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CCU Atheneum: A young woman enjoying a breakout session.
A young woman enjoying a breakout session.

WIPL conference inspires, delights hundreds of women

by Mona Prufer
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Show up. Surround yourself with positive people. Dare to make your dreams come true. Work hard. Carry a designer handbag. Make your passion your work. Take more control of your financial life. Shake your booty.

Advice was dispensed freely at the fourth annual Women in Philanthropy and Leadership Conference Feb. 26 and 27 at the Sheraton Convention Center as some 600 women and a few men attended lectures, panel discussions and keynote addresses from 14 speakers and visited 21 exhibitors.

“Kathrine Switzer was very inspirational to me,” said Jody MacKenzie, editor of Grand Strand magazine who attended the conference. “I'm a runner with a 7-year-old stepdaughter who I'm encouraging to run with me. I loved the message that Kathrine delivered.”

“Take the negative things in your life and make them positives,” said Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an official numbered entry, even though the president of the organization tried to throw her out of the race. “If you can run a marathon, you can do anything.”

Other messages the 67-year-old runner delivered included: just show up, have a goal and focus on it, work hard, empower the young people in your life, get active.

Marjorie Thompson, WIPL president, agreed that Switzer was inspiring.

“She didn't inspire me to want to run, but reminded me that it matters how you handle adversity. She reinforced my belief that great things can happen if you are determined to turn negative actions into positive outcomes. She is a wonderful example of tenacity and fearlessness.”

Carolyn Pittman, executive director of the Long Bay Symphony, also chose Switzer. “It is so inspirational to me that she is close to my age and is still running and has such energy and enthusiasm. Plus, she is starting up a running wear company. I admire her courage and tenacity in being the first woman ever to run the Boston Marathon and the precedent she has set for women in sports.”

Sharon Sluys, executive financial analyst at CCU, said the standout for her was Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, the only woman ever to pitch in Major League baseball.

“She wasn’t what you would call humble, like most people you see speak, who had accomplished something to be admired for. You could still see her backbone and in-your-face attitude that she must have had to play major league ball. Still, it is very unusual, even today, to see a woman who is successful be so blunt. Also, the fact that she says she did not experience prejudice until she was 18 or so. Growing up in the South, in the 1940s! Hats off to her family.”

Cookbook author and celebrity cook Nathalie Dupree told women to love what they’re doing and follow their passions.

“Every woman has a right to a job that supports her, to make the world a better place and to love what they’re doing.”

Chris Linnares, Brazilian psychotherapist and weight loss coach, got the women out of their seats and shaking their assets as a method of shaking off negativity and creating energy.

“To change things in your life, the power is always with you,” said the young mother of two who created the wellness program Diva Dance and Girls Gone W.E.L.L. “It’s hard to stay mad when you are shaking your booty.”

Horry Independent reporter Heather Gale agreed: “She really has a great message for women who have a problem with self doubt and listening to those negative thoughts. She teaches women to be strong, to know that they are beautiful and wonderful and to help other women realize that, too.”

CCU Head Football Coach Joe Moglia led an overflowing session about taking charge of your life and making the dream come true. Coming from the world of finance, Moglia told his story of leaving a prestigious corporate job to follow his long-deferred dream of becoming a successful head football coach at the college level.

Another crowd favorite was Terry Haas, an author and TV personality from “Designed to Sell” who sells real estate and has a home on Daniel Island in Charleston. Haas stressed the importance of networking and relationships and told the room of 75 women to call her if they needed anything (and handed out her phone number).

WIPL’s mission is to raise money to provide scholarships and leadership opportunities to Coastal Carolina University students who might not otherwise be able to continue their education.



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