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JCSU partners with Women’s Inter-Cultural Exchange

Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 3, 2014) – During her four years at Johnson C. Smith University, Nicole Jenkins excelled in the classroom. But some of the best lessons came from professionals outside of the campus gates. Now working as a casualty claims specialist with Nationwide Insurance, Jenkins credits her career success to her mentorship with Sheila Cottringer Bacon, an executive council member of the Women’s Inter-Cultural Exchange (WIE). “Not only did Sheila give me the knowledge and tools to be successful in the classroom, but, through mentorship and internship experience, she gave me the confidence to be a successful woman in business,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins, who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing, joins over 60 college women who have benefitted from the Mentoring Across Difference Program, a joint venture of the university and WIE.

The program launched in 2010 at at JCSU during the WIE Multicultural Conference is open to college women in the Charlotte area who are then paired with professional women and men well-established in their fields.

“The phenomenal mentors who volunteer their time with WIE serve as excellent examples to women all over the nation as they support the mission of WIE to create global leaders and innovative thinkers,” said Joy Paige Springs, chair of WIE.

Not only has the program helped ease the transition from college to the workplace for traditionally underrepresented groups. In a broader way, it builds trust among people of different genders, generations, races, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and disabilities.

For Jenkins, her experience as a mentee continues to serve her well. “Because of the WIE, I am taking my career to the next level," she said. 

The start of the program’s fourth year coincides with WIE’s 2014 Women's Annual Intercultural Conference "Making Our Mark: Women Leading Change Around the Globe," presented in partnership with Vision 2020 and the Southern Women's Show. The conference is scheduled for Sept. 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center. For more information go to

The following organizations have supported the Mentoring Across Difference Program:

Bank of America

Blumenthal Performing Arts

Carolinas Healthcare System

Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group

Charlotte Business Journal

Compass Group

Duke Energy



Novant Healthcare


WBT Radio


Wells Fargo Capital Management

Wells Fargo


About Johnson C. Smith University

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. It has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 22 fields of study to more than 1,300 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, the university’s excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility. For more information about JCSU, visit or follow the university on social media sites Facebook , TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.


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