CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia and, more specifically, Charleston have produced no shortage of women who have brought about change. A panel of female community leaders came together Wednesday afternoon to discuss the impact many women have had throughout history, while urging women in attendance to become a part of that tradition.
Elevations Academy is an annual networking and professional development event hosted by the Charleston Area Alliance that encourages women to take on leadership roles in the workplace, as well as the community.
The panel spoke about women in a variety of manners, from women who mobilized change in Charleston to dishing out advice on how to become a community leader.
Virginia Rugeley, of The Junior League of Charleston, recounted the organization's involvement in a 1960s low-income housing project. As the city's three interstates were planned, Charleston started to experience a housing crisis, Rugeley said.
The league, along with the First Baptist Church Vandalia<co >, partnered to sponsor a housing project as part of Federal Housing Authority and Housing and Urban Development programs. The experience would reveal shortfalls and corruption neither the Junior League nor the church expected, Rugeley said.
The project was declared dead three times throughout the four years it took to make it happen, Rugeley recounted. The group met multiple times with federal lawmakers to ensure the project would be completed.
"We made a lot of people mad, because we pointed out a lot of the problems we'd run into along the way," she said.
Katie Rugeley, who is the granddaughter of Virginia Rugeley and a recent college graduate, attended the event in order to network.
The Charleston native launched a monogramming and embroidery business last June, she said, and found Wednesday's stories empowering.
"It's all very helpful," she said of the speakers' advice from throughout the day. "It's just nice to see all these women and how they've had successful careers, and I hope to do the same."