Website Founder and Editor
Charlene grew up in Amsterdam, New York and has a joint BA degree in Political Science and Journalism from the Newhouse School, Syracuse University. She is a former newspaper reporter, magazine editor and author of 11 books having to do with parenting. Seven of them are for parents of young adolescents, including The Roller-Coaster Years, Parenting 911, Cliques, and Boy Crazy.
Charlene said that, at her last job as an editor of a local paper, she saw that the written word on paper was becoming obsolete. This and the fact that she always wanted to do something for women were the impetus for founding Woman Around Town, NY and Washington DC. She teamed up with an attorney friend, Debra Toppeta*, and launched these websites, which are a service for women living and working in New York and Washington DC. She has yet to look back.
Woman around town covers Dining Around, Shopping Around, Playing Around, Living Around and Reading Around. The site reviews theatre, off-broadway, restaurants, cabaret, movies, museum, books and other events in both NY and Washington DC. Charlene says “We also feature women around town. We love to find women in all walks of life and profile them on the site. We have interviewed actresses, authors, chefs, artists, photographers and women who have been volunteers, etc. We try to publish articles that are diverse and get many of points-of-view from different ethnic and age groups.”
Charlene’s day begins at 7 AM, reviewing the sites to see that all links and videos are working and to correct any mistakes. She reads her emails and the newspapers to find stories that she might “jump on” and get something up on the site quickly. Then she might visit a museum exhibit, do an interview, write articles or review articles contributed by other writers. Her day ends around 10 PM, putting the final touches on the next day’s new articles. Hard work and commitment to quality earned Woman Around Town two Press Club Journalism Awards in 2010 and five in 2011.
“The most rewarding aspect of my career is when someone tells me how much they love the site or when someone tells me how much they enjoyed a story.”
Charlene says that the keys to success in her job are “…perseverance and having fun. I look forward to it everyday!”
In her free time Charlene volunteers at her church once a week, works out with a trainer twice a week, plays tennis and when weather permits, she rides her bike in Central Park. She loves dining out and going to the theatre and cabarets.
* Debra Toppeta, works on the financial and legal matters and does research and writes articles.