South Carolina ETV to honor 11 women leaders in second year of ‘Women Vision SC’ initiative

June 18, 2020

South Carolina ETV (SCETV) announced the return of its “Women Vision SC” initiative, which is recognizing 11 women leaders from across the state in a television program airing July 2 at 8:30 p.m. Made possible in part with support from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the one hour special, entitled, “Women Vision SC: Finding Our Voice,” will profile the 11 honorees, telling their stories and asking about their vision, values and the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.

Executive produced by Linda O’Bryon, “Women Vision SC” is an initiative that focuses on issues affecting women throughout the state and nation and serves as a platform to highlight trailblazing South Carolina women that have made an impact. In 2019, the initiative’s inaugural year, 11 women of vision were selected and recognized.

SCETV kicked off the second year of “Women Vision SC” last summer by requesting that its viewers and listeners once again nominate women of vision. In all, 90 nominations were submitted, and a panel of community leaders narrowed the field to 11. Including women from government, business, public service, health care and the law, these are the 11 honorees:

  • Deborah Blalock: A longtime mental health advocate and administrator, she was the executive director of the Charleston/Dorchester Mental Health Center before becoming deputy director of the S.C. Department of Mental Health.
  • M. Malissa Burnette: She is an award-winning attorney and advocate for equal rights for all. She waged a successful legal battle to change the rules and allow women to attend The Citadel.
  • Dr. Shaniece Criss: She is an assistant professor of Health Science at Furman University and a member of the Travelers Rest City Council.
  • Keisha Hawes: She became the first American Heart Association national spokesperson from the state of South Carolina after suffering a heart attack at the age of 31.
  • Cathy Hughes: She oversees seven newspapers in seven states from her office in South Carolina. Among them is The Times and Democrat based in Orangeburg.
  • Tameika Isaac Devine: As the first African American female to serve on Columbia’s City Council, she is a founding partner in her law firm and author of “Think Like a CEO, Act Like a Mom.”
  • Lou Kennedy: President, CEO and owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, she helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy.
  • T. Lilly Little Water: She is a volunteer community organizer, having conducted social justice programs in South Carolina for nearly three decades. She also serves as CEO of the South Carolina Indian Affairs Commission.
  • Darla Moore: A financial wizard who attended the University of South Carolina, studying political science before receiving her MBA from George Washington University. She became one of the world’s most successful business leaders. USC’s Darla Moore School of Business was the first business school in the U.S. to be named after a woman.
  • Betty Jo Rhea: She served as the mayor of Rock Hill for 12 years and was instrumental in establishing the city as a national sports tourism destination.
  • Ann Timberlake: One of South Carolina’s leading conservational and environmental advocates, she founded the Conservation Voters of South Carolina.


Cathy Hughes, Deborah Blalock, Darla Moore

Betty Jo Rhea, T. Lilly Little Water, Tameika Isaac Devine

M. Malissa Burnette, Lou Kennedy, Keisha Hawes

Dr. Shaniece Criss, Ann Timberlake

In 2019, SCETV recognized the first class of “Women Vision SC” honorees with an event at the network’s telecommunications center in Columbia. Because of social distancing concerns as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the agency will instead hold a virtual event this year. Taking place Wednesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m., the event will feature a virtual awards presentation and will give participants an abbreviated sneak peek at the July 2 television special. Those that would like to register to attend can do so via Eventbrite by clicking here. Attendance is subject to availability as space is limited.

“Now more than ever, an initiative like ‘Women Vision SC’ is critical. Promoting hope and inspiration, this year’s group of honorees is a testament to the strength of diversity. From varying backgrounds and career fields and residing in all corners of the state, these 11 women have made a remarkable impact on South Carolina, and it’s our privilege to tell their stories,” said SCETV President and CEO Anthony Padgett.

In addition to the one-hour television special, segments featuring each of the honorees will also air on SCETV’s weekly magazine series, “Palmetto Scene,” in September, October and November. And S.C. Public Radio will feature brief segments on each of the honorees Mondays in July and August during “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” These segments will air at 5:45 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 5:44 p.m. Longer-form audio interviews are also being created as podcasts for

Segments featuring each of the honorees are also be archived for students and educators on and other educational portals. In addition, lesson plans are being developed for teacher modules.

For more on “Women Vision SC,” visit