Darlene Sweeney - Woman to Watch Class of 2015
Volunteer Recruiter for St. Vincent de Paul Society
Classic Image Photography
Darlene Sweeney has been blessed to have decades of varied and diverse professional experience. From roller-skating carhop in her teens to her current position as Volunteer Recruiter at Saint Vincent de Paul and everything in between. The in-between has included:
• Media Sales Writer for Nader-Lief, Inc., a Chicago advertising company
• Import Sales Manager for North America for Westnofa, Inc., a Norwegian Furniture Company
• Executive Director of The DMC Network, a hospitality trade association
• Darlene has owned two companies: Sweeney Connections, Inc., an association management company and Tahoe Experience, Inc., a destination management company handling meetings and conventions in Lake Tahoe and Northern Nevada
• Her current position as Volunteer Recruiter for Saint Vincent de Paul is her favorite job and the first time she has been able to combine her professional talents with her faith.
Helping others is essential in Darlene’s life. She has been a saxophone player, a tap dancer, a bell ringer and a single mother of three. Considering all that she has done, being a mother has been by far the most rewarding for Darlene.
Just In A Day's Work:
What do you love about your job?
Mother Teresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." My job gives me the opportunity to do just that each and every day.
What was the best business advice you have received and who gave it?
The best business advice came from my father. When I received my first promotion at my new job, he told me to bank the difference between what I was making and what I would be making, and continue to do that each time I received an increase in salary. If I had listened to him instead of buying a new pair of shoes, I would be a millionaire
today! (But I wouldn't have all those sassy shoes!)
Do you serve on any charitable organizations' boards or committees?
I am the co-founder of "Surviving Hearts" at St. Pius X Church. "Surviving Hearts" is a ministry to restore life and joy back into the grieving hearts of widows and widowers through friendship, compassion and understanding. Being a widow myself, I can fully understand how difficult it is to get back to the business of living again once you lose a spouse. We recently celebrated one year in this ministry and it has proven to be a great blessing to all. I also volunteer at my parish, St. Pius X and have been in the Bell
Ringers Choir and a Lector for three years in addition to being a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Conference, delivering food to those who are in need.
Do you have a professional mentor? How have they helped you succeed?
I would have to say it was my mother. As mother of four children, she had to go back to work when my father contracted crippling rheumatoid arthritis as a relatively young
man. She managed her children, her husband, her home and her job with such grace and ease. It was simply amazing. She worked tirelessly for us all, never complaining about the hand she had been dealt. She taught me that I could do anything and be anything with hard work and a cheerful heart. I think she was sassy and didn't know it.
What is your single best piece of advice for women in business?
Be true to yourself. Never compromise your values or beliefs for the sake of getting ahead. And never let fear decide your fate or your future. Use your God-given talents and continue to grow along the way. We are all diamonds in the rough and our talents and expertise will shine through at the right moment. Remember, of course women
don't work as hard as men, because they get it right the first time!
The Balancing Act:
What does “success” mean to you?
Success is believing in not only what you do but yourself as well. It's getting up in the morning and having that "I can't wait to get to work" attitude. Be the best you can be at whatever you do.
What’s your best secret to “having it all?"
Finding that great balance between work, family, friends and yourself. Being grateful for all God's blessings.
What is your favorite non-work activity or hobby?
Attending festivals, Christian concerts, musicals and events at the Morris, walking the River Walk and spending time with friends and family.
How do you stay organized?
Lists, lists and more lists! And, get it on the calendar right away!
What is your favorite form of stress relief?
Bellini's at Bar Louie
10 SASSY Facts About Darlene Sweeney:
What did you want to be as a kid growing up?
A comedic actress like Lucille Ball.
What was your first job?
A roller skating car hop.
Favorite TV Show:
Scandal and Downton Abbey
Favorite Scented Candle:
Lavender to soothe the sassy woman!
Biggest Pet Peeve:
People who don't treat others with respect, kindness and compassion.
What makes you feel the SASSIEST?
When I am well prepared for a presentation, I can feel at ease and my sassiness can come out. I'm also pretty darn sassy when I show up in costume at Saint Vincent de Paul events. Ever seen a sassy crawfish at a Mardi Gras event? Or how about an Irish Dancer at an Irish event? Anyone for Yellow Ducky or Sock Monkey? Did someone say "Sassy?"
Favorite Weekend Style:
My Marilyn Monroe leggings have been one of the most complimented articles of clothing I have ever worn. When I wear them there is no doubt I feel sassy!
Favorite Beauty Product:
French vanilla ice cream ... boring but true!
If you were a shoe, describe what you would be and why?
I would be a wedge sandal with flowers and bling to show off my sassy pedicure with flowers and bling!