Passion with a purpose drives women’s success

By Jonathan Alexander
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

“Do what you love and make a difference” summarizes the message shared at a recent luncheon for women in Durham.

Charlotte McKines answers questions and engages the audience at the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Luncheon held at the Durham Hilton on Oct. 26. (Staff photo by Jonathan Alexander)

Charlotte McKines tells aspiring business women and current women in the workforce to strive for “passion with a purpose.”

McKines shared this message on Oct. 26, at the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Luncheon Series.

McKines, a Vice President of Global Marketing Communications for Merck &Co., was awarded Ebony magazine’s Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications Award, and Merck’s “Global Diversity Award.”

“She is one of the most highly regarded African American females in the Private Sector Corporation,” said President and CEO of Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Casey Steinbacher. “We value our diversity and anything we can do to grow.”

The event was designed to bring business and community leaders together in a dynamic setting to hear from influential and successful businesswomen.

Participants began with lunch which allowed people time to network and talk about opportunities to work together.

McKines then spoke, emphasizing the mindset that has contributed to her success.  She advised participants to make sure they have an “attitude of gratitude” and to “turn their success into significance.”

“The more we’re grateful, the more we feel grateful for,” she told the audience.  “It’s not all about the Benjamins.”

She also encouraged women to mentor others.

Participants left feel motivated and inspired.

“I think it is absolutely crucial that women have people within various career fields that can speak to them, speak to leadership and help inspire us moving forward so that we remember to help others as we’re moving forward in our careers,” said Lesa Melvin, Business Development Director at Creative Visions.

McKines was a first generation college student, with a BS in Medical Technology at Kent State University in Ohio, and a MBA in Health Management from Boston University. She says her aunts were very influential and helped put her through school.

She has been with Merck since 1996 and moved her way up in the ranks of the pharmaceutical industry. She currently oversees all creative development, professional and consumer advertising, agency management and media planning and buying.

When one participant asked why she chose Merck, she replied that Merck had chosen her.

“I liked Merck because I was interviewed by women and African American men, and I like the culture there,” said McKines.

She asked participants almost as many questions as they asked her, allowing her to understand individual situations better and respond more personally.

“I really appreciate how so down-to-earth she was,” said DeLisa Lee, a senior training consultant. “It was so engaging and active. Usually people don’t do that and ask the audience questions themselves.”

She gave some special advice to students. “Follow your passions and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Move around and experience different things. Know that if you go to a company and if it’s not the right fit, and don’t be afraid to move on.”

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