Barb Collins

AUG_Barb-CollinsSHE is an Active Advocate.  SHE is a Phenomenal Philanthropist.  SHE is Barb Collins, our SHEro!

Barb Collins has 35 years of experience in nonprofit management, strategic development, and board governance and innovation. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a degree in Gerontology (a multidisciplinary study of aging), Barb began her career in management and public relations for a retirement community in Blacksburg, Virginia. Ensuing positions took her north to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where roles in resource development and alumni relations at William Mitchell College of Law and St. Norbert College gave her extensive experience organizing, managing, and working with boards and nonprofits. A life altering trip through Tanzania lit a flame within Barb to serve in a more impactful way. Barb was determined to find a way to show that one individual could reach across the ocean and make a difference in the lives of others.

dfw_vlogo2In 1993, after moving her family to Greenville, a causal invitation to a potluck dinner celebrating her neighbor Marsha Wallace’s birthday started a movement that is changing the way the world works. Fueled by their joint passion, Barb and Marsha founded Dining for Women from their dining room tables.  Dining for Women is the world’s largest educational giving circle, dedicated to transforming lives and eradicating poverty among women and girls living in the developing world. Their philanthropic model is proving that small contributions and individual actions, aggregated together, can make a deep and transformational impact in the lives of both the giver and receiver.

With over four hundred chapters and 8,000 members spread throughout the U.S., Dining for Women celebrates the power of the individual to see an injustice and act to change it.  Since the first chapter meeting in 2013, over $7 million has been raised, funding 214 projects, in 142 organizations, in more than 40 countries.  Last year they celebrated the launch of an inaugural collaborative partnership with a $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps “Let Girls Learn” initiative, funding 39 projects in 23 countries, breaking down barriers to educate 2,416 girls.

In 2014, Barb was named an Everyday Freedom Hero by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  After many years serving as chair of the Dining for Women Board of Director’s, Barb continues to serve on the Board, chairs the Resource Development Committee, and sits on the Grants and Partnership Oversight Committee.  In 2015, she earned her Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Board Chairs through BoardSource.  As Co-Founder of Dining for Women, Barb frequently speaks and serves as ambassador for the organization.

Barb still lives in Greenville, with her husband Greg, a Siberian Husky named Annie, and a feisty cat named Phoenix. Barb is a member of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church.  Her older daughter (Nora) is a banker in Charlotte, while her younger daughter, (Jeanette) works in marketing and management in Jacksonville.  Barb’s mom, Jo, recently moved in with her, adding a welcomed generation to the household. Barb is currently writing her father’s memoir, A Book of Hope in a Turbulent World, which she hopes to publish by December.

Dr. Angela Hutcheson

AUG_HutchesonSHE is a Dedicated Doctor. SHE is a Dermatology Darling. SHE is Dr. Angela Hutcheson, our SHEro! 

Dr. Angela Hutcheson is currently practicing with Carolina Dermatology of Greenville with the Greenville Health System, and is committed to providing excellent care to her patients. Board certified in Dermatology, she specializes in Mohs micrographic surgery, skin cancer (cutaneous oncology) including melanoma, and she also enjoys helping patients improve with cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Hutcheson was first introduced to dermatology when assigned to an AHEC (area health education center) during medical school. She was completely hooked, convinced it was the field for her, and never looked back. She is especially passionate about educating patients about skin cancer and melanoma, particularly skin cancer prevention.

Dr. Hutcheson makes time to give back to the local community, serving on the board of Loaves & Fishes – a wonderful non-profit driven to end food insecurity in Greenville County by rescuing food from end-of-day waste (like from restaurants and grocery stores) and providing it to agencies that feed the underserved in our community. She is also a member of Greenville Women Giving, a woman-strong philanthropic organization that works to strategically and collectively identify and fund worthy organizations in the area of arts, education, environment, health, and human services in Greenville County. In addition, Dr. Hutcheson is also on the Admissions Committee at the USC School of Medicine Greenville, and is involved with Cancer Care Committee for the Greenville Health System.

Dr. Angela Hutcheson is married to Dr. Kelby Hutcheson of Carolina Center for Advanced Management of Pain. They have three terrific children – Joshua, Justin, and Ellie. The Hutchesons are involved members at their church, Fellowship Greenville. In her spare time, Dr. Hutcheson loves being out on the lake with her family and enjoying nature. She also enjoys teaching our children about serving others and philanthropy.

Zoila Lopez

JULY_lopez

SHE is a Barrier Breaker. SHE is Beautiful in Blue. SHE is Officer Zoila Lopez, our SHEro!

Zoila Lopez has been an officer with the Greenville Police Department for over 13 years. When she joined the force in 2004, she was the organization’s first Hispanic female officer.

Zoila Lopez’s humble beginnings trace back to November 22, 1972 when she was born in Hawthorne, California as the fourth of five children to Mexican immigrants. She spent her youth in Compton, a dangerous city south of downtown Los Angeles, an area synonymous with gangs and drug activity. Zoila learned to become independent at the age of nine, when her family unit broke apart with her parents each remarrying and leaving her to fend for herself.

At the age of 15, Zoila became pregnant with her daughter (Giselle) and soon thereafter dropped out of high school. She would later marry her high school sweet heart and have two more children: a daughter (Azaria) and a son (Josh). Unfortunately, Zoila became a single mother when her son was just two years old.

Determined to make a better life for her and her children, Zoila returned to school and earned her GED in 1994. She then remarried and had two more daughters, (Gianina and Jocelyn) while continuing to push forward, attending parenting classes and career oriented training. During this time, Zoila worked various jobs to support her family: she worked at a pig slaughterhouse, a turkey slaughterhouse, as a receptionist, a waitress, a sub preparer and many other trades.

In 2004, she decided to begin a career in law enforcement and enrolled in the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia. Shortly before starting at the academy, Zoila found herself once again becoming a single mom as her second marriage was ending in divorce after 13 years of physical and verbal abuse. Unable to adequately care for her young children while attending the police academy, Zoila turned to her church family for help. All of her children were placed in different homes while she completed training.

For ten weeks, Zoila drove home every Friday to see her babies, then returned to Columbia on Sundays. The stress of attending the police academy began to take a toll on her physically and mentally but she continued to study and remain focused. Zoila graduated from the police academy in June 2004.

Officer Lopez’s career began on Uniform Patrol, working swinging 12-hour shifts. Her duties included responding to house and business alarms, making arrest for DUI’s, locating lost children, and defusing verbal disputes. After 13 years, Officer Lopez now works Monday through Friday and is able to stay at home at nights with her youngest daughter, who is only ten. She is currently assigned to City Hall where she is responsible for providing security and attending City Council meetings.

Outside of City Hall, Officer Lopez handles city’s Greenville Cares Program – a one-stop customer service center where citizens can report any issues or concerns. She also volunteers as a victim advocate for the police department, offering emotional support, information, and resources for victims of crimes in our area. Officer Lopez, who is fluent in Spanish, also assists with translating for victims who speak very little or no English, as well as for her fellow officers.

Officer Lopez is certified as a bike patrol Officer through (LEBA) Law Enforcement Bike Association. She also developed a new crime prevention tool to combat bicycle theft through the Bicycle Registration Program for the Greenville City Police Department.

Greenville PD recognized Officer Lopez’s love for job and humanity, and she was selected to be a part of the Crisis Negotiation Team in 2012. She was certified through NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to react appropriately to situations involving mental illness, developmental disability, or emotionally disturbed persons. She has been trained to communicate with people who are threatening violence, suicide, and terrorism; including barricaded subjects, and hostage-takers. In the past five years, Officer Lopez has responded to mentally ill individuals and successfully talked several subjects out of committing suicide.

officer lopez - click magazineIn 2016, Officer Lopez was featured on the cover of Click Magazine for their March issue titled Example of Bravery. She was also featured recognized was featured on the cover of BEyouTIFUL LATINA for the March-April 2016 issue titled Hispanics in Law Enforcement.

Despite being a single mother, Officer Lopez has raised five wonderful children and she is very proud of the adults they’ve become. Her eldest, Giselle (28), is married with two beautiful children, and is currently studying to become a nurse and serves as a translator for a dentist’s office. Azaria (26) is a very talented makeup artist who freelances and works for MAC Cosmetics. She has one daughter with her high school sweetheart, to whom she is engaged. Josh (25), who serves with the U.S. Marine Corps, is married with a handsome 1 year old son. Gianina (21) currently works as a host for a local business and is studying to follow in her older brother’s footsteps in becoming a Marine. Jocelyn (10) just finished 5th grade and enjoys singing, dancing, and creating videos.

Despite having her hands full with her own children and their growing families, for the last 2 years Zoila has been sponsoring from Bolivia through World Vision. Not only does she make a monthly monetary donation, Zoila also mails gifts to her sponsor child (Lucely Torrez) who is only 6 years old. In 2016, Zoila’s elderly neighbor became terminally ill and was unable to care for her 8 year old granddaughter, Shakariya. After her neighbor passed away, Zoila did not hesitate to take Shakariya in; making sure she was fed, made it to school on time, and that she felt the love her family had to offer. Zoila was active in Shakariya’s education, attending parent teacher meetings and awards. Shakariya now lives with her aunt but, still keeps in contact with the Lopez family.

When Zoila is off duty she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and the family dogs Rooney (a 3 year old Chocolate Lab) and Winston (a rescued 3 month hound mix). She also relaxes by going to the firing range, hiking, movies, and the lake.

Zoila Lopez is a daughter, a sister, a mother, and a police officer and she would not be where she is today if it not were for her children and her life experiences.

God has blessed me beyond what I deserve and for that I give him thanks!” ~Officer Zoila Lopez

Amber Porter

JULY_amber-porter

SHE is a Science Superstar. SHE is an Passionate Preceptor. SHE is Amber Porter, our SHEro!

Amber Porter is a lecturer in the Physics and Astronomy department in the College of Science at Clemson University, and the lead coordinator for the Eclipse Over Clemson event!

More often than not, her students are not STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors. “They are often curious about astronomy topics, but feel that science is too hard and ‘not for them.’ Helping students overcome this fear and convincing them that they can ‘do’ science is the most rewarding part of my job,” she says.

“My goal as an astronomy teacher is simple; I desire to pass my fascination with the cosmos on to each student and to increase their confidence in their personal scientific literacy by developing their critical thinking skills. My favorite concept to teach is most eloquently expressed through Carl Sagan’s famous quote, “We are made of star stuff.” The elements such as the iron in your blood and the calcium in your bones and the oxygen passing through your lungs were created deep in the bellies of stars similar to our very own sun long ago and continue to be made by stars today. Nuclear fusion, which powers stars, also creates the elements of the periodic table beyond hydrogen and helium. When stars die in fiery explosions after shining for millions of years, those elements are thrown out into space in every direction and seed clouds that will make new generations of stars that may grow planets that then have the elements necessary to harbor life. It is amazing to think about the recycling process that our universe has been undergoing for nearly 14 billion years which has allowed human beings to exist.”

DSC_0757_web

She also enjoys informing students that a person who identifies as a physicist or astronomer is not a carbon copy of Einstein and their lives don’t always play out like an episode of The Big Bang Theory. She reminds them that scientists are regular people of all genders and backgrounds who like to answer questions about the natural world (and universe). Being able to share those discoveries with a wider audience by using less technical language and connections to everyday life is why she likes being a lecturer in higher education.

Ms. Porter is the lead coordinator for the Eclipse Over Clemson event (which is the viewing party that Clemson University is hosting to celebrate the total solar eclipse on August 21). The chance to see the beautiful corona of the Sun during totality of a solar eclipse from our own backyard is an opportunity that she does not want any of our Upstate South Carolina citizens to miss. Previous generations were inspired by humans strapping themselves on to rockets that placed them in outer space and watching people walk on the Moon. Her hope is that witnessing a celestial event as awe-inspiring as a total solar eclipse will inspire our youth to pursue scientific and technologically advanced careers. Putting together a monumental event like Eclipse Over Clemson takes a lot of teamwork from across the university. She loves that her main role is talking to people about the science behind eclipses and ensuring that they know how to safely look at the Sun using eclipse glasses. She is also looking forward to turning our community members into citizen scientists by teaching them about the various projects centered around the eclipse that they can get involved in and what we hope to learn through their hard work. Some of the projects include measuring how much the temperature drops or how nature responds to the darkening sky during an eclipse.

Ms. Porter interacts with the community through education and public outreach with astronomy and physics. She’s traveled through the cosmos with audiences of all ages over the past six years through planetarium shows in Clemson University’s digital planetarium. The planetarium projects the night sky from anywhere on Earth, so students can take a close-up look at each of the planets of the solar system, and fly among the stars so astronomy comes alive in movies that play on a 360-degree dome above the audience. Her outreach efforts have increased substantially over the past few months as she tries to engage as many people as possible so that they don’t miss the solar eclipse.

drMs. Porter recently joined the Upstate Roller Girl Evolution (URGE), a roller derby team that plays out of Easley, South Carolina. She goes by “Dr. Disintegrator.” Her roller derby team partners with a good cause each season to donate time and money.  This season, they chose to support All Dogs of Pickens Transport (ADOPT) which saves unwanted dogs and cats prior to their euthanization and helps find them new, loving homes.  A portion of the proceeds from home games is donated to ADOPT and they also volunteer at the shelter to help clean kennels and socialize the dogs.

In her spare time, Ms. Porter devours books from any genre and enjoys spending time outside wandering around local parks or chasing waterfalls on hikes. She likes to travel to new cities to explore the local culture and visit the interactive museums in the area. She also enjoys spending time relaxing with her boyfriend, Clodoaldo, and her cat Callisto.

 

Rhonda Rawlings

SHE is a Valiant Voice. SHE is an Amazing Altruist. SHE is Rhonda Rawlings-Peak, our SHEro!

Rhonda currently serves as News and Community Affairs Director and On-Air Personality at SummitMedia Greenville. We are constantly in awe at her unwavering passion and commitment to inform, educate, inspire, and improve the lives of everyone she encounters. Plus, she is an amazing mom to boot!

In her words…

RR-SHEro“I was inspired at a young age to go into broadcasting, and honestly other than playing for the New York Yankees it was the only career path I considered! I’ve had a passion for news and entertainment from an early age and I would practice my interviewing skills on anyone who would participate. I feel blessed every day to be able to work for a company that is striving to make a difference in the community.

“I’m so passionate about my job as News and Community Affairs Director because the position provides me with an amazing platform to get information out to the community. Often times, there are services people may not be aware of, but can assist them and their families in their everyday lives through education, employment, finances, affordable housing and so much more.

“I am involved in quite a few community projects.  One of my passions is trying to help end hunger in our communities. I have been on the Advisory Board for Harvest Hope Food Bank for the past 5 years. I love that the organization helps people with food insecurity while also connecting them with other agencies to help conquer the issues contributing to their food insecurity in the first place; such as employment services, job training, and health care. I also serve on the YMCA Youth and Teen Services Board and I am the Chair for their Christian Emphasis Board. The YMCA Youth and Teen Services Department champions many amazing programs for young people including Youth in Government and Teen Achievers programs.

“Volunteer work is very important to me. One of the things I am most proud of is coordinating our Summit Serves program (every month, SummitMedia Greenville employees participate in a service project within the Upstate community). We have helped Habitat for Humanity build a home for a low income family, cooked dinner for families at the Ronald McDonald House, collected, donated and read books to students at local schools and community centers, served lunch at soup kitchens, hosted donation drives for canned food, school supplies, and toys; as well as a variety of other service projects. I’m proud to work for a company that supports and encourages efforts to serve the community. I also volunteer as a Mentor for the Furman University Women of Excellence Program and the Legacy Charter School Transitional Coach Program to help high school seniors transition from high school to college.

“When I’m not working I love traveling (Disney, the beach and quick road trips are my fave), Broadway shows, concerts, Sports events, spending time with my friends and especially hugging on my teenage son, Daniel (which he tolerates most of the time).”

Congratulations, Rhonda! We are so blessed to know you and admire the grace and enthusiasm with which you serve the Upstate community.

Know a SHEro that you’d like to nominate? Email us here!

Erin Fox

Our May 2017 SHEro is Erin Fox.

As she has earned the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award (and she’s an English teach), we are not going to touch the biography she sent to us, because she conveyed her ideas far more effectively than we ever could.

SHE is… simply amazing.

“I was inspired to teach English after a few attempts to find fulfillment through several other college majors and remaining unaffected. Though I enjoyed my theatre, dance, textile design/marketing, and pre-med biology majors, I didn’t feel like they spoke to my heart. I took a Women in Literature class as a course requirement, and I finally found my voice. I loved delving into the lives and conflicts of the literary characters, and I was happily challenged to analyze the various aspects of those writings. I realized that I wanted to share these experiences and the knowledge I garnered with adolescents so that they could learn to think critically, analytically, and creatively.  I have been particularly and personally inspired by the works of Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Charles Dickens, and Shakespeare.

“I am passionate about teaching English because all students benefit from learning how to communicate effectively. Similarly, storytelling and poetry speak to the essence of our humanity and connect each of us in so many different ways. Therefore it is vital to the human experience and for our understanding of one another that we study universal works that help us relate to our fellow man and woman.

“I am also passionate about coaching.  I love working with my runners and helping them push themselves, mind, body, and spirit, to their limits.  I love being there with them to help set goals and see them become realities.  I enjoy being with them through the wins, and I suffer through the sorrows of a loss with them.  I feel like my runners and my students both push me to be my very best because I want them to see me achieving my goals as well.  I want for them to understand that even though we may fail at times, our failures can be the best teachers and our best tools for learning.

DSC_0082

“As the 2018 State Teacher of the Year I am now a member of several boards across the state, however, as my work with them is still in its infancy, I cannot speak to any projects or roles undertaken yet. But over the course of the year I will be taking an active role as an ambassador for education, a champion for students, and an advocate for teachers. I am the girls’ Varsity and JV cross country coach at Gaffney High School, through which I coach and train with runners throughout the summer and fall. I am also a member of our district teacher forum. I am a dance choreographer for our school’s homecoming committee and our Miss Cherokeean Pageant. I am also a member of our health and wellness committee, our school and district Teacher of the Year committees, and the morale committee for our school. Finally, I was the school representative for the Cherokee County Reading Council and through that was named the 2016-2017 Distinguished Teacher of Reading for Gaffney High School.

“I am involved with my church, Tryon First Baptist, to quite an extent. I serve as one of the children’s church teachers, a nursery worker, and a substitute Sunday school teacher for the youth. I am on the baptistry committee and the scholarship committee, and I have served on the nominating committee. I have participated in several dramatic and musical productions for Easter and Christmas services.

“I am highly involved with our school’s health and wellness initiative, known as Fit2gether. I work with planning in committee meetings, have taken students on a field trip presentation at the Panthers’ Stadium for Fuel Up to Play 60, and have led and participated in after school student/faculty workouts called Power Hour. I also run in charity road races to benefit organizations in our community.

“In my free time I love to be with my family. My husband Danny and I enjoy outdoor activities with our son Jack (9) and our daughter Scout (5). We like to go hiking, backpacking, camping, and boating as a couple and as a family. My husband and I also enjoy cross-country running and weightlifting.  We love spending fun weekends away at the lake, and our favorite travel destination is Disney World. We have been with our children and extended family many times, and each time is a perfect experience. I love taking my kids to watch my students play sports as well. My son is a football and basketball player, so he loves to go watch games and races and meeting the athletes who he looks up to as role models. Scout is a ballet student and quite the drama queen. She loves to watch my students in school plays and community ballet and theatrical productions. And personally I unwind best with a good book. I love to lose myself in a beautiful novel that is thought-provoking and evokes my emotions.”

Congratulations, Erin Fox. We are so pleased to know you, and SO grateful that you are shaping the minds and brightening the futures of our students.

Katlyn Jacobsen Garcia

SHEro_Katlyn-Jacobsen-GarciaKnow a SHEro that you’d like to nominate? Email us here!

Katlyn Jacobsen Garcia – Who is SHE?

SHE is a Holistic Hero. Katlyn is passionate about helping women in the Upstate achieve a healthy lifestyle and positive self-esteem through natural, earth-friendly methods. She strongly believes that God has given us everything we need in nature for our health and skin care needs. Katlyn also believes that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made but that we can only reach our greatest potential and glorify the Lord if we are healthy, rested and have freedom. Her faith has taught her that we are meant to serve others and she has channeled her great passion into Selāh Aesthetics Facial Spa & All-Natural Skin Care Products.

SHE is Beautifully Brave. Selāh Aesthetics grew from a lifetime of experience with natural skincare, (Katlyn’s mother used all-natural products like oatmeal soap and witch hazel when she was growing up). It wasn’t until five years ago that Katlyn started making her own facial oil, which she gave as gifts to family and friends. When they began asking for refills, she knew she was onto something good. After taking an entrepreneurship class, Katlyn took a huge leap of faith and started producing100 bottles at a time – and they sold like wild fire! With some mentoring and encouragement from her friend Mickie (who we hear is an outstanding esthetician!), Katlyn then started giving facials to friends and family in her home.

To take her vision to the next level, Katlyn knew she needed to acquire a license. With lots of prayer and support from her husband, she started classes when she was newly pregnant and earned her esthetician’s license one month before delivery. With license in hand, she immediately launched Selāh Aesthetics and Skin Care. Kaitlyn puts her whole heart into every facial, and customizes treatments for each client using her arsenal of herbs and natural ingredients.

SHE is Clearly Compassionate. Prior to starting Selāh Aesthetics, Katlyn was very involved in the local community, particularly with organizations dedicated to empowering women. She served as a mentor to teen moms with Little Steps and helped mothers conquering addiction with The Family Effect. Through Selāh Aesthetics, Katlyn has founded Beautiful You – The Day of Rest Campaign (B.You). The B.You campaign is essentially a stress-free spa day (for selected recipients), free of charge, that includes professional messages, facials, mani/pedis, food from a local restaurant, hair, makeup, motivational speakers and a photo shoot to document the memories!

The Day of Rest Campaign is a grassroots program, currently in its first year. The campaign was birthed from a vision Katlyn had a few years back to gather her like-minded and talented friends together to collaborate for community outreach. Katlyn has recruited other local aestheticians, massage therapists, cosmetologists, clients, and friends to make B.You a reality. On April 22, 2017 the first B.You Day of Rest event treated nine mothers from the Down Syndrome Family Alliance to an unforgettable day of much needed pampering, encouragement, and tranquility. Several local businesses including Bevello Boutique, Goose Feathers, Biscuit Head, Kuka Juice, and Instant Imprints also contributed to the overwhelming success of the inaugural B.You event.

SHE is Blissfully Blessed. When she’s not making Upstate women feel more beautiful, Katlyn enjoys spending time with her husband of seven years (Eric) and their 17 month old daughter (Hazel). You can usually find them exploring the outdoors, downtown Greenville, or at a play date.

Katlyn has a great deal of gratitude for the current season of her life as she worked to overcome alcohol addiction, shame, and feelings of worthlessness just four years ago. Now completely free from addiction, depression, anxiety, and bondage, she openly shares that chapter of her life as a means to better serve others. While each day is a battle, Katlyn cherishes the belief that we as women are all in this life together and that we must be open and non-judgmental towards one another. She is eternally grateful that God has opened her eyes to the fact that no matter where we are from or what we believe, we are more alike than we could ever imagine.

SHE is an Aesthetic Angel.  SHE is Katlyn Jacobsen Garcia, our SHEro!

????????????????????????????????????

Coach Dawn Staley

To nominate a SHEro (a woman or girl that’s making a positive difference locally or globally), email us here!

When three-time Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley took the reins of the University of South Carolina women’s basketball program in 2008, the Gamecocks’ stature immediately rose not just in the Southeastern Conference but on the national stage as well. (You may have noticed, they just earned another Final Four spot, making this their 6th year in a row of success in the NCAA tournament.)

Building on a foundation of hard work, defensive effort and a “team first” mentality, South Carolina began to realize those expectations in 2011-12. The program has continued to thrive as one of seven in the nation to be ranked in every AP Top 25 poll since the start of the 2013-14 season. The future continues to brighten as the nation’s top recruits make Columbia, S.C., a highly coveted destination.

Dawn Staley was thrust into the national spotlight in 1988 when USA Today named her the National High School Player of the Year. This led to her recruitment to play at the University of Virginia for hall of fame coach Debbie Ryan. At UVA, Staley was a standout player, leading her team to several NCAA Tournament appearances including one trip to the title game in 1991, which the Lady Cavaliers lost to Tennessee in overtime. Staley completed her studies at UVA in 1992, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communication Studies.

Following a very successful playing career at UVA, Dawn Staley went on to play for several international teams before joining the Richmond Rage of the American Basketball League. In the 1999 WNBA Draft, Staley was selected by the Charlotte Sting as the 9th overall pick and led the team to the championship game of the WNBA playoffs in 2001. She was traded to the Houston Comets in 2005, where she played for one season before retiring. Staley also has a decorated career as an Olympian, bringing home gold medals for basketball in the 1995, 2000, and 2004 games. She counts carrying the U.S. flag in the 2004 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony among her most gratifying moments on the international stage.

An unwavering commitment to serving the communities where she works and lives inspired Coach Staley to create The Dawn Staley Foundation in her hometown of Philadelphia, aimed at giving inner-city children positive input through after-school programs. She continued to invest time with various projects in Columbia, but found that she craved one hallmark initiative that could provide sustained assistance and create lasting change, especially for children. In July 2013, Staley found that in the creation of INNERSOLE, which provides new sneakers to children who are homeless or otherwise in need. Remembering the feeling of confidence and pride she felt as a child whenever she wore new sneakers, Staley initially launched the organization via social media, and her broad network of friends, fans and colleagues immediately leapt into action. Shoes poured in from all around the country, and a movement was born.

Local and national organizations have recognized Staley’s commitment to giving back, most recently in 2013 when former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley awarded her Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor from the governor bestowed on those who have displayed significant achievement and service to the state. Staley has twice been presented the Wanamaker Award (1997, 2005), presented annually to the athlete, team or organization that has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and to the team or sport in which he/she excels. She is the only individual woman to ever win the award and joins Joe Frazier and Steve Carlton as the only individuals to capture the honor twice. In 2007, the Rotary Club of Tulsa named Staley its female recipient of the Henry P. Iba Citizenship Award, which is presented annually to the male and female athlete who has excelled in both their sport and their service to others.

While her coaching career is blossoming, Dawn Staley continues to be recognized for her body of work as a one of the most decorated participants in United States women’s basketball history.

Maegan Garner

maegan 2Maegan Garner. Who is SHE?

SHE is a Busy Beauty. Meagan is Director of Marketing at Magnolia Medical Aesthetics, a Model/Pageant Coach at Millie Lewis, and Owner of Crowned Productions. Maegan has competed in dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, and pageants since her youth. Her most recent success in this arena was representing South Carolina in the 2015 Ms. United States Pageant.

As Director of Marketing for Magnolia Medical Aesthetics, Maegan assists the company in their mission to help people look as young as they feel, and gain confidence. As a model, pageant coach, and instructor at Millie Lewis, Maegan helps young girls to feel beautiful and confident while providing them with the tools they need to reach their full potential in their personal, business, and educational aspirations.

Feeling the drive to become an entrepreneur, Maegan co-founded Crowned Productions, providing guidance and personal development to help young women succeed on and off the stage.

SHE is a Champion of Change. Almost 6 years ago, Maegan was involved in an accident with a motorcyclist who passed away due to blunt force trauma from not wearing a helmet. Through such a horrific tragedy, she learned that out of pain, one can find purpose.  This led Maegan to start Smart Rider, a non-profit foundation and initiative to educate riders on the importance of helmets to prevent traumatic brain injury.  She also partnered with the mother of the deceased and together they speak at various civic organizations to advocate for helmet safety. Her hope is that one day TIKO’s law (Thousands of Individuals Killed on Our highways) will come to fruition and S.C. will have a Universal Helmet Law. In her efforts to promote helmet safety, Maegan also works closely with several divisions of GHS including the Children’s Hospital, Safe Kids Upstate, and Neuroscience Research.

SHE is a Style-Seeker. As you can imagine, Meagan’s jobs and philanthropy keep her pretty busy.  However, when she does have free time, she loves shopping and finding her style on a budget, just as a true fashionista would. Maegan also thoroughly enjoys relaxing at home and spending time with those that mean the most: friends, family, and her fur babies Gunner (her dog) and Boots (her cat).

SHE is an Ambitious Activist.  SHE is Maegan Garner!


If you know any SHEroes, we’d love to hear about them! Drop us a line on Facebook, Instagram, or send us an email!

#SHEroes #CelebrateWomen

Blair Knobel

SHEroes - Blair 2

Blair Knobel. Who is SHE?

SHE is a Metropolitan Maven. As Editor-In-Chief of TOWN Magazine, Blair’s goal is to share compelling stories about the interesting, surprising, and beloved aspects of our community. Greenville is a big part of this story, but TOWN’s scope is bigger, including people, places, and experiences that encompass a regional lifestyle. Blair’s hope is that readers may see the area with fresh eyes.

Blair’s career actually began at Furman University, where she studied studio art with a concentration in photography. She received a coveted internship at Aperture Foundation in New York City, a non-profit that promotes fine art photography through its book program and quarterly journal. She worked with the Executive Editor of the book program, and stayed in book publishing in New York for two more years. Though NYC is a soul city and beloved place, the pull to do something more creative and to feel a connection to an audience drew her back to her native South Carolina. In pursuit of her passions of photography and writing, she happened upon an internship at G, The Magazine of Greenville in 2008. She was hired as an Assistant Editor a few months later, and started at TOWN in 2011 as part of its founding staff (along with former EIC Jack Bacot and current Art Director Paul Mehaffey). In September 2012, she became Editor-In-Chief.

SHE is an Altruistic Artist. During her fellowship in Furman University’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, Blair had the opportunity to be involved with the organization The Family Effect, which provides drug treatment and support for individuals and families. As part of the requirements of the fellowship, her group created an art therapy program for the community at Serenity Place, an arm of the organization that is a residence for mothers in treatment and their children.

Recently, Blair was elected to the board of the Warehouse Theatre, which is celebrating more than 40 years as a professional stage presenting relevant, edgy, and thoughtful productions in Greenville.

SHE is a Connoisseur. Blair is fascinated by the culinary arts, and likes to travel and explore new tastes.  She enjoys long meals with dear friends and family.  She also loves to spend time outdoors cycling and hiking, as well as simply relaxing at home with her sweet boy Simba (who happens to be a cat).

SHE is a Community Cultivator.  SHE is Blair Knobel!

If you know any SHEroes, we’d love to hear it! Drop us a line on Facebook, Instagram, or send us an email!

#SHEroes #CelebrateWomen