Conversations on Success

Love what you do, pay good things forward, and leave the world a better place than you found it — that’s the meaning of success, say the 2011 Women of Western Wake.

Click here to see photos from the 2011 luncheon!

Recognized for their significant achievements at home, at work and in the community, these honorees shared their insights and experiences with a record crowd of attendees at Cary Magazine’s fourth annual Women of Western Wake Luncheon, held Oct. 14 at The Umstead Hotel & Spa.

The group includes Dr. Kerry Chandler, director of breast imaging services at Wake Radiology; Phyllis Eller-Moffett, founder of Quality Staffing Specialists; Debra Goldman, District 9 representative on the Wake County Public School System Board of Education; Monica Smiley, editor and publisher of Enterprising Women magazine; and Bianca Strzalkowski, the 2011 Military Spouse of the Year.

Each woman has earned her success, overcoming challenges to attain her goals: Chandler worked her way through medical school with a small son in tow. Eller-Moffett transitioned from stay-at-home mom to a new career at age 40, and Goldman moved from volunteer firefighter to PTA mom to public office.

Smiley’s “turning point” came when she left a career that wasn’t personally fulfilling to launch her magazine on a minute budget.

“It sounds cliché, but you have to think about how much time we actually have to live, and be passionate about what you’re doing,” Smiley said.

All of them mothers, and some of them grandmothers, the Women of Western Wake say they’ve learned to put relationships first and to be flexible, always.

“The biggest challenge is to say no to things that steal your bliss,” Eller-Moffett said. “You have to find the things that are important to you.”

“Turn off the phone and the email; put those boundaries up,” Chandler agreed. “I’ve learned to accept that I’ll probably die with a lot left on my to-do list.”

Facing challenges takes grace and courage, the honorees say, and it’s wise to heed good advice given along the way.

“My mother taught me to be fearless and resilient, a risk taker,” Smiley said. “When our investor funding fell through (for Enterprising Women), I made the decision to move forward, bootstrapping it, and stayed focused on creating a quality product.”

“Run to your problems, get them solved and out of the way,” offered Eller-Moffett. “I had to realize that what I did at home — facing challenges, having tenacity — were the same skills I’d use in business.”

Know and value those around you, taught Goldman’s father. Don’t judge people by rank, title or income; treat them as part of your team instead.

And, as Chandler’s mother coached, “Be happy with who you are. When you like and respect yourself, you are able to like and respect other people.”

Strzalkowski says the airlines, of all sources, provided her best advice: “Put on your own oxygen mask first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the energy to take care of the others you love,” she said.

And never be afraid to chase your dreams.

“At 32, I’ve realized it’s OK to dream big,” Strzalkowski said. “It’s OK not to be sure what I want to be when I grow up. You can change your goals, but never stop believing. If there’s something you’re passionate about, go after it.”

The panel discussion with honorees was emceed by Angela Hampton of ABC 11 TV.

Cary Magazine editors Tara Croft and Emily Uhland presided at the luncheon, welcoming previous honorees and numerous new and returning sponsors.

A special WoWW Award was announced for 2010 Woman of Western Wake Cynthia Marshall of AT&T North Carolina. The first-ever award recognizes the noteworthy and inspiring accomplishments of a previous Woman of Western Wake.

The next Women of Western Wake Luncheon will be held in the fall of 2012. The 2012 honorees will be announced in the September/October issue of Cary Magazine.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *