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Women’s History Month: Cumberland Valley Profiles, Part 3

This week we continue celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing profiles of female leadership in the region. In this week’s third installment, the women offer their thoughts on the importance of building support systems, impactful books on personal growth and development, and education or training opportunities that helped them along their journey.

Christine Titih is the owner of CT Home Care Services. She is also the President and Founder of Oaks of Central PA which works to empower, promote, and advocate for the African immigrant and refugee community in central Pennsylvania.

Safronia Perry is the Executive Director of Hope Station which is a non-profit organization that services low-income families through programs and cultural events.

What qualities make a great leader?

Christine: 1) The love and care of others. Constantly looking to bring out the best in others when they don’t even know about it or feel like it. 2) Humility. Treating everyone with respect and dignity.  3) Teachable. Constantly being in the state of learning.

Safronia: Listening to your staff & partners as well as lifting up other women is what makes a great female leader.

What experiences, training, or education best prepared you for your role?

Christine: Above all, the best experience so far, which I would greatly recommend, is that of having a mentor. I have had a mentor now for the past 6 years and it has been extremely beneficial. A mentor is there to help you set goals and achieve them, while bringing the best out of you and teaching you valuable skills.

Safronia: I am a 2018 alum of Leadership Cumberland, attended a 4 day Leadership training in Cleveland, Ohio, and  started my career as a board member for Hope Station. I believe in learning, so I have also attended non-profit training and I’ve taken humanities classes through Messiah College.

What do you wish you had known early in your career?

Christine: Financial education is important- the importance of knowing your numbers and being in control of your cash flow is of utmost importance in business. And the earlier you start the better it gets.

Safronia: I wish that I had known without a doubt that I could do the job. I was insecure and really did know the power that I would eventually assume.

What has helped you most during your career?

Christine: Having a community of like-minded women as a support system. That is the driving force behind EmergeHer, a program under my non-profit which is focused on building a platform for minority women in business to connect, network and collaborate among themselves. We can only go far when we go together.

Safronia: Networking and building relationships has been key. I also had a female mentor, and they gave me the opportunity to vent when I needed and get great feedback.

What female public figure, past or present, inspires you and why?

Christine: Shirley Chislom. I was living by her quote: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair” way before I knew who she was and what her story was. I am inspired by her tenacity – the boldness in breaking barriers, being a catalyst for change and her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities.

Safronia: Ava Duvernay inspires me because she produced a show on the OWN Network and made sure only women directed all the episodes.

What book has had the most impact on you and your career?

Christine: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. I have read the book several times over the last 5 years.

Safronia: There are 2: “The Pivot” by Shawn Ginwright & “Alternative” by Mauricio Miller.

What piece of advice would you give to young girls/women interested in your industry?

Christine: Discover that one thing you were meant to do – your purpose. Let your passion be the fuel to guide you to discover what your purpose is. Focus on your purpose. When you are passionate about something, you develop the resilience to get up each morning and work for it. You are inspired to look for better ways of doing it. Let your purpose guide your decisions and you would become the better version of yourself.

Safronia: The best advice that I can give is to not be afraid to continue to learn. It is important in how you lead. Surround yourself with people who support you, step outside of your comfort zone and take some chances. Ask for advice and use your voice. Other women and girls are watching you even when you don’t realize it.

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