Ten of South Carolina’s top women leaders across eight industries will take the stage at YWCA Greater Charleston’s fifth annual #WhatWomenBring. The event will take place in person at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2022, with a virtual component for those attending from outside the Charleston region or on the waitlist.
To be interviewed by event emcees Octavia Mitchell, Emmy award-winning WCBD News 2 TV anchor and Ann McGill, award-winning WCSC Live 5 News TV anchor, the women will candidly field questions from an audience of all ages, races, and genders, with topics ranging from gender bias, the gender wage gap, the glass ceiling, succeeding as a woman of color, and health disparities, among others.
The honorees include:
BUSINESS: Sarah Castle
A purposeful leader who elevates people and transforms organizations, Amazon executive Sarah Castle was promoted to director before she was 40 years old. Prior to taking her current role as director of Amazon Technical Academy, she worked in Amazon’s books division, on Amazon Alexa voice technology, and in mergers and acquisitions: often one of only a few women working on technical teams. Today she is also an author and an instructor at the College of Charleston, has served as a speaker at The Citadel’s 2022 Women in Entrepreneurship series, and has been a guest on the Snack-Sized Business Podcast. Castle earned a master’s degree from Cornell University after graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. She is also a graduate of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Charleston program.
COMMUNITY: Ilsia Muñiz
A strong advocate for the immigrant community with a keen sense of the needs and injustices faced by people of color, Muñiz is a Department of Justice accredited representative at Greenville, S.C.’s Immigrant Connection, authorized to act as a legal representative for people in need as they file U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services paperwork. She volunteers her time, expertise, and personal story to the Latino community by presenting at high schools to inspire Latino students with her own tale of hope and success, serving as a dance teacher to young girls at a Latino church, and interpreting sermons at a multicultural church into Spanish each week. This multi-talented believer in justice for the oppressed, who graduated with honors from Clemson University as a single mother of two young boys, has also been featured by the Hispanic Alliance as one of 30 heroes representing the Latino community.
COMMUNITY: Margie Moore-Williamson
A passionate advocate of people with lifelong disabilities and the parent of a son with autism, Moore-Williamson leads a statewide organization promoting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and supporting their full inclusion in the community. As executive director of The Arc of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., she educates communities on the incredible abilities of people with disabilities. She is chair of the South Carolina Partnership of Disability Organizations and the midlands chair of the South Carolina Human Service Providers Association. She has also chaired the latter’s legislative group, and served as the legislative liaison and a parent mentor for the South Carolina Autism Society. A recipient of the Debbie Burton Award, she graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Limestone College.
EDUCATION: Patrice Black Davis
The only African American vice president on the President’s Cabinet at Trident Technical College,
Davis thrives on breaking down barriers for the joy of demonstrating that it can be accomplished and making it easier for the next woman. The vice president of Student Services at the college and a former member of both the South Carolina Status of Women Task Force and the College of Charleston’s Diversity Initiative, she was the first African American woman asked to serve as an executive mentor in the N.C. State Adult & Community College doctoral program and one of two of the first women to be ordained as deacons of Charity Missionary Baptist Church. She sits on the Salem Academy & College Board of Trustees and is the recipient of numerous awards. Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from Salem College, a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and a doctorate from North Carolina State University.
EDUCATION: Sherrika Myers
A warrior for children who feel their voices don’t matter, Myers is the author of The Lil Herbie Series, a collection of English and Spanish children’s books focused on social-emotional learning. She is also the creator of anti-bullying mascot Lil Herbie and the Lil Herbie animated series focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, financial literacy, and more. As the founder and executive director of Every 1 Voice Matters, Myers helps children tackle barriers that hinder them from becoming the best version of themselves. She is the recent recipient of an ABC News 4 Jefferson Award, the Iota Phi Lambda Kappa Chapter Living Makers of Black History Award, Woman Life Changers Award, and a Black Excellence Community Award. This Trident Technical College alumna was also named a 2020 Top 10 Entrepreneur by NY Weekly and has been featured on Black News Channel, ABC, NBC, CBS, E Monthly News, and more.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Shakeima Clark Chatman
Chatman is on a mission to help every individual possess land as God has promised them. This owner of The Chatman Group with Keller Williams Realty and author of “Possess the Land: The Believer’s Guide to Home Buying” has been featured in REALTOR® magazine and Charleston Real Producers Magazine, named a REALTOR of Distinction by the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® (CTAR) and Philanthropist of the Year by the Carlos Dunlap Foundation, and served as vice chair of the CTAR Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. She has also hosted an Affordable Housing Town Hall to address a shortage of affordable housing in Charleston, worked with sellers to confront heirs’ property problems, and served on multiple boards, including the Jenkins Institute for Children and Increasing H.O.P.E. Chatman holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from South Carolina State University.
GOVERNMENT: Natalie A. Ham
An advocate for breaking through glass ceilings and kicking down walls and doors in a way that leaves the door open for others to follow, Ham is chief counsel for Charleston County Council. As general counsel for the Charleston County School District, her prior role, this attorney was featured by Vanguard magazine for her work helping to turn the tide of systemic racism there, and has been named one of National Black Lawyers’ Top 100. She serves as parliamentarian and bylaws chair for Jack & Jill of America’s Charleston chapter, on the board of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and on the South Carolina Judicial Qualifications Committee for the South Carolina Bar. A member of the James L. Petrigu Inn of Court, she is a graduate of the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative Program and the University of South Carolina, where she earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and Juris Doctor degrees.
HEALTHCARE: Richie Simone Lee
An educator and advocate for families of color preparing for a birth, Lee is a certified doula, lactation counselor, placenta encapsulation specialist, and Reiki practitioner. Inspired by the birth of her own children, she founded her firm, Birthing With Purpose, to empower moms to make informed decisions about their experiences, to eliminate disparities for moms of color, and to improve overall birth outcomes in South Carolina. She also co-founded, with several community partners, the Berkeley Early Education & Care Collective, where she serves as doula mentor of its Birthing A Community cohort. She has presented twice at the Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing national conference on health disparities among Black pregnant women, and served as volunteer doula at Florence Crittendon Home for pregnant teenage girls. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Charleston.
MEDIA: Rebecca Collett
As managing editor of WCBD News 2, Collett led on-air and online content decisions for six hours of news daily before leaving to found her own public relations and video production firm, Collett Media… just two months before the pandemic hit. Accustomed to making decisions from a place of freedom rather than fear, the award-winning journalist—she took home the Associated Press Award for best investigative report in 2017—was so successful her husband quit his job two years later. Along with running her boutique public relations firm, she serves on the board of the Larry and Rebecca Collett Foundation, supporting global leadership and faith-based programs around the world. Collett, who seeks to approach every conversation with a spirit of love and honesty, holds a bachelor’s degree in electronic communications from the University of South Carolina.
TECHNOLOGY: Jessica D. Kearse
Kearse, head of a software project team at Columbia, S.C. insurance technology firm Yovant, was a member of the executive team that revitalized the Clemson Black Alumni Council after years of dormancy. During her tenure on its board, this senior consultant served as director of technology and communications, marketing, and special events, leveraging technology to increase efficiency and raising over $20,000 for student programming and scholarships. Today she serves on the board of insurance technology collaborative Its.cola, where she chairs the talent committee. She has also served as vice president of the Edisto Clemson Club, a board member of the Clemson Women’s Alumni Council and the Clemson Black Alumni Council, and a Young Professionals InsurTech panelist. This ambitious servant leader holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Clemson University and an MBA from Webster University.
ABOUT YWCA GREATER CHARLESTON
For 115 years, YWCA Greater Charleston has worked to eliminate racism and empower women in South Carolina’s Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties.
Among its initiatives to eliminate racism are its multi-day MLK Celebration, one of the city’s longest running events; annual Stand Against Racism; and Racial Equity Institute workshops equipping local leaders and laypeople to address racism. It empowers women with its annual What Women Bring event, attended by hundreds to empower South Carolina’s women in business, community, and culture; WE 360°, helping women of color overcome barriers in entrepreneurship; Own The Room public speaking workshops empowering women’s success; and women’s health programs. It brought the first Girls Who Code club for middle school girls to Charleston; today its Y Girls Code program includes female students of all ages. Its SheStrong program empowers young women in high school to develop as leaders and changemakers. For more information, visit ywcagc.org.