When Amy Brennan took the helm at the Center for Women last September, she was confronted by a number of serious questions.
“One of the first things I was asked was, ‘Why do we need a center for women?’”
The answer to that question was answered by more questions. “When an organization has been around for 25 years, you have to ask tough questions about the past, present and future.”
When it was her turn at the top, Amy Brennan took a hard look at every single program at the Center to see what Charleston—and South Carolina—needed now and in the future. The Center conducted research, interviews and focus groups.
The common theme among it all? Connection.
Women of all backgrounds and stages in their lives come to the Center to connect. Some are in transition—they’ve just moved to Charleston or they’ve just gotten married. Maybe they just had a baby or someone important in their lives has passed away. The point is, if you’re a woman who’s going through something, the Center for Women can help—or at least connect you with another organization that can.
Contrary to popular belief, Charleston’s Center for Women is not limited to supporting female entrepreneurs. “If you’ve seen the Center in the past four years, you’d think we were only about business,” explains Brennan. And, thanks to her, the Center for Women is going back to its roots. “We’re for everyone,” she says—and she means it. In the years to come, Amy Brennan hopes that the Center will be seen as the go-to place for women who want to improve any and all aspects of their lives.
This goal of improving the situation for women extends beyond Charleston. As part of her new role at the Center for Women, Brennan initiated the Status of Women in South Carolina Task Force. In the fall of 2015, the Task Force is slated to release a comprehensive report, “a gift to our community and to the state as a benchmark. It’s something to turn to and see if we’re doing the right thing,” says Brennan.
Connecting women as a means of support? We’re pretty sure Brennan is doing the right thing.
Words by: Annabel Jones
Photographer: Adam Chandler