C4W Member Profile: Cheryl Smithem

What is your profession? Marketing, public relations, communications consultant to small businesses and entrepreneurs with Charleston PR and Design, LLC.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Bird watching, singing along with my husband Bill when he plays his guitar, reading novels authored by Southern women, cooking for family and friends, drinking good wine and visiting with friends, and the occasional paddle when I can wrangle a canoe.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I’ve been a member for a total of 3 years, with a bit of interruption in there…

What inspired you to become a member? The C4W has been on my radar since it first opened on Mary Street. I’ve observed the growth and celebrated the organization’s maturity and feel it’s important to our community at large to have an organization that assists women in every area of life.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? The C4W has helped me grow my business. And The Center for Women has provided a place for many of my close friends to demonstrate their leadership; and it has provided me with opportunities to share my knowledge with other women through being a presenter at Brown Bag Lunches.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I’ve lived through the times when women were not considered capable to be business leaders to today when no one blinks to meet a woman CEO. I’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace as a teen, I’ve been asked to make coffee by a man (who was perfectly capable of making his own coffee).  I’ve been mentored, befriended and taught by some of the most talented, brilliant women and feel an honor-bound sense to pay-it-forward. I celebrate being a woman, because despite some lingering glass ceilings, I love being female!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? My personal philosophy is “Show up and do the work.” Success comes to those who are courageous, curious, supportive and determined. If you combine that with these three qualities, you’ll prosper. However, realize that what prosper and success are to you may be different from how others define those states. Share your connections. Be comfortable in your own skin. Be grateful, and show it! Tell people what their assistance, leadership or care means to you everyday.

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