About Us

At the Center for Women, we educate and advocate for women in the greater Charleston area who seek to achieve economic success and leadrship in their careers and personal lives. Our program focus areas include: Personal Empowerment Youth Empowerment Professional Development Entrepreneurship Education and Awareness Annual Women’s Conference Tell us what’s important to you and we can help you find your path. Learn. Thrive. Succeed.



Lisa Dabney, Executive Director  lisa.dabney@c4women.org 843-972-3055


Melanie Frank, Executive Assistant & Board Liasion  melanie.frank@c4women.org 843-972-3052


Angela Heissenbuttle, Bookkeeper  accounting@c4women.org 843-972-3080



Leila Shebaro, Communications & Grants Manager leila.shebaro@c4women.org 843-972-3384


Nadia Stieglitz, Program Manager   nadia.stieglitz@c4women.org 843-972-3451


We are so honored to have community members and volunteers serving on our board of directors and working to help ensure better lives for the women in our community.

Board of Directors


Sonya Wyatt, President
CEO, Palmetto Digestive Health Specialists


LB Adams, Secretary
Founder, Trainer & Communication Catalyst, Practical Dramatics


Brandy Sutherland, Treasurer
Accounting Manager, WestRock




Janet Bates
Director of Marketing, CF Evans Construction


Caroline Collins
Human Resources Manager, Republic Services


Lisa Dabney
Executive Director, Center for Women (Ex Officio)


Jenny Dennis
Chief Operating Officer, Trio Solutions


Cassandra “Sandee” Jackson
CEO/Creative Director, 2911 Creative LLC


Sherry Jordan
Director of Infrastructure & Operations, Blackbaud, Inc.


Emily-Elise Martin
Student Employment Services, Trident Technical College


Frances Santiago
Practice Manager, Coastal Carolina Bariatric & Surgical Center

Kelsey Willey
Managing Attorney, Willey Law Firm

  • Susan Parsons
  • Mary Peck Hewlett
  • Harriet Smartt
  • Kathi Flowers
  • Nancy Currey
  • Brenda Hewell
  • Kitty Robinson
  • Jan Shealy Wallen
  • Beth Huntley
  • Sunny Gray
  • Laura Bright
  • Susan Romaine
  • Doretha Walker
  • Shari Stauch
  • Jane Perdue
  • Virginia Mandel

Check out some great articles written about Center for Women


Inclusion Statement

It is the policy of the C4W to be inclusive, to provide a safe environment in which women of any race or persuasion feel free to express their views, discuss their concerns and find answers to the questions their lives pose to them. It is with this in mind that the Board of Directors and Staff believe that the C4W should not issue policy statements endorsing any one particular political or social issue. Such endorsements would in effect negate the purpose for which the C4W was founded: to provide any woman, regardless of race, political or religious affiliation, or sexual orientation, with services that will enable her to fulfill her greatest human potential in accordance with her own personal belief system. As a result, it is the C4W’s policy to offer the broadest range of services possible in accordance only with sound fiscal practices. The C4W does believe, however, that advocacy in the form of disseminating information on issues women face is also part of its mission and it is its policy to strive to ensure that the information the C4W provides is accurate and reflects the views, to the greatest extent possible, of the women it serves.

Check out our GuideStar profile for financial and accountability information.

Our History

The Center for Women was founded in 1990 as “The Center for Women in Transition,” and became a registered non-profit in 1992. Originally established as a counseling center, the organization aimed “to help women develop positively in their personal growth, productiveness, and general well-being.” Staffed only a by a director and dedicated volunteers, we offered individual and family counseling, support groups, skill-based groups, and enrichment programs. Founding members included Susan Parsons and Director Beth Harrison. In 1996, under Director Patricia Goodwin, the Center’s staff grew to include a Volunteer Coordinator and Publicity Director, and our program offerings expanded to accommodate women’s changing roles and needs. While counseling remained the focus of the organization, we added an educational lunch series that covered topics such as Anger Management, Financial Planning, and Math for Life. In 1998, the Center moved from downtown Charleston to West Ashley, and came under the direction of Linda Toporek. By 2001, we were serving more than 2,000 women annually through counseling and workshops.

In the following years, under Director Jennet Robinson Alterman, the organization further developed as a hub for women to access networking opportunities, information, and referrals. In 2007, we moved to the house on Cannon Street that would be our home for 10 years. The iconic green house was dedicated to Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi, whose foundation made the move possible. From there, our services continued to expand beyond the city of Charleston to Mt. Pleasant and as far as Summerville. After another move in 2017, we’re back in West Ashley, but our mission hasn’t changed. As we continue to grow with the community around us, we look forward to providing opportunities for coming generations of women in the Lowcountry to learn, thrive, and succeed.