her talk entitled "Equipping Women for the Workplace,"
Dr. Teena Cahill presented her personal recipe for success while
also entertaining an audience of 50 women from Mercer County Community
College and other area colleges at a breakfast workshop on March
20. Cahill counsels using adversity as a source of strength, focusing
on innate talents, and striving for leadership in both personal
and professional situations. "And be a good listener. Good
leaders listen," she emphasized.
The program was hosted by the MCCC chapter of the American Association
of Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC), whose president is Khalida
Haqq, director of the college's Programs for Academic Services and
Success (PASS). MCCC President Patricia Donohue is the current president
for the national organization, which has been committed to education
and excellence for women in community colleges since its founding
in 1973. Dr. Donohue noted in her introduction of Dr. Cahill that
the AAWCC is important for both its networking and educational opportunities.
"By learning from each other and drawing from each other's
strengths, we magnify what we all can do," Donohue said.
Dr. Cahill is a striking example of that success, combining the
power of perseverance with education. In relating her background,
she noted that she turned her personal challenges into a story of
strength, which she summed up in her recent book, The Cahill
Factor: Turning Adversity to Advantage. Returning to college
later in life, Cahill earned a master's in counseling and a doctorate
in psychology and now enjoys a career as a writer, radio/television
host, and internationally recognized educational speaker.
She encouraged audience members to bring their assets to the table
in the workplace. While men bring their competitive spirit, Cahill
noted that women promote consensus-building and webs of connectedness.
"You need to have all voices at the table," she said.
"Diversity is not just the right thing to do; it's what makes
Cahill advocates "stress without distress," in which stress
is a positive, motivating force. "How you look at a situation
makes a difference. You can't control the world, but you can control
your response," she said.
She also summarized the traits of true leaders. First, Cahill said,
"You must get yourself into the room" as a recognized
authority figure. Second, leaders strive for power balancing, a
back and forth between themselves and their employees. "But
the number one principle is listening with your 'third ear.' Life
is about moving past yourself and developing the people around you.
The world works best when one person's contribution is another's
support," she explained.
of MCCC's AAWCC Board, from left, Margarita Leahy, Nancy Nicholson,
Amy Immordino, Chapter President Khalida Haqq (second from right)
and Latonya Ashford-Ligon with Dr. Cahill and Dr. Donohue.