Monday, July 26, 2004

Support group founder makes career of caring


Finding solutions: Role model for women

By Janet Wetzel
Enquirer contributor

When Linda Bates Parker entered the business world she was talented, eager and confident.

[img]
Linda Bates Parker president and founder of Black Career Women.
(Enquirer photo/TONY JONES)
But she soon found that, as one of the first black women in market research for a large local company, she faced many unexpected barriers and challenges. Trying to find her way in a new career, with no role models, mentors or support system, was lonely, almost overwhelming. But she was determined, and she persevered to become a success story.

Those experiences strengthened her. But they also made her realize the trials facing other young career women, particularly minorities, and inspired her to work to pave the way for others.

In 1977 she founded Black Career Women to help women with career-oriented problems. A volunteer all these years, she's president of the group, which does career counseling and holds workshops. Since 1997 Black Career Women has hosted the every-other-year, multicultural women's forum "Can We Talk," to reach out to women across the country.

"We believed the timing was right for a black women's group to extend its hand and say, 'Let's work together to improve the work place for all women,' " Parker said. This year's eventwill be Sept. 16-17 at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati, downtown.

Parker, the mother of two and grandmother of two who lives with her husband, Breland, in Kennedy Heights, serves on steering committees, including the Greater Cincinnati Foundation Women's Fund, Universal Sisters and Leading Women.

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Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone in your community dedicated to making your community a better place to live and helping others? E-mail: Janet Wetzel at jjwetzel@siscom.net; fax: (513) 755-4150.




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