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2013 Inspiring Women

Rebecca Wesson Darwin • • •
President and CEO, Garden & Gun

Rebecca Wesson Darwin is president & CEO of Garden & Gun, the media company she formed with partners Pierre Manigault and J. Edward Bell III that owns Garden & Gun. She launched Garden & Gun in Spring 2007, after moving back south to Charleston, S.C., following a successful career in publishing in New York City. In 2007, the magazine was named the No. 2 hottest launch among more than 700 magazines. The magazine won a National Magazine Award in General Excellence by the American Society of Magazine Editors and was named to Advertising Age’s 2011 Magazine A-List (ranked No. 4 out of 10.) The Garden & Gun brand has continued to develop under her direction through the creation of the Garden & Gun Club, the G & G Store, G & G Exclusives, and award-winning newsletters. 

Darwin established her career in at GQ, where she implemented national retail advertising and promotions programs and later became the first female publisher and vice president of The New Yorker, publisher of Mirabella, and was the marketing director of Fortune. She also served as the president and CEO of the National Association for Female Executives. 

She grew up in Columbia, S.C., and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1975 with a degree in history. In 1988, she was named UNC's first-ever Distinguished Young Alumnus, was a founding member of the university's advisory board for the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, served on the Board of Directors of the General Alumni Association, and is a member of the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council.

 

Muriel O'Tuel • • •
Educator, Psychologist, Author

Muriel O'Tuel has taught at all levels from elementary school through university. In various school districts she served as director of guidance, director of staff development, and director of psychological services. Prior to her retirement, she served as an assistant to the superintendent of the Horry County Schools, one of South Carolina's largest and fastest growing school districts. She served as director of guidance in the Columbia, S.C., schools, and director of psychological services and staff development in the Summerville Schools where she was also a practicing psychologist. 

She is an acclaimed author and keynote speaker who has motivated a variety of audiences including educational, business, church and civic organizations. She has presented at many state, regional and international conventions and was selected as an international speaker to Costa Rica and Oslo, Norway. Since 1981 she has been a member of the educational group Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and has served as chapter president and on various state committees. Her book Footprints on the Heart: The Caring Path to Prosperity (1992) was nominated for the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Educator's Award. She is currently working on her second book, which deals with aging, generational differences, and leaving a positive legacy.

O'Tuel earned a bachelor of arts in English from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in North Carolina, a master's degree in counseling from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in counselor education and psychology from the University of South Carolina.

She serves on the Spadoni College of Education Board of Visitors at Coastal Carolina University.

 

Elizabeth Johnston Patterson • • •
Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Elizabeth Johnston Patterson attended public schools in suburban Maryland but graduated from Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg, S.C., in 1957. In 1961, she received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in Columbia, S.C. She subsequently studied political science at the University of South Carolina.

S.C. Representative Patterson carved out a political career as a Democrat in a conservative-leaning district, portraying herself as a budget hawk and opponent of tax increases, though not at the expense of providing for working-class needs. The daughter of a powerful politician, her long experience in public service, fiscal austerity, and ability to capitalize on the South Carolina GOP’s internal divisions gave her narrow majorities over her opponents. Ultimately, her middle-of-the-road approach lost its appeal in a conservative state.

 

Sarah Reese • • •
World-renowned operatic soprano and vocal coach

"A new soprano of high promise, with a gleaming voice," wrote the music critic for The New Yorker magazine while, more recently, the New York Times lauded her "Luscious voice... with disarmingly natural instincts and compelling stage presence." Sarah Reese started learning about stage presence as a child. "I grew up in the small town of Pelzer, and I loved to watch the "Ted Mack Amateur Hour," recalls Reese. "After watching the show I would go into the woods and sing nonsense and dream of being on 'Ted Mack'."

While working on her music education degree at Furman University, she auditioned on "Ted Mack" and won. "It takes a lot of dedication to be an opera singer. After winning on 'Ted Mack', I had to work hard and make many sacrifices," Reese said, "I still practice every day." Reese has performed with some of the most famous orchestras and conductors throughout the world. She has worked with conductors Andrew Davis, Leslie Dunner, David Zinman, Paul Dunke, Christian Badea, and Maestro Herbert von Karajan.

 

Jean Hoefer Toal • • •
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of South Carolina 

Born August 11, 1943, in Columbia, S.C., Jean Hoefer Toal attended parochial and public schools in Columbia and graduated from Dreher High School in 1961 where she was recognized as the state's top debater. Chief Justice Toal received bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 1965 from Agnes Scott College where she served on the Judicial Council, National Supervisory Board of U. S. National Student Association and played goalie for the field hockey team. She received her J.D. degree in 1968 from the University of South Carolina School of Law where she served as managing editor, leading articles editor and book review editor of the South Carolina Law Review. She is a member of the Order of the Coif, Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa.

Toal began her service as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of South Carolina on March 17, 1988. She was reelected in February 1996 and was installed as chief justice on March 23, 2000, for the balance of the term of her predecessor, which expired June 30, 2004. She was reelected in February 2004 and was installed as chief justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina on June 9, 2004, for a 10-year term.