Archive for February, 2012

C4W Member Profile: Meredith Goodwin Repik

February 29, 2012

What is your profession? Executive Director, March of Dimes

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Spending time with family and friends, relaxing in my backyard or cleaning!!!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? 1 month

What inspired you to become a member? I went to a luncheon at the Harbor Club in January, the people there were very nice and the networking opportunity was great!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? So far the impact has been great, I am very excited about being a part of this wonderful group of women.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Keep trying and do not give up!

How can people connect with you?  I am a people person and enjoy learning about people and their backgrounds and getting ideas from them, I am a very social person and enjoy the beach, pool, snow skiing, roller skating and much more.

C4W Member Profile: Leigh Thomson

February 22, 2012

What is your profession? Admissions Coordinator –  Southern Wesleyan is a 100 year old non-profit Christian university offering both undergraduate (BSHS and BSBM) and graduate degrees (MBA and MEd) for the working adult where you take class one night a week as a full-time student.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? I enjoy volunteering at my children’s school currently serving as PTA VP of Fundraising.  I like to travel, play golf and soccer, boating and spending time with friends and family.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women?  3 years

What inspired you to become a member? A former colleague introduced me to C4W and then I became impressed with what C4W aims to accomplish, programs offered and the networking opportunities.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? C4W has provided me the opportunity to hear excellent speakers and meet other professional and compassionate women in business.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Going back to work full-time has forced me to constantly reevaluate the balance of work and home-life to be sure my priorities are aligned with my family’s goals and allowing time for personal happiness.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Networking is critical in getting to know what opportunities are out there.  Always think positive and don’t be shy about meeting others – consider everyone a potential friend when you meet them.  Attend any free networking event and have business cards at all times even if you are not employed.  Be sure to set up an account on Linked In and befriend anyone that is doing something you are interested in.

How can people connect with you? Feel free to email me at or call 843-266-7981.  I can also be found on Linked In.

The Job Coaches: The things you can’t control

February 17, 2012

Now that we have come to the end of the semester at most colleges and our young people have processed through commencement on their way to life outside the school environment, a little common sense advice seems in order.

photoNo matter where you work, or what you do, there are things you can control, and things you cannot. It’s good to get a handle on the ones you cannot, so you do not spend unnecessary brain power and body energy stressing about them. This also frees you up to handle the things that are within your own control and makes your life easier.

Here are some tips about what you cannot control, followed by what you can:

1. Weather: There will be days when the weather dictates what you can and cannot do. Storms ground airplanes, bridges wash out and high winds knock out power lines. Frustration and anger aren’t going to change the outcome. Do what you can to rearrange your schedule, then let it go. Be prepared for the inevitable delays. If you are traveling, take a good book, your laptop, and a charged cell phone, so that you can use those inevitable delays productively.

2. Traffic: Getting to work on time and ready to start the workday is certainly important, but sometimes even the best-laid plans come to naught. Your normal commute may be 45 minutes by bus or car, and you left your home base in plenty of time, but, whoops, there’s a wreck at a major intersection. It’s not going to help to sit in traffic fuming and spewing out obscene words. Breathe, and let it go. Besides, don’t you think the person involved in the wreck might be having a worse day than you are?

3. Equipment failure: From airlines to office equipment, it always seems that the machines break down when you most need them to work. The copier gives out when you are running 30 copies of a report due tomorrow; the computer suddenly boots you out of a document you had nearly perfected; the car refuses to start when you have exactly 20 minutes to get to an appointment. Again, railing away at the machinery will not help. Instead, choose how to handle the situation: Is there someone you can call for help? Another place to make copies? Move your mind away from fear of the problem into creating a solution. It’s more likely to get resolved, and you’ll feel better, too.

4. The economy: Yes, we are in a recession. Yes, it may be hard to get the perfect job. But, remember, everyone had to start somewhere. There are still plenty of stories about people who started at the bottom and learned all there was to know and later became a leader in their field. In this day and age, it is estimated that the new college graduate will have eight to nine different jobs, and four to five different careers. Own your own labor, and your attitude toward it. If you are happy with the work you have, happiness will spill over into other areas of your life.

5. Other people’s life choices: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, work is the place we are most likely to actually interact with people of another race or culture in the globalized world. It is not going to help to criticize your colleagues about their choice of life partner, their culture, their parenting styles, their spending habits, or their work ethic. You are only in charge of you, your own attitudes, and beliefs. Listen and learn, understand what emotions may be behind the words, and make good choices for yourself with greater awareness.

One caveat: If you are working with someone you believe is doing something illegal, you want to either report the situation immediately to someone with higher authority or get out of the situation as quickly as possible.

If you look at this list, the biggest commonality around what you can control is your own attitude. It’s clear that this is something within anyone’s control, no matter where they are on the career path.

Hillary Hutchinson, M.A., M.Ed., is a certified career and academic coach specializing in higher education. Contact her via her website,

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 843-763-7333 or e-mailing If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, May 28, 2010.

C4W Member Profile: Michelle Forrester

February 15, 2012

What is your profession? Professional Organizer

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Reading, Volunteering in the community, sending time with my family going to the movies.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? 2 years

What inspired you to become a member? I was at one of the speed networking events and I learned what the Center for Women do in the community and I really like the purpose of the organization.  So, I join for that reason.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? It has showed me how to listen more to what individuals say so that I can understand what they need.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I’ve learned that as a woman I can achieve my dreams and goals if I focus on strengths and put them to work in every area of my life.  And in doing this I have a well-balanced life.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? I truly believe if women would look on the inside of their selves they will find the strength to overcome any situation and circumstance in the economy.

How can people connect with you? They can connect with me on my website:, Twitter: @StyleConstant, Blog:, Facebook Fanpage:, or LinkedIn: Michelle Forrester

C4W Business Member Profile: Ashley T. Caldwell, The Modern Connection

February 9, 2012

What is your profession? Owner and Founder of The Modern Connection, a social media firm based right here in Charleston!

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Playing with my rescue dogs, socializing with friends, taking in the sights and sounds of Charleston, reading, shopping and meeting new people!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? 2 years

What inspired you to become a member? When I first moved to Charleston and started my company, I heard from so many people in the community about the Center for Women. I couldn’t help but join and have been so grateful I did!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? The Center for Women has impacted my professional career and business growth tremendously. Everything from networking and meeting other women to speaking to business owners and appearing in the media – The Center fostered positive and beneficial connections I otherwise would not have made.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Being a woman has allowed me to approach my day-to-day life with power, resourcefulness and intuition as well as empathy and compassion. As a business owner, I feel my femininity provides a powerful advantage and relatability that has helped me succeed.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you follow your passion, success will come to you. If you truly love what you do, people can recognize that. Best advice: Do what you love.

How can people connect with you? You can check us out on the web at:, or follow me on Twitter: @AshleyTCaldwell!

Skill-Building for Local Women Leaders

February 3, 2012

Nearly 47 percent of South Carolina organizations have no women in decision-making roles according to a 2008 report by Clemson University’s Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. To prepare more women to step into decision-making roles, the Charleston, S.C. Center for Women has launched a new Women’s Leadership Institute. The Institute is designed to teach Lowcountry women the skills and strategies necessary to become capable leaders. The Center for Women, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization and the only comprehensive women’s development center in South Carolina, focuses on making personal and professional success an everyday event for women in the Lowcountry.

“A report from Catalyst, a research organization specializing in expanding opportunities for women and business, reveals that companies having more women in their leadership team have a 34 percent higher return to shareholders,” says Jennet Robinson Alterman, Executive Director of the Center for Women. “Business, government and communities all face a multitude of critical issues and need a pool of women leaders and decision-makers who can resolve pertinent issues and help deliver improved financial performance. We believe the Center can play a key role in equipping local women with the right mix of knowledge, skills and abilities to help prepare them for these positions.”

National research into women in business conducted by Braithwaite Innovation Group, a local professional development organization, shows that business women skilled in communications, negotiations, conflict resolution, and general leadership abilities are better positioned to assume more responsibility. I found the Lowcountry full of professional and executive women – educators, entrepreneurs and former Fortune 100 company executives – who have these skills and who are willing to pay it forward to improve the status of women in South Carolina.  We have designed the Women’s Leadership Institute sessions to be highly interactive, using discussion, practical application, assessments and experiential exercises. Our goal is maximizing learning about leading oneself, leading others and leading within organizations.

This is the first intensive skill development program offered by the Center for Women. Topics covered in the monthly sessions will assist local women in building a wide array of leadership skills as well as gaining a broader and deeper business perspective for their increased workplace, community, home and personal effectiveness. Women can choose to take as many or as few classes as their schedule permits. Each course adds value as a stand-alone session or as part of a comprehensive year-long program. Based on feedback from recent Center for Women program and event participants, the women’s leadership classes will be held Saturday mornings, starting at 9:30 a.m. and will run for three hours.

For companies in the tri-county area who may not have learning and development opportunities or personnel in-house, this program provides them with affordable access to resources that would cost tens of thousands of dollars to create and deliver. “A Women’s Leadership Development study conducted in December 2011 by Mercer Consulting revealed that 71 percent of firms do not have a clearly defined plan for developing women for leadership roles,” noted Doretha Walker, past president of the Center for Women board of directors and also a leadership program faculty member. “This new program will provide a distinct cost effective advantage for Lowcountry employers looking to get ahead of the curve in training their female employees.”

For more information and to enroll, visit the Center for Women’s website at

Jane Perdue is a leadership and women’s issues consultant, speaker, writer, and Principal, Braithwaite Innovation Group, a Charleston. S.C. based female-owned professional and organizational development company.

Originally appeared in CharlestonCurrents on Monday, January 16, 2012.

C4W Member Profile: Chelsea Shamsedin

February 1, 2012

What is your profession?  Talent Coordinator at CTS International

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Spending time with family and friends, traveling, going to the beach, exercising, and reading.

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

What inspired you to become a member? I really believe in what the C4W does for women by helping them to succeed and wanted to become involved.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? It has made me want to contribute more of my time to helping advance successful women in the lowcountry. I want to be someone people can reach out to and depend on.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Being a woman encourages me to live my life in a positive way. I know I am compassionate, kind, and nurturing.  I’m always willing to help when needed.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? We gage people by what actions they take and accomplishments they achieve. Be proud of who you are and what you are capable of and share it with the rest of us!

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