Posts Tagged ‘mentor’

C4W Member Profile: Nicole Williams

April 17, 2013

SONY DSCWhat is your profession? Owner of Purse Baby, Assistant Vice President for Claflin University. My passion is promoting safe driving.  The purse baby is a device that will help with the process.  Something just as simple as your purse falling or an item falling when you brake; can distract you from the road.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Traveling, Reading, Mentoring Youth.

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

What inspired you to become a member? Love networking and connecting with other like minds. (Bonus:  There all women)

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Living day-to-day inspires me to become a better woman because I have a daughter and other mentees that look up to me.  

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? It’s not about the economy; it’s the brand.  You are your brand, and if you promote yourself you are able to sell anything.  People want to be able to connect with the brand; and so they have to know how you are inspired. 

How can people connect with you?

Twitter/Facebook/IN:  PurseBaby

C4W Member Profile: Sandy Irving

January 16, 2013


What is your profession? As owner of  Charleston Wine Tastings I am a wine educator and salesperson. I present wine tastings in homes and offices and am available for speaking engagements and other events to talk about wine. I represent a Napa Valley winery and all of the wines I market are produced there and are limited in quantity and exclusive to my company.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? I love to travel and this year was fortunate to spend time in Italy, Scotland, England and Spain! Of course while I’m there I sample the local wine. Cooking and creating recipes is also a passion of mine, and if I have time, I like to get my hands dirty in the garden.

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

What inspired you to become a member? I have a very full schedule, but a friend and member, Robin Giangrande reminded me of the benefits of membership. I love the camaraderie, the mentorship and the support that goes along with being a member. I am excited about connecting with all the members, both old friends and new.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I believe that by empowering ALL women in our community, that each individual will grow as a result. We can all benefit from sharing the programs and the fellowship that the center organizes and puts at our fingertips.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?  I don’t think of myself as living  “as a woman” but feel that we all experience both challenges and success as we travel through life. As a life long entrepreneur, I have always focused on the goal, and not considered whether my gender would be either a help or hindrance.  As the mother of both a son and a daughter, I want both of them to work towards a society where we are not judged by gender in any situation. I do think that women have a stronger sense of community and sister hood.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Turn your dreams into goals by writing them down and making a plan, then be consistent and persistent. Don’t give up.

How can people connect with you? 843-864-6490.

C4W Member Profile: Diana Rogers

November 14, 2012

What is your profession? Own D&R Gunsmithing and Sales and work full time as a Human Resources Manager.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? When I have time I enjoy reading, spending quality time with my family, long relaxing drives to nowhere in particular.

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

What inspired you to become a member?  The ability to network and share the hardships and joys of being a business owners. To gain insight from others.  Also to become knowledgeable in ways to find funding to help grow my business to employ more people.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Multitasking. We have to multitask and wear multiple hats. It is expected from us. After a while it gets tiring.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Don’t give up. Find a mentor to help you through the process. Make sure you have your family support. Take baby steps.

How can people connect with you? Email-

Telling Fear It’s “Game-On”

September 23, 2010

Guest blogger, Sharon Higgins, shares her story of overcoming fear of failure.

“I just don’t know if I want to do it again, Mom. I don’t know if I still have it.”

I glanced over at my 11 year old daughter in her new cheerleading uniform which she was wearing to school to promote the first big game of the season.   ”What? Why? You love tumbling,” I said.

We were in the carpool line and I had casually mentioned that I would re-enroll her in tumbling classes after football season. Isabella had taken gymnastics and tumbling lessons since she was in 3rd grade which led her to this grand moment in her life – middle school cheerleader.   When she first began her lessons, the only thing she brought to the gym floor was a wobbly cartwheel which she displayed with the pride of an Olympic athlete.  She was discouraged that her junior varsity status as a cheerleader didn’t require the gymnastic skills she had perfected over the years…so, why had she even bothered with it?

I said, “This is just the first step, when you are on Varsity there will be more opportunities for using your gymnastics skills.  Don’t worry.”  She shrugged and looked out the window.

I was puzzled.  During countless drives to and from the gym over the years, I had been a spectator to the nonstop chatter of Isabella and her friends exclaiming “I got my back handspring today!” or “I thought I lost my forward tuck, but I found it again!”   I asked my daughter why she wouldn’t want to continue, what changed?

“I’m afraid I’ve been away from it too long. I’m afraid of learning a new skill when I haven’t been using the ones I already know. I’m afraid if I try then I will get hurt – you know, like break something,” she said.

Oh.  I quickly pushed aside images of being in an emergency room with a full body cast being set on my child.  I acknowledged, that yes, there was a risk of injury in any sport but then said, “Isabella, there is always fear of failure in life. Even when you are a grown-up. The problem with fear is that it holds you back from the possibility of doing something really fabulous.”

When she hopped out of the car, I had to ask myself – should I be taking my own advice? What should I be doing right now that I’m sidestepping for fear of failure? Zing. Yup, I knew exactly where Fear was hanging around in my life.

My conversation with my daughter reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks ago.  She was going back to the mainstream workforce after taking five years off to be at home with her young children.  She is a smart, accomplished woman with an amazing 20 year career as a director in school administration.  She said, “You doubt yourself and wonder, do I still have it? Can I still speak the same language?”  I am certain her fear has been echoed by many women in her same position.

So, how do you admonish the fears that prohibit you from jumping back into your career, taking the next step beyond your comfort zone or the big one – launching a whole new venture?  How do you gain the confidence to give Fear a strong game-time handshake and say, “Ok, you’re on! Bring it!”

1. Remember Where You Started – Like that wobbly cartwheel that was full of enthusiasm, often remembering where you started and why you wanted to do it in the first place can spark an urge to keep plugging ahead. It may sound silly, but read your resume and remind yourself of what you’ve already achieved.  (Yes, that was you who did all that.) Talk with a former colleague or old friend who remembers your instinctual drive and ambition when you first began.

Recapturing that old enthusiasm can be hard if you are bogged down with too many commitments. Is there something you are spending time doing that isn’t necessary at this point in your life?  Something that isn’t as valuable as what you need to do to achieve your goal? There are plenty of things that we CAN be doing…but that doesn’t mean that we SHOULD be doing them all right now.

2. Write it down –  Get out a piece of paper and make two columns,  “Rewards” and “Challenges.”  The Rewards are what you want to achieve.  Picture yourself in that space; I mean really imagine that. How does it feel?

Sometimes fears seem scarier in the scope of your imagination – especially when you are thinking about them at 3:00 a.m.  When you put it on paper, it becomes a task to overcome and often is a hill rather than a mountain. Analyze the real risk involved; not the roadblocks you have put up to avoid dealing with it. What are practical steps that you can immediately take to overcome the challenge? Is there a viable solution to this problem?  Make a plan and be disciplined in putting it into action for as long as it takes to accomplish the goal.

3. Network and connect– Use local networking groups and social media sites to get your feet wet again before taking the big plunge. When I decided to work 100% freelance, I made my business plan, set my daily schedule, ordered my business cards, arranged my desk the way I always wanted it to be and then I froze.  My only co-worker was a fat cat who slept all day.  I needed conversation to get my mind into the creative and beyond the task of just getting set up.  I logged onto Twitter and LinkedIn and immediately began searching for other freelance copywriters.  I wanted to know what they were saying and what they were working on. Plugging into those conversations can lead you to industry trends and new information that you don’t have time to unearth yourself.  Discussions on social media sites can get your mind back into the game.

I also joined networking groups in my local community such as Center for Women and East Cooper Entrepreneurial Women. Not only did I find others in my field as well as complimentary industries to my own, but I was easily able to showcase my business to others.  Discussing your business or new venture in a casual conversation is far less intimidating than speaking in front of room filled with people.    Never underestimate the power of conversation. You never know where it might lead or what doors it may open for you.

4. Read & Research– Just like my daughter returning to the gym to brush up on her acquired skills and giving her the opportunity to learn new ones, there is a universe of books, articles, magazines and blogs  to be read as well as workshops, webinars and classes that can be taken online or in a physical classroom.  Find a mentor who has already walked the path you are about to take.

5. There is nothing really to lose by taking a chance – When you get to this point then you can truly lead Fear out the door. Our hope when we embark on something new is that it will work out and we will live happily ever after with it.  Sometimes exploring an opportunity that we think we want shows us that it wasn’t indeed what we truly wanted after all.  But, we never would have known if we didn’t give it a try. (I know, that sounds like something a mom would say.)  Isabella thought cheerleading was the pay-off for all the years of gymnastics lessons.  As she explores cheerleading some more, her path might lead her to Varsity Captain or it might reveal to her that gymnastics was her real heart’s desire/true achievement all along.

The thing is while you were taking time off to do something different, you weren’t wasting time.  Chances are, you have been experiencing accomplishments…just in a different arena than you were used to seeing success.  I plan on telling my daughter that cheerleading hasn’t been all for not; she is learning team-building skills that she wasn’t getting from her tumbling classes.  When I look back to my resume from the first few years out of college, I have to laugh that I put “multi-tasker” down as one of strong attributes. I had no idea what it meant to be a true multi-tasker until I had three children, a husband, a house, volunteer commitments and a full-time job.  My friend who is going back to her career is probably a more understanding educator now that she has children of her own.

The means and methods to growing in our skills aren’t always cookie-cutter which fit neatly into a job description.  If we’ve been alert then we’ve been engaged and still “in-the-know” all along. Take confidence in that and push yourself to the next step. You’ve still got it!

Oh, and my own fear?  Actually writing an article on my blog.  I know, a writer who has a fear of blogging, huh?! I’ve been writing plenty of business material for clients and putting voice to other people’s messages, but putting my own thoughts out there?  Err, well, I’ve had plenty of  ‘reasons’  not to do that.  My sincere hope is that you’ve found this article helpful or, at the very least, mildly amusing.  I’ll take it! Either way, I thank you for lending eyes to it because you’ve helped me cross one of my fears off my list. Whew!!!

What’s next?  Bring it on!

Sharon Higgins is a freelance copywriter living in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and three beautiful daughters. She writes social media & website content, advertising, promotional, sales & newsletters for an array of clients. Sharon is a member of Center for Women, ECEW, The Lowcountry Business Network, Virtual Business Solutions and an active volunteer for Lowcountry Orphan Relief. You can contact Sharon at

Stay connected to your career

August 19, 2010

By Hannah Morris, the owner of HBM Human Resources & Career Consulting, and has 15 years of experience in Human Resources management, recruiting and career counseling. Additionally she is the owner of Pots & Petals, a gardening business

Q: I’m taking time out of the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom. What should I be doing to keep my skills and experience relevant and up-to-date?

A: If you have made the choice to stay at home with your children for an extended period but you plan to eventually return to regular, full-time work, then there are several things you might consider doing to keep your skills, knowledge and credentials updated. Here are ten suggestions:

1. Read! Continue subscribing to industry magazines or newsletters that will provide you with the latest information and updates about what is going on in your field. Additionally, consider starting a book club in which your group reads and discusses books about business-related topics.
2. Maintain your memberships in industry or business-related organizations. By continuing to attend meetings you will stay connected to people in the business community. Once you begin looking for a job again, these networking contacts will be essential. Your active membership in such an organization is something you can definitely include on your resume.
3. Join (or start) a networking club/meeting with other moms who are taking a break from their careers. Without a doubt there are other women who have made the same choice to stay home with children, but ultimately plan to go back to work. Seek out women in your neighborhood, children’s school, or other community group who are also interested in networking and mentoring one another.
4. Attend continuing education seminars and educational programs. Take advantage of classes and programs related to your area of expertise or other business-related topic. The Center for Women is an excellent resource for this type of event. Also check with industry organizations and local colleges and universities to find out when and where they will offer training or continuing education classes in your area.
5. Volunteer in your field. Use what you know to benefit those who may not be able to pay for your services. Although a paycheck is great, volunteering still allows you an opportunity to utilize your knowledge as an expert in your field and could be a nice addition to your resume.
6. Manage a community, school or non-profit project or event. Even if it is not specifically related to your career, taking a major role in the planning and execution of this type of event will allow you to use the same organization, prioritization and management skills needed in a work environment.
7. Look for consulting opportunities in your field. Taking on an occasional project for a client is a great way to keep your skills fresh, to build your resume, and earn a little extra money. The best way to find this kind of opportunity is through networking. Utilize your business contacts and pursue connections through family, friends, and neighbors.
8. Keep your resume updated and your interview skills polished. You never know when you might be asked for a resume. A great consulting opportunity may arise and you want to have your resume read to send out upon request. Make sure you have a nice suit that fits well and makes you feel confident. Take time to practice selling yourself as the best candidate for the job.
9. Keep your licenses and/or certifications up-to-date. Stay on top of what training or coursework you need to complete to maintain your credentials even if you are out of the workforce. If it is important to have certifications in your field, be sure that you are keeping yours up-to-date in preparation for when you return to work.
10. Have a mentor. Contact a former boss, co-worker or other professional whom you respect and ask them to be a mentor to you. Get together every couple of months for coffee or lunch to catch up on business-related news and to get advice on what else you can be doing to keep yourself prepared to re-enter the workforce.

If you are staying at home to be with your children, enjoy this time. It won’t last forever. Little children grow up and the older they get, the more time you will have for your own pursuits. You will have a chance to get back to your career. For now, make an effort to keep your skills, knowledge and connections in tact to help smooth your transition back into the workforce when the time comes.

First appeared in Moxie section of The Post and Courier on Friday, August 14, 2009.

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