March 30th, 2011 / posted by paularath

Left to right, Moderator Linda Cheim, Melissa Chang, Alyson Helwagen, Paula Rath and Linda Fulgenzi. Photo by Krystalle Li

The dynamic social and business network, Social Wahines, held their first Strictly Business event last night at the U.H.-Manoa Architecture Building Auditorium.

Kudos to all who organized it under the leadership of Danielle Scherman, founder of Social Wahines.

The event was ably catered by Kahala Caterers and there were plenty of Waialua Soda Works to wash down the pupus and Precious Cakes.

The focus of the discussion was surviving major transitions in one’s work life and especially how to handle layoffs and job losses. Each of the panelists had been through a career change – or two or three – and thrived.

Linda Fulgenzi was a school teacher who is now Vice President of Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch. Melissa Chang was laid off as marketing director at Aloha Tower Marketplace and is now a freelance writer and independent marketing consultant specializing in social media and blogging for NonStop Honolulu. Alyson Helwagen, who is due to have her first child next month (perhaps life’s biggest transition), launched LeiChic then sold it to Pacific Basin Communications and became that company’s publisher. I lost my job when The Honolulu Advertiser shut down and have reinvented myself as a blogger.

The panel discussion was lively and informative and the questions were excellent. The first question was about what to wear to a job interview. That is a story I revisit every few years and I think it’s time to write it once again. With so many people out of work or seeking to make transitions, it would be a timely topic now.

Alyson shared a saying that has impacted her life: “Jump and the net will be there.” I think we all left with that idea in mind. Sometimes we just have to dive in and trust that it will all work out.

– Paula Rath

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April 1st, 2011 at 12:03 am

What a great panel of women! I’m just sorry that I wasn’t there. There’s definitely some knowledge that I missed out on.

April 1st, 2011 at 3:33 am

Do try to make it to the next social Wahines Strictly Business. It’s so worthwhile!

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