give back some how.

How do you find time to do all that you do? I am driven. I just do what I do without thinking that I am doing too much. If it is important to me, I will find a way to get it done. I am also a master at saying no to the things that do not bring value to my life, or that are too draining without benefits. I am learning to be more selfish with my time, weeding out the things (and people) that do not fit.

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You can help Doretha make more women’s dreams come true by donating to the Walker Phenomenal Spirit Award through the Center for Women Website at Doretha can be contacted by email at

Growing Up and Growing My Network – C4W’s Speed Networking Event

November 19, 2010
Guest blogger and C4W intern, Sarah Andrews, shares her experience with Monday night’s Annual Entrepreneurs Speed Networking Event.


Monday night made me an adult. Or at least it made me feel like one.

I walked into the Center for Women’s 9th Annual Entrepreneurs Networking Event, wearing slacks and carrying my first set of official business cards. I went in as a senior in college overwhelmed by my future and I left encouraged, empowered, and informed with new contacts and job options.

I wish every senior had the opportunity that I did. Lucky enough to be serving as the Center for Women intern, I planned to attend the event to help them but I did not realize how much I would be helping myself.

Entering a room filled with tons of tables and wonderful women, I found my place at the correctly numbered table. Each table was numbered for 3 different rounds of speed networking, which was much like speed dating only, at the end of the night you end up with job opportunities rather than romantic ones.

And I certainly did end up with opportunities – many of them. Throughout the two hours I was able to meet and exchange business cards with almost 30 women!?! I have already received an email, a phone call and a LinkedIn request… all from one evening.

I have been told over and over again in college that it is more of who you know rather than what you know.

I cannot think of a better or more enjoyable way to increase who I know than an event like Monday night’s. It was so encouraging to see women excited and motivated in what they were doing for themselves and for the community. I walked away with job opportunities and contacts but, more importantly, empowerment to feel like I can truly make an impact in my community, as was evident in each of the women I met.

As if this was not enough, the event also increased what I know as well. The incredibly eloquent and entertaining Dr. Elaine Yarbrough spoke on Women’s Wisdom. She had startling statistics and revealing data on how women are disadvantaged starting as children in elementary school classrooms up to working women in the board rooms. Fortunately, she also shared advice on how to support other women and stand up for ourselves in the office, home, and community.

I now feel like I have a jump start to do just that because of this event and all the great connections I made there!

If you want to join me, be sure to check out the Center for Women and become a member if you aren’t already.

Annnnnd, be sure to come out to the 10th Annual Entrepreneurs Networking event in 2011, especially if you missed the fun this year!

C4W Member Profile: Virginia M. Lee

November 17, 2010

What is your profession? Commercial Banking

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Spending time with my twins (7 yrs old), yoga, running, reading, travel, shopping.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Since I met Leigh Ann in 2008.  We sat next to each other at a Women@Work luncheon & instantly realized that it was a great connection!

What inspired you to become a member? Hearing about the group’s mission and valuable work – and benefiting personally from it as well.  LOVE the purse auction!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? Personally, I could not have made it through some difficult times without the support and friendship of the ladies at C4W, and the support group I attended helped tremendously.  The Center for Women has been a source of encouragement, empowerment and enlightenment!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Ha!  Great question.  First of all, I love being a woman!  As to how I’ve been affected, it’s hard to say without having had any other experience.  But what I can say with confidence is that I regard being a woman as an asset.  I may have had to work a little harder to get where I am, but that has made me stronger and smarter – and more grateful and appreciative of the strong support and friendships I treasure.  By appreciating the skills and assets intrinsic to “womanhood”, a woman can succeed in any field!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Never miss an opportunity to seize an opportunity!

C4W Member Profile: Laura Olsen

November 12, 2010

What is your profession? Photographer // Laura Olsen Imagery

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Playing with my two dogs, Calliope and Peanut.  Reading and rock climbing are also two favorite pastimes.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I have been a part of the C4W as a volunteer and member for about six years.

What inspired you to become a member? My mother told me that there are three kinds of people; the first kind talk about themselves, the second kind talks about others, but the third kind are the most interesting, they talk about ideas.  The Center for Women is a group of women who come together to talk about ideas.  I will always be a member for that reason.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I now believe in the power of partnership to move all who participate forward.  I always struggled with the idea that to get ahead I had to beat someone else.  I was never good at sports, so the idea of competition was foreign and frightening.  But, through the Center for Women, I have seen time and again that the best way to get ahead is to bring others with you.  Partnership is a beautiful thing.  I am grateful to the Center for creating a community of women who also believe in the power of partnership.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I am fortunate to have been told as a little girl that I could one day be the President if that’s what I wanted to be.  That was not really a part of my life plan, but still it’s nice to be told.   I have always been artistic and creative.  Women are not only accepted members of the world of the arts, but vital.  I had the fortune of having female heroines that had gone before me and had succeeded in doing great things.  It’s not like that for every girl.  I am grateful that I grew up with a feeling of belonging in the direction that I had chosen.   And to all women striving to make it in a male dominated field I say; Press on!  Because girls will grow into women in your field believing that they too belong equally with the boys.  The world does not disagree with what a girl grows up believing.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? First I must say, when you find and follow your passion success is inevitable.

In economic downturns it’s exhausting to wade through all of the bad news that bombards us.  News media, business meetings, daily banter, sometimes it can feel like things are just terrible everywhere and are not getting better.  One must have energy to plow through the dismal outside world and to focus on the task at hand.  When the task at hand is thriving by living your passion, then you don’t have time to watch the doom and gloom channel.

A passion wakes you at dawn and won’t let you sleep at night. You can’t wait to keep moving forward to see your dreams and ideas come to life.  Energy to get through the day isn’t always effortless, but more days than not it sure feels that way.  Your conversation is enlivened and your demeanor changes. People are naturally drawn to your enthusiasm.  They want to be a part of what you are doing. Success can’t help but find you.

The reality is that not everyone can quit their job and follow their dreams in an instant.  It happens, yes, but not to everyone.  But passion for life can be revitalized in you in the form of a perspective change.  When you stop looking at your job as a job but as something that touches people’s lives, as all interactions have the potential to lift others or drag them down, you then develop a new way of seeing the world.  It’s that perspective change that can begin to bring you success right where you are, even if that’s not where you will eventually end up.

C4W Member Profile: Sonya Nordquist Altenbach

November 10, 2010

What is your profession? Owner/CEO of C3 Technology, Inc

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Busy taking care of 3 children, ages 6, 4 and 3 mos.  Also sell Arbonne International – Health & Wellness products

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? 8 yrs

What inspired you to become a member? Originally the Brown Bag lunch topics, then I became more involved in their overall mission and started spreading the word to other women, business owners, etc.  It was a great source of networking as well as meeting other women going through similar struggles.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? It has been a great professional and personal group of women to surround myself around.  The advice and knowledge that was shared by other women have been priceless.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Well, living in the South as a Northern Transplant, originally had its own challenges, but the more I surround myself around other Entrepreneurial & Professional Women in the area, it definitely makes things easier!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? The Survivors are the ones who will come out on top. Keep on fighting and don’t give up on your dreams or goals, ever!

The Job Coaches :: Organize listing resources to search for the right job

November 5, 2010

By Jane Perdue, Principal/CEO with The Braithewaite Group.

Q: Where’s the best place to look for a job?

A: Knowing where to look for a job used to be straightforward: You read the help-wanted ads in the local newspaper, especially on Sunday. Now, like the number of cable channels, the options have exploded for finding open jobs. While the sheer volume of places to look for a job can be overwhelming, using simple steps can help you organize and focus your search.

–Use your network. Fifty percent of all jobs are found through networking. Tell friends, colleagues and relatives that you need a job. Ask them to share job information at their company with you. Tap into social media networking sites such as Linked-In, Plaxo or Digg. With its exploding growth, Twitter is another source. Go to and enter jobs, career, hiring or job angels in the search box.

–Check major job boards for general positions. If your area of expertise applies to many industries, skills such as administrative support, supervision, etc., use, , or

–Tap into local job boards and services. Charleston offers a number of online job-hunting resources:,,,, and Be sure to check out the services offered by The Trident One Stop Career Center in North Charleston.

–Visit the career placement department at your alma mater. Many colleges and universities offer free job assistance to students and recent graduates, so give them a call.

–Check out specialized job boards. If you know specifically what job you want, target Web sites that focus on that industry.,,, and are just a few examples. offers a list of the top 100 niche job sites.

–Watch the classifieds. Not all jobs are posted, but the local newspaper remains a viable source of open jobs. If you are targeting a particular industry, trade journals and magazines are other sources.

–Target specific companies. If you have a clear idea of the company you want to work for, frequent its Web site to look for job openings.

–Use online job boards that specialize in freelance work. If you’re tired of the 9-to-5 routine, check out sites that specialize in freelance opportunities:,,, or

–Executive positions. If you are looking for a job with a six-figure salary and have funds to invest, and are resources that require a membership fee to see their job listings. Using a recruiter who specializes in your area of expertise is another alternative.

So the best place to find a job means understanding the kind of job you want, then organizing job listing resources to match your needs. That can simplify what otherwise can be a complex process.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, August 21, 2009.

C4W Member Profile : Jennifer Lynn Rone (Jeni)

November 3, 2010

What is your profession? Accredited Financial Counselor and Photographer // Sea Star Arts (we live in a beautiful city! Who wouldn’t want to capture that…)

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? My career as an artist allows me to engage with all types of people, places and events that inspire me to be a better, more creative person. Nothing like the bride’s mother asking if she can adopt me!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Oh gee, I think at least 2 or 3 years now?

What inspired you to become a member? I noticed that the Center for Women were involved in many events that moved me and I needed a local organization to give back to. I travel all over our country for work and I needed a strong foundation to support and be supported by when I am home.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? Oh where to begin? Other than great friendships that have been established, I have taken advantage of almost every service offered by the Center. I enjoy the Brown Bag Lunch series and definitely have fun at all the great events that are sponsored by or benefit the Center for Women. My most favorite has been the writers series, though. I have met some outstanding writers, editors and women like me that want to develop their skills. Having Dottie Frank bring a new book and sign it for us was tops! She’s a riot!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Maybe because I use the cliché term –southern blonde? But I have a hard time day to day being taken seriously and avoiding being harassed. I am an intelligent, hardworking person that happens to be a self-reliant woman. The Center for Women has supported and is run by so many strong women that I feel confident in my day to day life to overcome obstacles and challenges that happen because I am a woman.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? No matter what shape you are, size you wear or shoe color you have on today, make sure to be proud of who you are and what you represent. There is no one out there more important than yourself and your number one goal should be to properly take care of her.

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