Charlotte Women’s Initiative Update

By: Melisa Galasso, CPA, CGMA

The Women’s Initiative Steering Committee has been busy planning a lot of really great events around Charlotte.

In November, we held an educational wine-tasting event at Dresslers in Metropolitan. We started the evening off with networking and then turned it over to the sommelier. We then tasted a glass of champagne, a white wine, and a red wine. We learned about properly pairing wines and  even received gift-giving tips for the holidays from the sommelier.


One of the goals of the Women’s Initiative is to combine social activities with educational activities. Having the sommelier speak to us for an hour really boosted our confidence when it comes to wine selection. The event was such a hit we are planning another wine event this summer!

In December, we took a break from our normal quarterly book club luncheon and decided to have a panel discussion during lunch. Because our lunches have grown so popular, we had to move our locations. Going forward our lunches are being held at Maggianos in South Park. Our panel featured Jennifer Leary, CPA, Managing Partner of The Carolinas for CliftonLarsonAllen, and Donna Taylor, Chair Elect of the NCACPA and owner of Fulfillment Coaching & Consulting, LLC. Both ladies provided insight on finding that “balance.” Discussion topics included flexibility, setting expectations, and becoming comfortable with saying no. The panel was very successful and I must say the lunch was YUMMY!

In January, we decided to tackle something on everyone’s mind—stress! We had a breakfast at Zebra in SouthPark with a sold-out crowd of over 30 ladies. The topic at hand was Stress Relieving Techniques. Once we networked and enjoyed our breakfast, Grace Millsap from Be Yoga introduced us to a variety of breathing techniques that we could use to help us feel more grounded.


We then turned our attention to seated positions we could use at work to help us relieve stress. Grace has a background in science and some of the studies she shared really helped us to understand how important it is to tackle stress.

Once we were feeling balanced, we closed our session with a few standing poses. We left for work at a quarter to 9 feeling refreshed and ready to tackle our day. Grace was kind enough to also put together a list of poses and breathing techniques for us with directions so that we could take what we learned with us.


The Women’s Initiative is very excited for its upcoming events. In March, we plan to tackle the topic of time management. We’ll be returning to our book club format and will be discussing the Laura Vanderkam book titled What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home. I’ve read the book previously and I know the impact it had on how I look at time management. I’m excited to hear the discussion that follows at our luncheon, which you can register for here.

Other upcoming events to be on the lookout for include golf lessons, another wine tasting event, and group cooking classes. We will also be continuing our quarterly lunches. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events. If you have any questions about the initiative or want to join our steering committee, please feel free to email me at


Melisa is a Senior Manager in the Professional Practices Department at Cherry Bekaert LLP, in Charlotte. She currently serves on NCACPA’s Accounting & Attestation Committee and is immediate past-president of the Charlotte Chapter. Melisa can be reached at