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COLUMBIA - Women’s Network hosted a career development seminar Saturday.

The biannual seminar, Changing the Odds, aims to help women work on their résumés, develop their careers and get back into the workforce.

“Our focus is on empowering women, growing their leadership, giving them opportunities and helping them learn more about themselves and their journey through their career and their personal lives,” Erica Pefferman, Women’s Network Past Chair, said.

Liana Twente, Changing the Odds Committee Co-chair, said Saturday was the first time the seminar addressed entrepreneurship. She said the event helps women of all different backgrounds overcome career barriers.

“A lot of times it’s a bumpy road, it’s not a linear path to your dream job or your end point in your career,” she said. "There are a lot of ups and downs, and sometimes you have to take a step back before you can take a leap forward.”

Pefferman said the seminar isn’t purely for career development, but also for improving other attributes, such as self esteem and confidence.

“If we don’t have confidence it’s very difficult for us to be successful,” she said. "So building the self and esteem and the confidence is so important; and hearing other people’s challenges and successes as part of that, and seeing examples of women that have done well with that, are really critical to the success of this program.”

Pefferman was a single mom of three kids at 24 years old with no degree, but said women have to know it’s normal to face obstacles.

“It was a hard path and I had to figure out how to overcome some different things, and because of that part of my own journey, I have a heart for those who are doing it now,” she said.

The seminar ended with a trip to shop for potential interview clothes.

“We want them to walk away knowing there’s hope for the future,” Twente said.