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2018 Women’s Leadership Breakfast highlights student leaders

Markeil Blow

Shorntail Goodrich never thought of herself as a leader.

Now the Tidewater Community College graduate works with Hearts Full of Grace, a nonprofit organization providing support for those coping with food and housing instability.  She plans to open an extended-stay center to help clients get back on their feet.

Shorntail Goodrich (left) with mentor and faculty member Jennifer Dixon-McKnight.
Shorntail Goodrich (right) with mentor and faculty member Jennifer Dixon-McKnight.

Goodrich, 42, was recognized with the 2017 Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Award at TCC’s 16th Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast on May 8 at the Chesapeake Campus.  The award is named for the founding coordinator of the Women’s Center.

Goodrich, who earned an Associate of Science in Business Administration at TCC’s spring commencement exercises, holds a 3.4 GPA.

“I never thought I’d be in leadership roles at TCC or have a high GPA, but I do,” Goodrich said. “With my TCC support team, I’ve been able to accomplish more than I could ever imagine.”

Goodrich served as vice president and president of Alliance of Excellence, an empowerment and community service club on the Norfolk Campus. In her first year, she organized an anti-bullying campaign and was recognized as “Student Leader of the Year.”

Goodrich also planned a human trafficking symposium to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.

“I’m honored by this award and encourage others to be the light where they are,” she said. “It’s our job to adjust our sister’s crown when she is down.

Mary Cullen, vice president of nuclear propulsion, Newport News Shipbuilding, was the keynote speaker for the event.

Cullen chronicled her growth at the shipyard over the last three decades. She started as an environmental engineer and continued to move upward holding positions with increased responsibility.

“Great leaders always put others first,” she said. “For me, I learn something personal about those who work with me. I encourage those relationships because that’s what brings out ideas and builds a team.”

President Kolovani and Mary Cullen.
President Kolovani and Mary Cullen.

President Edna Baehre-Kolovani encouraged guests to continue supporting the Women’s Center’s mission of educating, empowering and engaging women.

She touted TCC’s STEM Promise scholarship program, designed to boost the number of women and minorities in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. The program, in its second year, awards two-year, full-tuition scholarships to selected applicants.

“We are grateful to the many donors who have stepped forward to support this program and the other direct services provided by our Women’s Center, President Kolovani said.

Students in Women Inspiring Self-Empowerment Leadership Development program were also recognized for their leadership roles and civic engagement through service projects.

Dominion Energy was the presenting sponsor of the breakfast.

Additional sponsors included Pender & Coward: Attorneys and Counselors at Law; TowneBank; Dollar Tree; Prevailance, Inc.; The Ascendancy Group; Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management; WTS Hampton Roads Chapter; and WillowOaks Consulting.