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TCC Women’s Center celebrates 25 years with a “25 for 25” matching gift challenge

Tidewater Community College’s Women’s Center marked its 25th anniversary by sponsoring a matching gift challenge to support programs and students in need.

Dukas with student Tiffany Warren and President DeCinque.

MaryAnne Dukas, a Women’s Center advisory council member, challenged donors with a dollar-for-dollar matching gift up to $25,000 at the Women’s Leadership breakfast held at the Slover Library in downtown Norfolk on Wednesday morning. The campaign will be called “25 for 25.”

“Many women in our community would not reach their goals without the support of the Women’s Center,” said Dukas, director of CONCOA Precision Gas Controls. “Through the center, they get support in every area of their lives. I’m proud to do my part to support this work.”

“We are humbled by the generosity shown by MaryAnne today,” said TCC President Gregory DeCinque. “Because of her generosity, the Women’s Center will continue providing quality programs as well as emergency support services for students in need.”

Corynne Arnett, with Dominion Energy, encourages students at the breakfast.

The event included a keynote address by Corynne Arnett, vice president of customer service with Dominion Energy. Arnett talked about her personal and professional journey, encouraging students to be confident, willing to try something new, and prepare for the challenges ahead.

“Your actions will speak louder than your words in your career,” said Arnett. “Be sure to stay focused on excellence and doing the best job you can.”

Arnett added, “As you move through your career, continue to leverage the great work of organizations like the Women’s Center. Be open to new opportunities and be prepared, and remember, ‘You’ve got this!’ Reach out and help other women and future leaders along the way, and we will collectively continue to make great strides.”

Student Tiffany Warren received this year’s Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Award, named for the founding coordinator of the Women’s Center.

Warren, pursuing an Associate of Science in Business Administration, maintains a 3.7 GPA. She is a senator for the Virginia Beach Campus Student Government Association and the youngest member of the Women’s Center’s Women Inspiring Self Empowerment Leadership Development program.

Warren with her mentor Penny Sanchez.

Dominion Energy was the presenting sponsor for the breakfast with Bonita Billingsley Harris serving as the event host.

The Women’s Center, established in 1993, serves as a resource on women’s issues and works to promote an atmosphere of diversity. The center offers comprehensive, specialized services to educate, empower, and engage women so they can define, pursue and achieve their academic and personal goals.

To donate to the “25 for 25” campaign, click here or  contact Jeanne Natali, director of the Women’s Center, at

TCC graduate found her passion to serve while in college

Shorntail Goodrich came to Tidewater Community College to retrain for a new career. She spent her 20s and 30s working as an apartment complex manager and later as an identification clerk for Norfolk Police Department.

“With no degree, I was stuck in low-paying jobs,” she said. “You can have a great work ethic and think you will be moving up. But all I saw was more responsibility, and no more pay.”

Today Goodrich is an administrative assistant for the Norfolk Community Services Board and plans to start her own nonprofit.

Goodrich, 42, came to TCC to prepare for a career in management. On May 12, she will walk the stage at the Ted Constant Convocation Center to receive her Associate of Science in Business Administration.

Shorntail Goodrich accepts her leadership award from Linda Berardi, chair of the Women's Center Advisory Council.
Shorntail Goodrich accepts her leadership award from Linda Berardi, chair of the Women’s Center Advisory Council.

She found her passion working with Hearts Full of Grace, a nonprofit organization providing support for individuals and families coping with food and housing instability.

Aside from providing meals and clothing for those experiencing homelessness, the group hosts empowerment workshops for individuals in transition, and gives toiletry bags to those in need.

“My original thought was go to TCC and further my education and then get a job in a big corporation or bank,” she said.

Encouragement from Emanuel Chestnut, dean of students on the Norfolk Campus, and Jennifer Dixon-McKnight, professor of history, led her to re-examine her direction.

“I really have a heart to serve,” Goodrich said. “I see myself opening my own nonprofit, an extended-stay center to help clients get back on their feet. I see it as a road back home for those facing homelessness, where they can learn basic life skills and gain job training to become self-sufficient again.”

While at TCC, Goodrich served as vice president and president of Alliance of Excellence (AOE), an empowerment and community service club on the Norfolk Campus. In her first year, she organized an anti-bullying campaign and earned “Student Leader of the Year.”

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

Alliance of Excellence human trafficking panel members included Adriana Mirarchi, special agent, Homeland Security Investigations; Courtney Pierce, Samaritan House, human trafficking grant coordinator; Ebony Velazquez, Attorney General’s office of human trafficking, task force coordinator; Shorntail Goodrich, TCC student; Krista Fulton, Norfolk deputy commonwealth's attorney state prosecutor; and Rebecca Stone, Norfolk Police Department, task force officer.
AOE human trafficking panel members included Adriana Mirarchi, Homeland Security Investigations; Courtney Pierce, Samaritan House; Ebony Velazquez, Attorney General’s office of human trafficking; Shorntail Goodrich, TCC student; Krista Fulton, Norfolk  Commonwealth Attorney’s office; and Rebecca Stone, Norfolk Police Department.

She also served as vice president of the Student Government Association and was the 2018 Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Award recipient, named for the founding coordinator of the Women’s Center.

Goodrich was also honored with an Exemplar Award by the Hampton Roads Gazette for going above and beyond in serving her neighbors.

“Shorntail is a person who rises to the task time and time again with grace and humility. I’m inspired by all that she has accomplished here at Tidewater Community College,” said Dixon-McKnight, also a faculty advisor for AOE.

Goodrich tried college right after high school with little success. “I was older and wiser this time,” she said with a laugh. “This time I found TCC to be like a village with people checking up on me, investing in my success.”

Goodrich credits her husband, Dante, with “being her rock.”

“It was really hard to go back to school after 23 years. I had to take a step of faith and really trust God with my future,” she said. “My husband encouraged me and told me that I would have a job before graduation. And I do!”

“If I can do it, anyone can do it. Just take advantage of every resource TCC has to offer and see what you can do.”