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Some people fall into a career. Some are driven toward a job since childhood. For The Weather Channel's EVP Shirley Powell, it was Woody Woodpecker.
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Shirley says she began her PR career with Universal Studios in Orlando because at the time it was known as the Hollywood of the South. And like any young, single professional, she began to date other ?professionals.? That's when her biggest career change came about. ?Dating in Orlando is a challenge. I dated a guy who told me he was an actor, and we found out he was Woody Woodpecker at a theme park. So I knew it was time for me to leave Orlando.? Shirley's story was one of the many anecdotes shared by our panel at Friday's Power Women of Atlanta event.
And here's a pic of the  most of the crew  at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead, including Cox Communications' Mae Douglas, The Preiss Co's Donna Preiss, Shirley, and our moderator, Hartman Simons' partner Debra Thompson.
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Mae told an  audience of more than 200 that the best career advice she ever received was when a boss told her to loosen up. ?I think one of the obstacles for me is the fact that I was always so serious in life. Now I probably haven't loosened up to the extent that I can because I am what I am to the core,? she says.
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Our panelists say the  glass ceiling does still exist in the world for women professionals. But support among women can help alleviate that, especially if you have patience, Ann says. She cites her involvement in various non-profits where she had to work up through committees to become the chairwoman, while it was quite the opposite for prominent men. ?The men often because of their own professional titles leapfrog in and become the chair,? she says. ?I think a lot of it is your point of view and your patience and perseverance. Never give up.?
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Student housing development magnate Donna Preiss  says part of the issue lies with  hiring managers. It's natural for someone to want to hire, even subconsciously, someone like himself. Plus, many women are  too cautious to advance beyond a certain point. ?As women, we need to  take responsibility  a little bit and figure out what's important to us. To really advance, you sometimes have to take risks, and as women, we're adverse to risk,? she says.
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Speaking of The Weather Channel, Shirley says the network will be undergoing a major renovation  of its HQ at 300 Interstate North Parkway in the Cumberland submarket. In fact, The Weather Channel is  interviewing architects  for interior renovations right now, and a decision should be reached in the coming weeks. The Weather Channel owns its office building and houses some  700 employees  in it, including its broadcasting facilities.
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Here is our  valued event sponsor the pros at Servcorp. Alex Tharp, Allison Livezey, Angela Yarnish,  and  Kristin Cooper tell us they're now offering  20% commissions to brokers through August at either its 12th and Midtown or Terminus 200 spaces.