To help students advance their professional and social skills, Spelman College has launched the competitive advantage seminar, a noncredit course for juniors and seniors.  The students are given the necessary tools and techniques that will help prepare them to embrace different social and professional situations with confidence.

Led by Harriette Watkins, C’70, senior adviser to President Beverly Daniel, the seminar covered three modules: manners, confidence and style.  During the sessions, students learned table setting and manners for all occasions, appropriate attire for business, social and casual events, and how to present with confidence.

“These students enrolled on their own accord,” said Watkins.  “They don’t receive credit hours or any special recognition on their transcripts, but they recognize the need to learn and understand those ‘unwritten rules’ to help them move to the next level in their lives.”

Sheniece Graham, C’2011, was glad she signed up.  “I most enjoyed the etiquette lesson on how to use different things at the dining table.  There were a lot of things I learned that I was doing wrong,” said the economics major of the manners module, which culminated in an awards luncheon, co-sponsored by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, where the students received certificates and shared testimonies about their experience.

As part of the style module, Spelman partnered with Macy’s Inc. on Tuesday March 22 to host a fashion show that featured appropriate and inappropriate attire for various occasions.

A career advice panel discussion, drawings and giveaways provided by Macy’s followed the fashion show.  “For several years Macy’s has played a significant role in the professional development of Spelman women through sponsorship,” said Harold Bell, Spelman’s director of Career Planning and Development. “They immediately agreed to co-sponsor both the culminating awards luncheon, as well as the spring 2011 fashion show.”

To provide further exposure,  the competitive advantage participants attended the S.C.L.C. Women Inc. 32nd Annual Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner on Monday, April 4. The students were especially inspired and motivated by the first African-American all-female flight crew that was honored, particularly Spelman alumna 1st Officer Stephanie Grant, C’86.  – Danita McClain, C’2003, is the communications assistant in the Office of Communications.
View a slide show of the Competitive Advantage Fashion Show.