Thank You Notes

December 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

giftcircle1newFrom everyone at the Pinnacle Empowerment Center, we wish you and your families a wonderful holiday and a prosperous New Year! As we close the year, we want to take a few minutes to say thanks for the many gifts we have received from our community!

  •  Financial supporters: Thank you to everyone who made a donation, provided pro bono professional services, gave us supplies, and space. Thank you Mama Lucia for sponsoring our Night Out event!
  • Volunteers: Thank you to all the wonderful people who have given generously and unreservedly of their time and talent so PEC could offer real help to women in need and help the organization grow.
  • Community supporters: Thank you especially to the Columbia Foundation for their support this year. We also appreciate the continued support from the Association of Community Services Howard County and the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County.
  • Clients: We are grateful for the many women who called us or came to a Job Club or Empowerment Circle or attended our other events. You are why we’re here and when you trust us to be a resource for you, we feel honored.

Being a part of our community is a gift and we love working with our neighbors. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support in 2012 and we look forward to another fantastic year in 2013!


Do You Have a Story to Share?

November 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

Ever thought about writing? Even if you haven’t, I bet you have something to share!

At the Pinnacle Empowerment Center, our vision is to be a place where women can come and get fantastic information they need to launch or invigorate their careers and to be inspired and supported by others.  Our blog has been one of our outlets to share our voice and vision.  We have many voices here at PEC and we’d like to make the tribe even larger.  That’s why we’re asking for you to share your stories to help inspire other women.  When women work together and share with each other, we are all strengthened and inspired.  So what do you say?  Do you have a story to share about switching careers, walking away from a career, finding your work/life balance?  Do you have a time management or productivity tip that makes your day go a little saner?

Don’t worry if you’re not a “writer” (neither was I when I started this) or your grammar skills.  We’ve got editors that can smooth things out.  What we want to hear are your stories and tips – the same way you would share something with a friend or an acquaintance over coffee.  Women learn best from other women.  What can you share that has helped you move forward in your career and life?

Send me a message at heather(at) and let me know what you’ve got on your mind!

Posted by Heather C.

What Can Coaching Do For You?

September 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

This Harbor Seal at the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a natural swimmer but she might benefit from coaching for her job search!

I learned to swim as a kid in a succession of hotel and friend’s pools during the summers of my childhood. I can pass the Boy Scouts swimming test but I am not going to break any speed records! My son has learned to swim the same way so I recently enrolled my son in a swim conditioning class at the local rec center. The goal was to make him a more confident and efficient swimmer. This is accomplished by having his swimming technique observed, corrected, and refined by an experienced swimming coach.

His coach breaks down the complexity of a swimming stroke and using various techniques focuses on one thing at a time – breathing, arm movements, or kicking. Then she brings it all back together. When they do it all at once though, the perfect stroke may degenerate as they try to do it while kicking and breathing – all at the same time. The coach brings her experience to bear, provides feedback, and cheers the kids’ on to continue working at it even though the payoff isn’t immediate.

Does this feel like your career or your job search? That’s why career and job search help is called “coaching”. The coach isn’t going to do the work for you but will help you identify problem spots and work with you to refine your techniques and help you become more confident and efficient. Over the last few years of working with the lovely ladies of the Empowerment Center, I have been privileged to watch how they help and work with their clients and truly coach clients toward their goals.

When you’re job searching, how much time are you spending looking at job postings on the internet? You may be spending hours doing that weekly and feel like you’re being productive in your search, but the reality is, you can’t hide in your house and expect to find a job that way. Job Search Coach Cindy Virtue points out you shouldn’t be spending more than 5-10% of your time using the internet. She notes that you get more bang for your buck networking in person. You’ll have more success with those job postings if you can make a live contact at the company via your network. As part of her coaching technique, Cindy evaluates clients and identify areas that need strengthening such as whether they’re spending too much time on activities that won’t pay big dividends when job hunting. She provides feedback and encouragement as the client moves forward on her job search.

Perhaps you’ve been in your position for years. You’re bored with the work and would like to move upward in your career but you’re not sure if it is within the same company or another job altogether. You live for the weekends when you can hike and bike outside and volunteer with a local recreation league that helps adapt outdoor activities for people with disabilities. You meet with a Life Coach who helps you identify that what you like about the job is the security of the paycheck but the work itself isn’t what you want to do for the next 20 years. The coach helps you develop a plan to go back to the local community college and get your credential as a physical therapist while keeping your day job. Life Coach Maria points out that much of what she does with clients is to help find a path, break complex issues into smaller, more manageable pieces, and holds the clients accountable as they work through their plan toward their goals.

Consider some of the biggest names in sports – Michael Phelps or Gabrielle Douglas. These athletes have amazing talent but they still have coaches in their corner helping them work on their weaknesses, inefficiencies, and pushing them to continue to work harder. Who is in your corner? How can one of our coaches help you meet your goals?

Who’s there?

January 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

By: Heather Comstock

Attendees at the 2011 Women's Empowerment Conference. Photo by Nancy Arseneault.

When the Empowerment Center was being formed in 2010, an implementation team was recruited to develop a map of who we were, who we would serve, and how we would improve our community through our work with women. We had an amazing group from all backgrounds representing everything from the nonprofit sector, government, consulting, and business owners. It was an interesting, opinionated, and informed group.  The one thing we all agreed on:  Women don’t fit into nice one size fits all packages and assistance should be tailored to each specific client, filling a gap in services that existed in our area.

I bring this up because last week we took a look at the information on the clients we have served since we opened our doors for clients in early 2011.  It was very interesting and somewhat surprising (though it shouldn’t have been).  I was reminded that you can’t run a nonprofit, or a business for that matter, thinking you know who you’re serving and what they want from you.  You need to keep your eye on who is walking through your door and be responsive.

So, who did come through the doors in 2011?  We served about 60 women through our free job clubs and empowerment circles, group classes, individual coaching sessions, and phone referrals to other services in Howard County.  Our sample isn’t particularly scientific and we don’t have data on everyone we helped, but in looking at the information we do have, trends began to emerge.

The majority of the clients were 50 or older and most were unemployed.  These women had college degrees – bachelors and masters degrees.   Anecdotally, our data matched what I saw in our office.  These were professional women who were at a crossroads and trying to figure out where they wanted to go.  Some of the women were trying to get back into the workforce after years of caring for their families (including elderly relatives).  We had clients who had been laid off and were actively seeking employment.  There were also women who were restless in their careers and wanted something different: a more challenging position, a career change, or to pursue their passion or start their own business.

I am happy that that our clients came to us and that they found us helpful and our programs and services useful.  While I don’t know the specifics of each case, I do know what each woman got when she called or walked through the door.  She was treated as an individual – because that was our vision from the start and what sets us apart.

Thanks to the Association of Community Services

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Thanks to the Association of Community Services  in Howard County for selecting us as the January Member of the Month! It’s a great organization and we’re proud to be members!  Check us out on their homepage or on their Facebook wall!

New Beginnings

March 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

I lost my job a few months ago, the bills have piled up and my house is going into foreclosure. I have no help left…

My husband left me with nothing.  I have to start over. How am I going to support my family after being out of the job market for so many years?????

In my country I was a doctor, here I work cleaning motel rooms, I will never get ahead…

I’m living in my car with my three kids because they told me the shelters are full here. I have no place to turn, can you help me?

These are the voices of just a few of the women who came to the door of our “sister” company Pinnacle Career Resources during these past few years.  As our job market and economy took a turn, women were impacted the hardest, especially single women with children.

We heard one heartbreaking story after another.

All of these women felt there was nowhere else to turn.  Social service agencies turned them down or made them feel so degraded they just wouldn’t go back.  They are women from all walks of life: professionals, stay-at-home Moms, domestic violence victims, women who have been trying to get ahead for years and women who were affluent one day and found themselves one step away from poverty the next. Possibly your neighbor next door that you never knew was struggling so.

Well there finally is a place women can go to get help–the Pinnacle Empowerment Center

The Pinnacle Empowerment Center is a new nonprofit located in Howard County and serving our surrounding area, that  helps women in any career or life transition get the help they need to move forward.

Our experienced team of professionals are here to provide:

  • Intensive Career and Life Coaching
  • Financial Counseling
  • Resource Coordination
  • Seminars and workshops on the most relevant topics needed to help women get ahead in their careers and lives
  • Access to educational resources, mentoring programs and peer-to-peer networks
  • Annual Empowerment Training Conference

Most importantly, we will work together to help women who are in the midst of transition, understand they have the strength and support they need not only to move through crisis but for lifelong success.  Follow us as we profile strong women who are working towards their goals and the tools, resources and inspiration we all need to be successful.

For more information on services, volunteer opportunities or donating to help us continue to improve the lives of women in our area please visit Pinnacle Empowerment Center website at or contact us at (410) 799-1097.

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