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Winthrop Women’s Coalition to Host its First Professional Development Conference

Quick Facts

 Six women speakers will lead sessions on a variety of topics, including stress management, launching careers and breaking glass ceilings, leadership, mentorship and much more.
 The conference registration fee is $25 and includes a light breakfast and buffet lunch.

Laura Mahony
Jessie Dennen
Helen Nugent
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Jody Gaulin
Felicia Pope
Melissa Carsten
Elaine Whitton Davis
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Winthrop Women’s Coalition will host its First Professional Development Conference on Friday, June 29, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in the DiGiorgio Campus Center’s Richardson Ballroom.

Six women speakers will lead sessions on a variety of topics, including stress management, launching careers and breaking glass ceilings, leadership, mentorship and much more.

Winthrop First Lady Laura Mahony, founder of the coalition that was launched in March 2017, said that the coalition is proud to host the one-day conference because professional development and enrichment is one of the coalition’s focuses. “We are excited to have such an accomplished group of speakers who will share what they have learned throughout the course of their successful careers, and how attendees can apply that advice to their own careers. This is an extremely affordable opportunity to receive practical, and local, professional development, in addition to networking with other attendees and speakers,” said Mahony.

The conference registration fee is $25 and includes a light breakfast and buffet lunch, which is being sponsored by ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union. Register online.

Sessions and speakers include:

•“Navigating Unchartered Waters: Launching Your Career and Breaking the Glass Ceiling”

Jessie Dennen, talent acquisition consultant
Dennen acquired 20 years of experience as a strategic early stage connector and entrepreneur advocate in Silicon Valley. Dennan has focused over the past decades in building community with emphasis on inclusion while target architecting progressive teams to advance organizations and products. She currently is a talent acquisition consultant with Rootstock Software as well as PCI Pal.

•“Mentorships, Role Models and Shaping Your Career”

Helen Nugent ‘82, managing director for wealth management, BNY Mellon Wealth Management

Nugent joined BNY Mellon, the global leader in investment management and investment services, in 2013 as the managing director of sales. She oversees a team of five sales directors across a six-state region and drives regional professional recruitment efforts. She came to BNY Mellon from Northern Trust where she held a number of leadership roles over a period of 18 years. Nugent earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Winthrop in 1982, and she has held many leadership roles in community and professional organizations.

•“International Knowledge and Leadership Experience”

Jody Guy Gaulin ‘78, former global quality director with Johnson Controls

Gaulin enjoyed a 38-year career in manufacturing management with just two Oconee County, South Carolina, companies. She started in human resources at WestPoint Stevens, served as the first female plant manager in the company, and later served as director of supply chain and logistics. Gaulin worked until 2017 as the global quality director for the battery components group at Johnson Controls. Gaulin earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Winthrop in 1978. She currently is a candidate for the S.C. House of Representatives, District 2.

•“Stress Management”

Felicia Pope ‘04, vice president of marketing and business development, ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union

Pope joined ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union in 2007. She previously worked as the marketing manager for M/I Homes, Inc. Pope also is a motivational speaker who specializes in the area of stress relief and stress management. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in marketing, from Winthrop in 2004, and she is a charter member of the Winthrop Women’s Coalition.

•“Why Followership is Important in Leadership”

Melissa Carsten, associate professor of management, Winthrop University

Carsten joined the Winthrop faculty in 2008. Her exceptional teaching has resulted in her receiving Winthrop’s 2016 Jane LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award and the College of Business Administration’s 2015 Wells Fargo Outstanding Teaching Award. Carsten has developed an outstanding portfolio of intellectual contribution. She has had articles accepted for publication in relevant and reputable refereed journals, published books on leadership and followership, contributed chapters to scholarly books, and has presented at national conferences.

•“Balancing Your Quadrants: Adjusting Your Scorecard and Making Smart Choices”

Elaine Whitton Davis ‘73, realtor and former information technology developer

Davis spent nearly 30 years managing information technology development with Celanese Corp. She transitioned careers and became the co-founder and co-owner of Homes in the Piedmont with Allen Tate Realtors in Rock Hill. Davis, a member of the Winthrop Women’s Coalition Leadership Council, established the Whitton Speaker Series in Winthrop’s College of Business Administration to provide free or low-cost access to current state-of-the-art knowledge relevant to business practice.

About the Winthrop Women’s Coalition:
The Winthrop Women’s Coalition was founded on the idea that women’s strength is at its best when women work together and that a relationship with the institution is mutually beneficial: the institution fosters the individual to succeed and the individual helps to support the institution. In the coalition, one will find a connection to other women of diverse personal and professional backgrounds, and opportunities for personal and professional enrichment while helping to contribute to the university’s mission and philanthropic needs.

To learn more about the coalition, please visit

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