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Making room for a legend and a young entrepreneur

Posted by: Bernie Dagenais on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 2:00:00 pm

Rhea Seddon and Tifanie Stanard don’t appear to have much in common. Ms. Seddon was one of the nation’s first women astronauts, conducting medical experiments in space during the 1990s. Ms. Stanard graduated from college within the past decade, proving herself as an entrepreneur and savvy self-marketer.

One thing they have had in common is that both were speakers at Trademark events held this year by the Society of Professional Women, the largest program of The Main Line Chamber of Commerce. SPW is in making a splash its 10th year, with regular media coverage and an extraordinary lineup of speakers to share how they differentiated themselves in a world in which women still lag when it comes to pay and placements within the C-Suite and board rooms.

SPW is unique due to its size, reach and quality. When the program began in 2009, it was one of the few, widely accessible women’s groups in Greater Philadelphia and it’s still the largest of its kind. Few chambers of commerce nationally and none locally have a program that matches SPW, thanks in large part to the support of companies in the region and a Chamber team and volunteers led by our programs Director Nicole Stephenson.

Men are welcome and do attend these events, which provide great network-building opportunities.

While it’s great that we have the resources to bring Seddon from Tennessee, I’m just as proud that we put Standard, a 33-year-old businesswoman, on stage at one of our biggest events. Seddon talked about overcoming obstacles, including effectively being shunned and finding a way to work on flight equipment made for a man who was at least a half-foot taller than her 5-foot frame. Stanard, who has had had a hand in different businesses, talked about still learning and striving to be a leader and entrepreneur. “Fake it until you make it,” Stanard told the audience of nearly 200 individuals. “But don’t forget to make it,” referencing aspects of growth that lead to measurable progress.

Other speakers on tap this year include Educator and Advocate Dr. Temple Grandin, who didn’t talk until she was 3 years old due to autism, and author and speaker Tom Borgoyne, who appeared as the Phillie Phanatic baseball mascot for 30 years. Topics include overcoming obstacles, gaining confidence, and building customer loyalty. A session on addiction in the workplace is scheduled from July 24 and a Tenth Anniversary Happy Hour will be held on Oct. 10.

We also offer a mentoring program and an annual event at World Café Live that is focused specifically on outstanding college women from throughout the region.

Volunteers, staff and our funders together make SPW unique and formidable. Greater Philadelphia is better for their work.

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