Posts Tagged ‘Women’

C4W Member Profile: Sarah McLeod

November 18, 2013

rsz_1dscn4048What is your profession and how long have you been in that profession?
Independent Insurance Agent. 6 months

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  

Being outdoors, spending time with husband, family, friends, and my two dogs (Raleigh and Bronco), playing and watching sports, sewing/redecorating my house, reading, thrift shopping!

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

Brand New Member

What inspired you to become a member?

I just moved back to Charleston and wanted to meet other professional women in the area!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?

It has been great so far and I have been inspired to work harder and help more people!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?

I embrace being a woman and try to use my knowledge to succeed.

What woman (living or past) do you find most inspiring?

Ellen DeGeneres for her philanthropies and for the ability to laugh that she brings to so many people.

If you could have one super power what would it be?

To go invisible!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?

Never give up, smile, and hold your head high.  When bad days come or the road gets rough always remember this too shall pass!

C4W Member Profile: Christina Mikolajcik-Edles

November 6, 2013

christinaWhat is your profession?

Esthetician, Master Sugarist, Business Owner

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?
Traveling, driving my car, organizing things, thinking, quiet, creating a good meal, yoga, making life an adventure

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women?
Brand New

What inspired you to become a member?
To support a great organization, connect, encourage other women and to find other women to appreciate

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you?
We’re brand new but already see the benefit of connecting with like-minded women in our community

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you?
It has given me an immense appreciation for the challenges women faced many years before me and what they accomplished in the face of adversity. “The picture” looks very different now but unfortunately there are still major stumbling blocks, particularly the negative social stigma regarding women in professional roles. I like to challenge that stigma with the strength that comes from success.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?

If something doesn’t work I don’t consider it a failure I simply begin looking for another way to accomplish the task. Think of what a defeatist might do and do the opposite. Find a mentor and keep a list of things that inspire you. Don’t make your primary goal making money, make it about establishing and maintaining opportunities and connections—the money will come.  Do what you love for a living. Then it is not just work. Ask for help when you need it.  Think before reacting. Work with compassion and without presumption. Some of the most intense struggles of my life have blossomed into beautiful gardens and blessings.

How can people connect with you?

Walk at a fast pace beside me.  To find out where I’ll be, email me at

C4W Member Profile: Dawn Marquez

June 5, 2013



What is your profession? Realtor

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Walking my dog, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.

How long have you been a member of the C4W? I am a new member.

What inspired you to become a member? The various classes and networking opportunities available to members. I also believe in the cause.

What kind of impact has the C4W had on you? The C4W has impacted me by  its outreach to all women of all walks of life. It creates opportunity for all!

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? Living day to day as a woman has taught me how to be a mother. I had to adjust to many inequalities with regards to men vs women. I have had to learn how to be aware of sexual harassment in life. Most importantly, being a woman has taught me how to be  a good, loving, caring person.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? To stay strong, connected with others and be determined!

How can people connect with you?



The greatest obstacle women face

May 10, 2013

JaceyVDepending on my age, I have given a variety of answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Kindergarten: teacher, because I admired my teacher.
Fourth grade: famous author, because people praised my writing and why wouldn’t I believe I was good enough to be famous?
High school: lawyer, because writing isn’t a “realistic” career ambition, and I wasn’t as good as I’d once believed.
Post grad: No idea, but benefits and a living wage would be a good start.

When someone asks what you want to be, they’re really asking what you want to do. We make decisions about what we do in an attempt to be something else: financially secure, happy, respected, famous.

I’ve constantly changed my mind about what I want to do, but I’ve always wanted to be one thing: proud of myself.

This enigmatic, slippery state of being has proven impossible to grasp for more than a few moments at a time because it is a double edged sword. On one side, I’m looking to others to affirm me. I need someone else to tell me that who I am and what I’m doing is sufficient.

On the other side, my own standards are higher than anyone else’s. “Oh, you think I did a good job? Well, thanks, but I should have finished it earlier and let me point out the mistakes I made.”  

I’m writing in black and white here, but more often than not, I discount my achievements and place in the world until someone else affirms them, and then deflect the recognition when I do get it. It’s an exhausting, impossible quest, and I know I’m not alone.

At a time of unprecedented opportunity for women, my own experience leads me to believe that the greatest obstacle for women today is…ourselves.

Women continue to rise to leadership positions in almost every industry, proving their competence and value. It’s inspiring, but I can’t help but wonder: for every woman succeeding publicly and privately, how many intelligent potential influencers have we lost to their own insecurities? How many have believed the outdated script that their ideas are not worth sharing? How many have sold themselves short, waiting voluntarily in the wings without even trying out for the part?

My own self limiting beliefs have held me back personally more than any outside opposition. No legislation, corporate policy, or cultural enlightenment will make a difference if we don’t first believe in ourselves.

A note to myself, and you, too:

Your value doesn’t depend on what you accomplish. You have a lot to offer, but no one will know until you believe you are valuable and competent, that your ideas are worth sharing, that your skills and knowledge are beneficial to the people around you. Whether those people are your coworkers, husband, children, or friends, everyone is missing out when you live life as an apology instead of a statement.

Jacey Verdicchio loves good books and deep conversations. You can find her on her blog, The Balanced Wife, where she pursues exceptional living and often falls short. She lives with her husband, Michael, and dog, Jack.

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

Our Own Self Worth

October 27, 2010

Women have been struggling to receive salaries that reflect the work they perform. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 gave women the right to obtain equal pay for equal work. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave women the right to seek equal pay of comparable work. Despite these legislative victories, gender based pay inequity still exists and there are many arguments rationalizing its existence. Among them are education, the undervaluation of women’s work, time in employment, employment selection, and the thought that this is a women’s issue.

Surrounded by leaders like House Speaker Nancy...

Image via Wikipedia

Although President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, there is much work ahead of us. It behooves all of us to recognize our own self-worth and not settle for the low salaries when our experience and education speaks volumes. It is also crucial that we aggressively seek methods to invest wisely and to pursue opportunities that will propel us to levels that will allow us to live comfortably, retire graciously, and to prosper because accepting less weakens our economic power.

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