12 business leaders honored at awards luncheon

By Andy Owens
aowens@scbiznews.com
Published July 17, 2014

Hundreds of business and community members honored 12 influential leaders in business and industry today in North Charleston.

The Charleston Regional Business Journal hosted the 2014 Influential Women in Business awards luncheon at Charleston Plaza Hotel in North Charleston.

June Bradham, president of Corporate DevelopMint began the event, which also features stories from the top volunteers, rising stars, executives and CEOs.

June Bradham said in her keynote speech at the 2014 Influential Women in Business awards luncheon that she more often has asked forgiveness than permission in achieving her career goals. (Photo/Kim McManus)
June Bradham said in her keynote speech at the 2014 Influential Women in Business awards luncheon that she more often has asked forgiveness than permission in achieving her career goals. (Photo/Kim McManus)
“Some of the things that you are doing is amazing — and why don’t we know each other?” Bradham asked the dozen honorees who were seated at the front of the stage.

Bradham recounted how her career and personal life crossed over a series of tipping points where she either seized opportunity or was forced to make decisions when circumstances threatened to overwhelm her. Bradham was the top honoree in the CEO category when Influential Women in Business Awards was launched by the Business Journal in 2008.

Bradham said she found herself newly divorced at 33 years old and with three children, but because she’d worked previously, she was able to re-enter the workforce and became the director of 600 volunteers at Hilton Head Hospital.

“I was in an era when women were not necessarily in the corner office,” she said.

The hospital was great about sending her places and giving her opportunities for professional development, though as a single mother with three children, getting to those places required logistical problem-solving.

During one conference with legendary high school football coach Mooney Player, she arrived in the middle of his speech and took a seat near the front. He pointed directly at her and asked, “Where are you going to be in three years?”

She looked back at him and said, “I’ll be making $30,000 a year,” which was twice what she was making at the time.

“I don’t know where it came from,” Bradham said. “He said, ‘You can, you know.’”

She said she didn’t hear anything else he said; instead, she kept thinking that her career choices were up to her and that she had to “get it done.”

At that tipping point, she saw a need for public relations and marketing at the hospital, so she began doing it.

“I knew if I asked permission, they were going to say ‘no,’ so I just started a public relations division at the hospital,” Bradham said.

Soon after, the hospital’s leadership saw what she was accomplishing and asked how she was doing it. She suggested a title change, and they offered her a raise, but it wasn’t that $30,000 goal she had set for herself, so she held out and got the money.

That was five months after she declared in public to Player that she was going to double her salary. Six months after that, she launched a career in health care marketing and doubled it again.

“I found it easier to get forgiveness than ask permission,” Bradham said.

In the 1980s, Bradham met her second husband, who died last year, and they started Corporate DevelopMint with $400 from her and $600 from him. She teared up talking about him and the loss.

Corporate DevelopMint now has a new president, which has freed her up to travel around the world as a consultant. Recently she was in Australia, and she plans to travel to Bali, Turkey and Amsterdam where she’ll be attending a conference of fundraising professionals.

“Just like you’re here, I’m going to network with international fundraising people and find my next gig,” Bradham said, and then added, “And you can too.”

2014 Influential Women in Business Honorees

Volunteer

  • Jane Perdue, Braithwaite Innovation Group
  • Andrea Limehouse, Limehouse Produce
  • Janie Kramer, Roper St. Francis

Rising Star

  • Ella Fleming Stephens, Roper St. Francis
  • Ginny Carson, Life Cycle Engineering
  • Dee Ford, Medical University of South Carolina

Executive

  • Mary Thornley, Trident Technical College
  • Jamee Haley, Lowcountry Local First
  • Laura Evans, Smith Moore Leatherwood

CEO

  • Rebecca Ufkes, UEC Electronics
  • Ronda Dean, Afaxys
  • Heather Butler, Pediatric Medical Solutions
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