A trio of business women presented their mantra of "shift happens" last Thursday during at the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce's "Successful Women in Business" panel at Pasco-Hernando Community College West Campus.
Veronica Cintron, an evening anchor on Bay News 9, Rosemary DiDio Brehm, a founding partner of the Clearwater-based Whale Hunters strategic business development consulting firm, and Rhonda Shear, the actress, comedian and intimate apparel entrepreneur, spoke to dozens of women — and a handful of men — last Thursday as part as part of the chamber's 20th Business Development Week.
PHCC academic adviser Kathy Brantley takes advantage of the business week festivities in between leading campus tours and new student orientations.
"It's always been received very well from the community," Brantley said. "You see successful women open up honestly about their travels and journeys to get to where they're at and it's very entertaining for everybody."
Cintron, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, opened with a story about her aspirations to work in television news and the struggles she faced as a young Hispanic woman. At an anchor camp, a well-respected leader in the field pulled her aside and told her to find another career because of her accent.
Frustrated and in tears, she headed back to her news station determined to work even harder.
"As women, we have insecurities and we question ourselves and our decisions," Cintron said. You have to try and stay confident in what you do. Believe in yourself, keep fighting, follow your dreams, put yourself first and surround yourself with powerful people who are an inspiration and who motivate you."
Brehm started as a school media specialist, but after many unhappy years of removing baloney from the pages of library books and separating students making out in the book stacks, she decided to change course.
She plotted out her life, with all the rollercoaster ups and downs, to see where major shifts where and how they affected her. She presented the plot, in line graph form, to the audience with a shrug and said "shift happens."
"We're all shifting, we're all changing, we're all growing," Brehm said. She turned her new wisdom into a company that provides workshops and consulting services to companies to accelerate their growth.
Shear had the audience nearly in tears from laughing. She discussed her foray into acting and television show hosting in Hollywood, including the B-movie cavalcade "USA Up All Night," and how it led to her current career of designing and selling intimate apparel for women of all shapes and sizes.
"My whole mantra is taking risks, being nimble and going into uncharted territories," Shear, who has a communications degree from Loyola University New Orleans, said.
"Put a stake into what you want and go for it," Shear said. "It doesn't matter what stage of life you're at, you can start over. Life can take you in all kinds of directions and I say just go for it."
After the panel discussion, the women led a question-and-answer session, giving sassy, honest and funny answers to the audience members asking them about work-life balance and overcoming obstacles.
They exchanged business cards with the local businesswomen afterward.
"I absolutely enjoyed it," Brantley said, "I wish more people would take advantage of it because it's so enjoyable. It was enlightening, that 'shift happens.' Everybody can relate to that."