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Showing off her purse-onality

Motivational speaker, a former Russell teacher, says one can tell a lot about a woman by her purse

July 28, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

TYLER - She's given talks for all kinds of people. But Pat McGill said her audience Friday morning was special - and the kind that made her the most nervous.

"It's hard, because the people all know me," said McGill, who was the keynote speaker at a seminar and lunch at the First English Lutheran Church in Tyler. Many of the audience members were her students when she taught school in Russell, and others worked with her in community groups. But that was also part of what brought her back to the Tyler area.

"I really wanted to come back and do this for them," McGill said.

Article Photos

Photo by Deb Gau
Pat McGill borrowed an audience member’s purse to examine it during a talk in Tyler on Friday. Expandable purses tend to belong to people who have caretaker-type personalities, McGill said.

McGill's talk, called "Purseology," went along with Tyler's 125th anniversary celebration and all-school reunion.

"There's so much going on this weekend, we wanted to have something for the women," said Betty Jo Solberg, a member of the Tyler Beautification Committee. Proceeds from the event would help raise money for new planters on Main Street, committee members said.

While some area residents may remember McGill as their teacher, she now travels around the country as a motivational speaker, with an focus on working with women in business. They might sound like two completely different careers, but McGill said that's not the case.

"I look at it as a continuation of teaching," she said.

McGill's talk Friday looked at personality types from a different angle. You can tell a lot about a woman's life and personality from the style of handbag she carries, McGill said. She demonstrated by looking at a few audience members' purses. Bags that are crammed full of stuff or have a lot of decoration tend to belong to people who are "right-brained," or dominated by the side of the brain associated with creativity, she said. "And someone with a lot of expandable pockets on their purse is usually a caretaker."

On the other hand, a small clutch purse was "A total left-brained purse."

"Left-brained people go straight from Point A to Point B, to point C. This purse is going to be found in a very organized home," McGill said. There were also purses belonging to "full-brained" people, who "are a little bit of both (types)."

Purse styles change with the different stages of life, she said.

"The older we get," McGill said, the lighter our purses tend to get. "Now, all we do is what's needed."

Later in the talk, audience members got a chance to do some purse analysis of their own. The women were split into groups for a scavenger hunt of items in their purses.

"I have a flashlight . . . and here's a grocery list. How old does it have to be?" said Diane Gravely, as she pulled items out of her bag.

"That's a right-brained purse. Total right-brained," joked Jeanene Swift, as she checked off the items.

Audience members said the talk was a lot of fun. Gravely, a Russell resident, said it was great to see McGill, as a speaker with a local connection.

"I had her as a teacher," Gravely said. "She's just as vivacious now as she was back then."



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