Cahill Advises Focusing on Strengths in
Talk to AAWCC Group March 20


3/23/09


In 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 things work."

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.

(Front row, left) Dr. Cahill and President Donohue with MCCC students who attended the workshop. Also pictured are academic counselor Simpdy Merelan, second from right, and PASS Director Khalida Haqq.

Dr. Cahill drew laughter as she delivered
her empowering message.
Members 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.
Dr. Cahill encouraged her audience to bring
their assets to the table in the workplace.

Cahill directed some of her remarks to students in the Venus Club, a fledging women's group on campus that will apply for formal club status in May. She encouraged the students to use their innate resilience and to get as much education as possible as they proceed into the work world. "Keep going and never quit," she said.

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