Chester County Business Community Inspired to Elevate Women in the Workplace

Chester County Business Community Inspired to Elevate Women in the Workplace(Top Left) Gladys Black 'Woman of Distinction' honoree Charmaine Spence Rochester gave acceptance remarks at the virtual event; (Middle Left) The physical award symbolizes the breakthroughs made by honorees in shattering the glass ceiling for professional women; (Bottom Left) Senior Vice President at SEI, Sandy Ewing, accepted the Corporate Champion of Change Award on behalf of the company; (Top Right) CCFWG Executive Director Michelle Legaspi Sanchez (far left) with Board Member and Champions of Change Event Chair Connie Fogarty and CCFWG Board Chair Judi Bell. The virtual event was broadcast from the Farmhouse Bistro at People's Light and Theater; (Bottom Middle) A shot from the tribute video to honoree SEI; (Bottom Right) Judi and Michelle kicking off the event.

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County Fund for Women and Girls (CCFWG) hosted its fourth annual Champions of Change Event on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, in a virtual format. The event raised over $27,000 in support of local women and girls.

Nearly 100 business leaders, community supporters and elected officials tuned in to honor Charmaine Spence Rochester, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital, for her efforts to support and uplift women of color in the financial and healthcare fields. SEI was also honored for its commitment to advancing gender equity in the workplace and providing career development opportunities for female employees.

The program opened with virtual networking, as attendees had the opportunity to meet and connect with fellow business leaders and professionals. All were encouraged to share contact information in the Zoom chat as a way to continue conversations and foster collaboration after the event.

Sandy Ewing, Senior Vice President at SEI, accepted the Corporate Champion of Change Award on behalf of the company and spoke to the strength of its robust development programs: “The collective goal of our programs is to create new avenues for women to learn our industry and to advance their careers. To quote my good friend and colleague, Colleen Stratton, our global leader of Workforce Development: ‘In order to have more senior women leaders, we need a healthy pipeline of women in junior and mid-level positions.’ These are our focal areas as we strive to ensure women have opportunities for growth and are equitably compensated at SEI and in our industry.”

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Charmaine Spence Rochester accepted the Gladys Black ‘Woman of Distinction’ Award for her mentorship of women in the financial and healthcare fields. She spoke about the importance of providing strength and support to our communities when it’s most needed: “In the midst of a storm, when it’s dark and you can’t see where you are going, the lighthouse is there to guide you safely back to shore. There are times in our lives when we all need a lighthouse. My family is my lighthouse. Many of us are blessed with people and resources in our lives that serve as our lighthouse. Not everybody has that… I know that I am not alone in recognizing the ways in which we can seize the opportunities that come our way to make life better for others – to be a lighthouse.” Charmaine also gave a nod to the women who received this award before her: “While we all come from different fields and backgrounds, there is a strong sisterhood that bonds us together – and that is our devotion to supporting the growth and development of women and girls.”

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“Our honorees are relentless when it comes to supporting women on the path toward leadership and growth,” said CCFWG Executive Director Michelle Legaspi Sánchez. “CCFWG is proud to recognize them and highlight their accomplishments and motivations to inspire all of us to be relentless as well.”

CCFWG is thanking their many sponsors for making this event a success: WSFS Bank | West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. | SEI | MacElree Harvey | Meridian Bank | Aqua America | Franny and Franny Abbott | Cate and Tom Sennett | Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital | Denise Wine and Neil Kinch | First Resource Bank | West Chester University | Judi and Tim Bell | Pattie and Mike Diggin | Lisa Passante and Mike Kaplan | Roberta Torian | Nora Alvarez | Rose Ann Scanlon | Julie Uebler | Community Volunteers in Medicine | Anne Sheppard.

Click here to watch a full recording of the program on YouTube. The event program book is available for download on the CCFWG website.

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