Subscribe today for free

Insert your email address and click subscribe.

About | Underwriters | Archives | Subscribe | Submit | Contact | HOME
Issue 1.90 | Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 | Ahh, less humidity

These California grapes are about to be picked and made into wine. Check out publisher Andy Brack's commentary on a great trip to the Napa Valley region over the weekend. Be prepared to learn something about wine. (Photo by Andy Brack.)

:: Developing your personal brand


:: Harvest time in Napa Valley

:: Send in your thoughts

:: Citadel football

:: Lowcountry feast, Museum, more


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next

___:: REVIEW: Send us a review

___:: HISTORY: Praise houses

___:: QUOTE: Stevenson on freedom

___:: SPOTLIGHT: Meet an underwriter


ABOUT US is a new online twice-weekly publication that offers insightful community comment and good news on events. It cuts through the information clutter to offer insight and news on the best of what's happening locally. More | Reader testimonials


Think like a free agent: Develop your 'personal brand'
Special to

OCT. 1, 2009 -- In an ideal world, hard work and dedication set individuals apart from one another, prove them worthy of promotion or land the candidate a job. Instead, reality has taught us that this may not always be the case, especially in a competitive environment. These days, everyone is looking for that extra boost to get ahead.



When most of our parents hit the job market, they did so with the expectation that they would find a position with a company and stay there for their entire career. In the early 1990s, corporations began merging and purging, and employees realized that they were expendable. Bounced onto the job lines for the first time, many had only their personal contacts to seek a job and had never thought of how to market themselves as a job candidate.

In the most recent economic downturn, people turned out of a job who have marketed themselves as a brand, just as a corporation would do, are finding it easier to secure the next position or to start up their own professional endeavor. In the world of professional sports, free agents have long sought to call attention to their individual skills, not just the team they play for. By doing this, the individual was the marketable commodity, not the team. Being a free agent or brand enhances one's opportunities.

While some may define a brand as a logo, tagline or packaging design for a specific product or a business; the currently acceptable definition of a brand is the sum of a person's experience with a product, corporation or service. It is every experience a consumer has, from the interaction with customer service to the colors of the logo and the function of the products.

Personal branding workshop

The American Business Women's Association will offer a workshop called "Developing a Personal Brand" at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Clubhouse at Wescott Plantation in North Charleston. Shauna M. Heathman of Mackenzie Image Consulting and Cheryl Smithem of Strategic Marketing and Public Relations will lead the program. Oct. 3 is the deadline to reserve a spot.

Workshop attendees will learn the skills to assess their brand and find out how to capitalize on their brand. The event isn't limited to job seekers; any professionals who want to enhance the way they're perceived are welcome.

The cost is $20 for ABWA members and $25 for nonmembers and includes a plated dinner. Advance registration and payment are required. To register or learn more, contact ABWA President Kathy Berman at 795-9751 or by e-mail. Send registration payments (check or cash) to P.O. Box 32338, Charleston, SC 29417, in care of ABWA/Kathy Berman.

A brand is the "resonance" that remains following interaction with any aspect of the product, service or company. Therefore, a brand is not a tangible item but a perception that can be shaped by the qualities of interaction.

In recent years, the broad understanding of a brand and the concept of a free agent have merged into a new way of presenting oneself to the employment market.

This relatively new concept -- personal branding -- has hit the mainstream, and people are using it to get ahead. Distinguishing yourself with a personal brand can be a significant tool for any individual looking to build credibility.

Creating a personal brand is a way for individuals to market themselves in such a way that it makes them unique yet easily identifiable by others. Branding yourself for success is about bringing your best attributes and work skills to the forefront. It provides a sense of control in that you can decide how you want to be perceived before others make that decision for you. It also offers an individual an identity that might otherwise get lost in the crowd.

Developing a personal brand allows individuals to create portable equity for themselves. Those who use personal branding well distinguish themselves, and interactions with them will further embed their brand in the psyches of those with whom they interact.

Prospective employees can learn how to utilize the same marketing tactics that have long been part of the toolkit of corporations. To help business people in the Charleston area learn these skills, the American Business Women's Association (ABWA) is presenting a workshop, "Developing a Personal Brand," on Oct. 12 (see the box with this article). The deadline to reserve a spot is Oct. 3. Please join us!

Shauna M. Heathman owns Mackenzie Image Consulting, which specializes in helping others build an effective personal brand through appearance, behavior and communication. Cheryl Smithem of Strategic Marketing and Public Relations has a diverse background in the development of marketing plans, public relations plans, strategic planning, brand development, and e-media development.

Trip to Napa Valley lifts the spirits (ahem!)

By ANDY BRACK, publisher

NAPA, Calif., Sept. 27, 2009 – If you don't know much about wine when you visit Napa Valley, that's OK – there are plenty of helpful people who will steer you in the right direction. In fact, there don't seem to be many directions that are wrong.

A weekend trip during harvest time in the California wine country served to lift the spirits (no pun intended) for me and my guide, an old college friend who is in the wine business. What we discovered on an all-day tour were family-run wine businesses that focus on making great, high-quality wine.

At Bell Wine Cellars in Yountville, winemaker Anthony Bell produces up to 15,000 cases of wine a year. A South African with an advanced degree in winemaking in California, Bell advocates making quality wines that take full advantage of a vineyard's particular climate, soil and type of grape.

“Wine is grown in the vineyard,” Bell explained in a brochure about his winery. “We are merely stewards of nature while the wine is in our cellar.”

The result of his blend of science and art: rich Cabernets, silky Syrahs and other wine that are delights to sample.

Later after a stop at a brew pub for lunch (one winemaker told us it takes a lot of beer drinking to make good wine), we visited with T'Anne Butcher, who grew up in the wine business and today runs Wine Sensory Experience, a business in Calistoga that helps people appreciate different qualities in wine.

In her classes, students learn to appreciate how different shapes of glasses influence the smell of a wine. Glasses that are round and ball-shaped concentrate a wine's scent at the opening. Conversely, a cylinder-type glass allows smells to escape easier, which means it's harder to detect a wine's richness.

The globe-shaped glasses best concentrated the aromas of the wine.

“You're doing yourself a disservice if you buy cheap glassware and think it doesn't matter, because it does,” she said. A moderate-priced red wine served in a proper red wine globe (a big glass) likely will taste and smell much better than the same wine in a cheap glass.

Another thing T'Anne taught us: there are four different edges to a wine glass – tilted-in, tilted-out, straight-across and rounded. The edge controls how the wine hits the palate – in the middle part of the tongue or in the back or front. Who knew?

Jeff Bailey at Zahtila Vineyards outside Calistoga taught us another lesson. He gave us a few blind-tasting challenges to allow us to learn what we liked, based on the wine, not any information about it.

Perhaps the most interesting tasting involved two versions of a Cabernet Sauvignon. One bottle was $65 from grapes produced by a well-known grower whose grapes have been the basis of award-winning wine for 20 years. Another bottle was $35 from grapes produced by another grower on land just 400 yards from the first grower's parcel of land.

Was there a difference? Absolutely. We were stunned. (Bad news for me because I liked the more expensive one better.)

Finally, we stopped by Van Der Heyden Vineyards near Napa where winemaker Michael Gregg was kind enough to show us around his family's small operation that makes about 3,000 cases of specialty wines per year.

As he showed us cool fermentation tanks and acres of vines waiting to be picked in the next week, he explained how his winery was the only one in the world to produce a late harvest Cabernet. How? By leaving the grapes on the wine a few days longer than most operations, which causes flavors to become more concentrated. The result is a rich Cabernet that is much sweeter than most.

The bottom line from this trip: Good wine is that which tastes good to you. In the Napa Valley, there is a whole lot from which to choose. Talking with people about how they are making their wine is the best way to learn and enjoy. We'll be coming back.

Andy Brack, publisher of, can be reached at: According to Debbie Marlowe at The Wine Shop in Charleston, none of the winegrowers above appear to have wine on sale in the area, but you can contact them via the Web to learn more.

Send us a letter

Have a comment or want to vent? If you have something to say about leadership in South Carolina, the state of baseball today, good barbecue or something about your community's government, drop us a line to: Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information (phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.

Charleston RiverDogs

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountry’s leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 26-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Three short words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter phrase “Fun Is Good” is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination of the fans to turn them into repeat customers. Call them today at (843) 723-7241 or visit online at:

Field trip, farm supper to benefit Lowcountry Local First

The first Lowcountry Field Feast, a field trip to a Walterboro farm along with farm tours and a dinner prepared by national award-winning chef Mike Lata of FIG, will take place Oct. 11, with proceeds benefiting Lowcountry Local First.

The event will take local residents to Keegan Filion farm, which raises chickens, turkeys and pigs that are gaining a wide reputation for the quality and for the farm's commitment to sustainable agriculture. Guests should arrive at the farm between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and will have a chance to enjoy cocktails before a farm tour. The seated supper begins at 5 p.m.

The Field Feast menu will include free-range meats from Keegan Filion, seasonal ingredients from local farmers and growers, organic wines from Yellow + Blue, and signature Field Feast cocktails from Single Barrel.

Tickets are $125 per person. For details or tickets, go online for more.

Lowcountry Local First is a Charleston based nonprofit that builds awareness of the importance of supporting local independent businesses and farms. The organization's Sustainable Agriculture Initiative and Farm Fresh Food program focus on strengthening local farms and producers by creating partnerships with local restaurants, institutions and the community.

Museum offers Halloween evening event for youngsters

What happens at the Charleston Museum at night? Does the mummy walk the corridors? Do the Revolutionary War soldier mannequins camp out? Kids can find out the surprising answers at "Nighttime at the Museum: Halloween Edition" from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30 at the museum.

The event will feature glimpses of rarely seen animal mounts, fencing demonstrations, a colonial nautical touch table, new historical figures, and an elaborate scavenger hunt. Kids will be able to make Halloween crafts, including a trick-or-treat bag. Guests of all ages can also learn about the Museum's funerary and mourning collection, see some "killer" fashions from the textile collection, get spooked by Egyptian artifacts and more. Participants are welcome to dress as their favorite animal or historic character, or to wear their Halloween costume.

Tickets are $10 per member adult, $20 per nonmember adult, $5 per member child and $10 per non-member child; those younger than 3 get in free. A light pizza supper is included with the ticket price. Registration is required and can be handled online or by phone, 722- 2996, ext. 264.

Local TV show looking for inspiring Lowcountry women

Know an inspiring local woman? WLCN TV Charleston wants to know her, too. The station is offering a new show called "Daughters of Charleston" that will feature women who live in the Charleston area who are helping to make the community a better place.

WLCN is looking for interesting and inspiring guests: women who volunteer for nonprofits, run a small business, or are involved in the arts and are willing to share their experiences or showcase their talents.

"Daughters of Charleston" is filmed live at the WLCN studios every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. and will air starting Oct. 15. To learn more about the show, call 518-0195 or send an e-mail.

Send us your opinion

HAVE A REVIEW? If you have a review of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.

Praise houses

"Praise houses" (sometimes called "prayer houses") functioned on antebellum South Carolina plantations as both the epitome of slave culture and symbols of resistance to slaveholders' oppressive version of Christianity. Generally simple, clapboard structures built by the slaves themselves, praise houses were erected with the knowledge, if not always the complete approval, of the master class. Meetings in the praise house usually occurred on week nights rather than on Sunday mornings. Pious masters preferred that their slaves be in attendance at white-dominated churches where sermons buttressed the slave system with carefully chosen scriptural texts.

Moving Star Hall on Johns Island

The simple architectural aesthetic of the praise house mirrored the nonliturgical style of slave religion. Enslaved Christians favored empty space over altars, kneelers, pulpits, and sometimes even chairs and pews. The resulting sparseness provided the slaves more room for "ring shouts" during often all-night sessions of prayer and song. Frederick Law Olmsted recalled visiting one South Carolina rice plantation where the master had attempted to provide the plantation praise house with "seats having a back-rail," only to be informed by the slaves that this would not "leave them room enough to pray."

Weddings, funerals, and other activities centered on the praise house. Following emancipation, some of these structures continued to serve the freedmen, providing them with a place for schools and public meetings.

The very existence of praise houses in South Carolina indicates that masters failed in their attempt to make the plantation a completely closed system. Even under the degrading conditions of slavery, religious life and practice strengthened and sustained the slave community. The building of the praise houses reveals the struggle of the enslaved to maintain their humanity in the midst of an inhuman system.

-- Excerpted from the entry by W. Scott Poole. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)


We encourage you to check out our sister publications:

SC Statehouse Report -- a weekly legislative forecast that keeps you a step ahead of what happens at the Statehouse. It's free.

SC Clips -- a daily news compilation of South Carolina news from media sources across the state. Delivered by email about the time you get to work every business day. Saves you a lot of money and time. Sign up for a free trial subscription today.

Georgia Clips offers a similar daily news compilation for the scores of newspapers in Georgia's 159 counties.

GwinnettForum -- an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

CREDITS is provided to you twice a week by:

Address: P.O. Box. 22261 | Charleston, SC 29413


We hope you'll keep receiving the great news and information from, but if you need to subscribe, click here.

© 2008-2009, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.

Bulldog football

The Citadel Bulldogs have a big home game on Saturday at 1 p.m. against perennial Southern Conference rival Appalachian State. Citadel football games are always great family events, thanks to the pageantry, pride and patriotism always displayed by the cadets and the crowds. Here are five Citadel football numbers from the 2009 Media Guide. If you want to take the kids and head out to the game, click here for ticket info.

  • 1905: First year that The Citadel played football.

  • 2: Southern Conference football championships won by the Bulldogs (1961, 1992).

  • 1-0: The Citadel's all-time record in bowl games (the Bulldogs beat Tennessee Tech 27-0 in the 1960 Tangerine Bowl).

  • 23,025: Largest crowd at Johnson Hagood Stadium (vs. Marshall in 1992).

  • 19th: The Citadel's ranking nationwide among Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools when it came to attendance last year. During the 2008 season, 73,568 people attended Citadel games.

On true freedom


"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular."

-- Adlai E. Stevenson Jr., U.S. diplomat and Democratic politician (1900 - 1965)


MOJA Festival: Today through Oct. 4, various locations. Tickets are now on sale for the annual arts festival, which highlights black artists' contributions to dance, music, literary arts, visual arts, theater and the overall cultural community in Charleston. Schedules, tickets, more info:

Entertaining Charleston Style: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 30 through Nov. 18, Culinary Institute of Charleston's Palmer Campus, 66 Columbus St., Charleston. A series of short courses celebrating the many facets of entertaining with a focus on Charleston style and traditions. Guest presenters include hosts, event professionals, authors, collectors, stylists and other specialists known for their distinctive contributions to local hospitality and tourism. Light beverage and cocktail samplings will be provided. Cost: $149. More info/registration.

Pork and Politics in the Park: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. Mix and mingle with candidates for Mount Pleasant mayor and Town Council at this event sponsored by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. Cost: $30; includes food and beverages. Registration.

Fashion 4 Paws: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 1, The Landing on Shem Creek (former site of The Trawler). Fashion show featuring local retailers to benefit the Charleston Animal Society. The finale will be a pet parade featuring animals for adoption. Door prizes, freebies, food and cash bar. Go online to see a list of items that the animal society is requesting as donations. Admission: $5 at the door; tickets also available in advance from Lowcountry Plastic Surgery Center at 971-2860.

Solar Tour: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 3. As part of the National Solar Tour organized by the American Solar Energy Society, the S.C. Solar Council is organizing a solar tour in Charleston to showcase local homes and businesses that have decided to use solar energy. For more information about the sites and locations, learn more online.

Latin American Festival: Noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 4, Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston. Formerly called the Festival Hispano, the 18th annual festival, sponsored by Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, will feature Latino culture. Festival includes live music, folkloric dance groups, Brazilian martial arts, a salsa dance contest, crafts, events for kids, and food (including tamales, empanadas, chorizo, arroz con gandules, and jerk and curry chicken). Cost: $10 per person, or six Greenbax (free for ages 12 and younger). Tickets/info: 795-4FUN or check here online.


"Blithe Spirit": Various times, Oct. 7-Oct. 18, Sottile Theatre at the College of Charleston, 44 George St. Charleston Stage will present Noel Coward's classic ghostly comedy just in time for Halloween. The plot in brief: Charles is celebrating his second marriage when the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, shows up to join in the celebration. When his old wife and his new wife cross paths at a séance, spirits and tempers fly. Tickets: Online or call 577-7183.

(NEW) Mom to Mom Sale: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 10, National Guard Armory, 245 Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant. Sponsored by the MOMs Clubs of Mount Pleasant, the sale features toys, books, clothing, baby equipment, bedding, furniture and more from 100 different consigners. The event also includes a special half-off sale from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. for all remaining items. Proceeds will benefit the Charleston Autism Academy and Carolina Children's Charity. There is a $1 entry fee to the sale. Send e-mail for more information..

Teddy Bear Picnic: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11, Hampton Park. Free, family-focused event hosted by the Park Angels, the volunteer group of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. Events will include storytelling, face painting, crafts, music, a parade with children and their dressed-up teddy bears, and a booth where children can plant seeds. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, or attendees can bring their own picnic fare. More info: 724-5003 or visit online.

Personal Branding Seminar: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 12, Wescott Plantation Clubhouse, 5000 Wescott Club Drive, Summerville. Sponsored by the Summerville chapter of the American Business Women's Association (ABWA), the program is open to the public and will ABWA members Shauna Heathman of Mackenzie Image Consulting and Cheryl Smithem of Strategic Marketing & Charleston PR, experts on personal image, strategic marketing and public relations. They will be discussing the significance of building an effective and appealing personal brand to help you reach your career goals. Cost: $20 ABWA members, $25 nonmembers; price includes dinner and tea or water. Register by Oct. 3 by contacting Kathy Berman by email or at 795-9751.

Growth Forum: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 20, Charleston Marriott. Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Growth Forum will have recommendations from the city of Charleston’s Green Committee (CGC), which is advising the city in the creation of a local action plan for climate protection and sustainability. Charleston County Deputy Administrator Kurt Taylor will provide an update on major road projects that are being funded through the half-cent sales tax program. Cost: $45 chamber members, $60 nonmembers. To register: visit this Web page.

(NEW) Making Great Presentations: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 20, Center for Women, 129 Cannon St. The Entrepreneurial Woman Series, which focuses on helping women create, manage and build businesses, will look at how to make a great presentation and maximize your time in front of a client or customer. Debbie Cooler of Dale Carnegie and Claire Gibbons of Powerspeak Communications will lead the program. Cost: $20 for CFW members, $40 nonmembers. Register online.

Museum Picnic: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25, Dill Sanctuary, 1163 Riverland Drive, James Island. The Friends and Needed Supporters (FANS) of the Charleston Museum will host their annual family picnic, which includes nature walks, live bluegrass by the Eagle Creek Band, a Lowcountry dinner (fried chicken, ham, red rice, etc.), a touch tank with marine animals, games, hayrides and demonstrations by experts from the Center for Birds of Prey. Cost (all-inclusive): $15 FANS member adults; $20 nonmember adults; $7 for children; free for ages 5 and under. Advance reservations are required; call 722-2996, ext. 264, or register online through the calendar. 

(NEW) The Red Party: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 29, Old City Jail, 21 Magazine St. The American College of the Building Arts will present the party, during which the always-spooky Old City Jail will be transformed into a rich red venue. Attendees are asked to dress in red and wear masks. The event features a raffle and silent auction with items such as luxury trips to Africa and the Caribbean. DJ Arthur Brouthers will provide music for guests to dance to on a color-changing, illuminated dance floor. Open bar; food by Carolina Catering. Tickets: $55 in advance, $65 at the door. To purchase, call 577-5245, visit online or e-mail Brittany Darwin.


12/23: Christian: Mannie's story
Bender: Polar Plunge prep
Brooks: Homes for Christmas
Doll: Enjoy holidays sans lbs.
Yarian: Instruments of Hope
De Armas: Latin biz expo
Blevins: Autism
Hutchisson: Giving
Barnette: Nutcracker
Franklin: Reverse mortgages
Wutzdorff: Be a principal
Haley: Buying local
McCutcheon: Work gap
Ohl: On carpooling
Wiedman: Women at Gibbes
10/26: Matouchev: Bear markets
Conover: BarCamp buzz
Wilson: Symphony update
Bender: Special Olympics
Baron: Breast Center
Ginn: Growing prosperity
Buffum: Waterkeeping
Personal branding


12/17: Cookbook, shopping
The Pig's wines
Neat shopping
LowCANtry holiday
Hawks vs. doves
Improving turnout
10/29: Celebrating a year
10/22: Good, bad signs
10/15: Bob's new food show
10/8: Robot ice cream
10/5: Costumes, snarks
Must-see TV
9/17: Fall leaves
Cold comfort, more
Being a fan
Good, bad, spineless
Locals on Runway
Cookie contest
Vote on car tags
True confessions
New way of tithing?
Lookout for manatees


12/23: Photographer Meyer
Ain't over on Sanford
Back off a little
Sanford presses on
Now is time for courage
Alliance's good news
SC's hidden gems
Boeing highlights needs
No place for prejudice
Have fun at Halloween
Renovated Gaillard?
10/1: Napa wine trip
9/28: Anti-crime measures
9/21: Caw Caw park
Debris policy
Mystery solved
This and that
SC's treasures
8/17: RIP to old clunker
8/10: Lots to squeeze in
8/3: On flying Delta
7/27: Conspiracy theories
7/20: Protect carriage animals
7/13: Economic thaw here?


12/23: Blackbaud 5
4 on holiday lights
Five about oysters
Winter finds
Free parking
Holiday parades
Home fire stats
Being a tourist here
Growing your business
Electronics recycling
Beyond the lights
Weather watching
5 cooking classes
Best lists of year
Oyster recycling
Howl-o-ween fun
Giving blood
Top ratings
Major league
Book sale
Citadel football

About | Underwriters | Archives | Subscribe | Submit | Contact | HOME