Archive for August, 2013

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?



Twitter: @what_i_vegan

C4W Member Profile: Kristina Ramirez

August 14, 2013

kristinaramirezWhat is your profession? Director of Be a Mentor, a local nonprofit that helps at-risk children reach their full potential by matching them with volunteer mentors for our school-based programs.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Spending time with my husband and 18 month old daughter, reading, visiting family, playing sports, travelling, drinking coffee and volunteering.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? 10 months

What inspired you to become a member? A networking forum I attended in November. After I heard the Executive Director’s speech at the time, I was thoroughly inspired by her words and knew I had come to the right place.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? This group is extremely supportive of us as women and professionals. It brings very different women together from all walks of life and allows us to remember just how much we have in common.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? As a wife, working mom and Director of a nonprofit, I am required to play many roles (as most women in today’s world are). While this used to overwhelm me, and even still does at times, I’ve become much more aware of how these roles are all intertwined with one another and feel blessed for the incredible power of influence we are given as women on a daily basis. The Center for Women does a great job of not only reminding us of this, but not letting us take it for granted, either.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Find your passion and pursue it – no matter what anyone says! Build as many relationships as you can with good people and do not take them for granted. These are the two rules that make me excited to get out of bed each and every day, and I would not have it any other way.

How can people connect with you?


Phone: (843) 554-5987 (office)



Twitter: @BeAMentorNow


Giving Back and Paying Ourselves

August 2, 2013

Businesswoman giving thumbs upI recently moved here and joined the Center for Women. I meet so many great, mature women who are at a “crossroads” in their lives and career and they don’t see much opportunity ahead on the horizon.  When we talk about what they really want to do, going forward, many say that they would love a new career, in the non-profit sector, helping people in some way, giving back to their community.

This is a wonderful ambition.

But let me play “devil’s advocate” for a minute.

Today, what do most, if not all non-profits need? Regardless of the cause they support, what is most lacking?

Think for a minute? What are they crying out for?


Government funding has been cut, contributions are harder to come by and to do what they need to do, they need additional CASH.  Usually, they have enough talent. They need financial resources.

What do most women, looking into or changing a career need?


We need to make enough money to pay our expenses, educate our children, and retire-or at least have the choice to retire- someday.

So, how can we as women serve both purposes?

We need to find work in growing fields that pay a living wage and give us opportunities for the future. Then with some of the money we earn, we can give back to the non-profits we want to support through cash contributions and volunteering our time. Just imagine for a moment that you had the opportunity to work for a non-profit, earning $3000 a month or a for-profit company earning $4000. You could decide to give 10% of your income to your non-profit ($4800 a year) and still have an additional $7000 or so to invest for your future.

So, right now, where can we go to earn more money and how can we prepare to get there?  Where are some of the opportunities?

I am going to highlight 3.

  1. Coding/Web Design/ SEO: Many people think this is a “young persons” career but it is not. Many people have come to this later in life and are doing well.  Where do you get training?  Here in Charleston, one place is Trident Tech and if you want to do this online, there are some excellent courses. A new one I heard about today is  One Month Rails but there are many others.
  2. Nursing: There is a growing need for nurses and, based on our aging population, probably no end in sight. It does take longer to become a nurse and/or going into other health related fields and you may need some financing or scholarships. And you don’t earn money while attending school so it is not a choice for everyone.
  3. Your Own Business: Become an Entrepreneur. You won’t make a lot of money right off the bat, but becoming your own boss can have long term financial benefits. You might want to start with some free-lancing along with other work. At first, on the free-lancing sites, you don’t make much money because you need to build your reputation.  But look at sites like taskrabbit, elance and odesk. And Google is trying to help us with some free support for building and hosting websites for our businesses.

The story of John Templeton always inspired me. Templeton considered becoming a missionary in China, but he found he was ill-suited for it. So he came back here and grew his fortune in the stock market with the Templeton Funds.  With that fortune, he was able to help many people who needed his contributions.

Maybe not at his level, but maybe some of us can do the same and help those who need us.

BarbaraFowlerBarbara Fowler is a CMO and Partner with Chief Outsiders in the Charleston, SC area.
Follow her on twitter at @barbfow50 or contact Barbara at 908-956-4529 or email at

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