2013 Inspiring Women
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, South Carolina, 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, South Carolina, 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 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, South Carolina, 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 attended public schools in suburban Maryland but graduated from Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1957. In 1961, she received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina. She subsequently studied political science at the University of South Carolina and later worked as recruiting officer for the Peace Corps and VISTA, as a Head Start coordinator for the South Carolina Office of Economic Opportunity, and as a staff assistant for South Carolina Representative James R. Mann from 1969 to 1970.
She made her debut in elective politics when she won an open seat on the Spartanburg County Council in 1975 and served in that capacity for two years. In 1979, she was elected to the South Carolina senate, where she served through 1986. Patterson declared her candidacy for a South Carolina U.S. House seat in 1986, when four-term Republican Representative Carroll A. Campbell Jr., declined renomination in order to run for governor. Patterson campaigned as a fiscal conservative with a social conscience and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and went on to serve three terms in the U.S. Congress.
After leaving Congress, she continued to be actively engaged in the political arena running for the lieutenant governorship of South Carolina in 1994. While she won the closely contested Democratic primary, she eventually lost in the general election. Patterson began teaching political science at Spartanburg Methodist College. In 1999, she received master's degree in liberal arts from Converse College.
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 her ability to capitalize on the South Carolina GOP’s internal divisions gave her narrow majorities over her opponents.
"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. Some of the roles she has played include the Priestress in Aida, Idomeneo, and Musetta in La Bohenne. Recently, Reese performed and recorded, on the Koch International Classics label, Barber's Prayers of Kirkegaard with the Chicago Symphony. In addition to performing various roles in Switzerland, England, France, Monte Carlo, Italy and Russia, Reese has traveled to Toulouse, Strasbourg, Dusseldorf and Cologne with the Festival Orchestra of Sofia, Bulgaria, as the soprano soloist in Verdi's Requiem and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Reese participated in a history-making cultural exchange when she sang in the American premiere of Rodion Schedrin's opera, The Dead Souls, in joint performances with the Bolshoi and Kirov opera companies. Her most recent accomplishments include performing with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London in Tippett's A Child of Our Time and with the American Composers Orchestra at New York's Carnegie Hall in the American premiere of The Leaden Echo, The Golden Echo.
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.