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How did they get there? Area mayors share pathways to public service during CCU panel

October 11, 2018
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune.Conway Mayor Barbara Jo Blain-Bellamy.North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley.

Mayors Brenda Bethune of Myrtle Beach, Barbara Jo Blain-Bellamy of Conway and Marilyn Hatley of North Myrtle Beach will participate in a panel discussion titled “Leading Women in Local Government” on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the Johnson Auditorium at Coastal Carolina University. The trio will discuss women in governmental roles and their personal pathways to leadership and public service.

The event is hosted by Women in Philanthropy and Leadership (WIPL) at CCU. A post-event reception is sponsored by WIPL, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. The panel and reception are both free and open to the public.

Meghan Miller, a 2008 CCU graduate who anchors Fox News at 10 and News 13 at 5:30 p.m. for WBTW News 13, will moderate the discussion.

Bethune, a Myrtle Beach native, serves as the CEO and majority owner of Better Brands Inc. She also owns BJ Investments, a property investment, development and rental company, as well as two bridal boutiques: The Little White Dress in Myrtle Beach and Maddison Row in Charleston. Bethune earned a degree in business and completed the Anheuser-Busch Management Development Program.

Bethune has received the Distinguished Citizens Award from the Pee Dee Council of Boy Scouts of America, the Special Operations Wounded Warriors’ Tip of the Sword Award and the Horry-Georgetown Early Care and Teacher Education’s Champions for Children Award.

Bethune was recognized by the Palmetto Leadership Council for her contributions to South Carolina. She has served on the boards of the Coastal Educational Foundation, CCU’s Spadoni College of Education and Wall College of Business Administration, and the Coastal Carolina Bank. Bethune also was a founding board member and previous board president of the Children’s Museum of South Carolina.

She is a member of the S.C. Beer Association and National Beer Wholesalers Association. She also serves on the Coastal Alliance Board, Grand Strand Area Transportation Study Policy Committee and the Municipal Association of South Carolina. Bethune is a member of Seacoast Vineyard Church in Myrtle Beach. Her term as mayor continues through January 2022.

Blain-Bellamy, a native of Conway, was sworn in as mayor of Conway on Jan. 4, 2016, having previously served on city council from 1993-1998 and 2012-2016, and as mayor pro tem in 1996 and 2015. Blain-Bellamy served four years as Conway’s assistant city administrator. In January 2011, she founded Community Legal Services, a private law office providing legal services to low- and moderate-income families.

Blain-Bellamy is the 2011 recipient of Leadership Grand Strand’s Ann DeBock Leadership Award, the 2010 Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina’s Mary Brewer Women of Distinction Award, the 2009 Zonta International Gold Star Award, the 2009 Omega Psi Phi Community Service Award, and the 2009 NAACP Leadership Award. Blain-Bellamy is a graduate of the inaugural Waccamaw Class of the American Leadership Forum, Leadership South Carolina, Leadership Grand Strand and the Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government. She serves on the board of PALM Motor Sports School.

Blain-Bellamy earned a juris doctorate from the University of South Carolina School of Law in December 2000 and was sworn into the South Carolina Bar Association in May 2001. She also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of South Carolina in education and sociology, respectively. Blain-Bellamy is married to Bobby Bellamy with whom she shares four children. She is a member of Friendship Baptist Church, where she is a youth usher leader.

Marilyn Hatley is in her third term as mayor of North Myrtle Beach. A graduate of the Beaux Art College of Cosmetology, she is a certified cosmetology teacher. She owned Visible Designs Inc. for 40 years.

Hatley has been actively involved for many years in community service through her work with the North Myrtle Beach Woman’s Club and numerous other charitable organizations. She serves as chairperson of the Horry County League of Cities and the Coastal Alliance, is on the board of directors for the South Carolina Mayor’s Association, and is one of the founders and directors of Coastal Carolina National Bank.

Hatley also attended the University of South Carolina and received a Teacher’s Methods Certificate. She also studied classical piano for 10 years, competing on local, state and national levels. She and her husband, David Hatley, have been married for 50 years. They have one son and one granddaughter.

WIPL was founded in 2007 under the leadership of CCU first lady Terri DeCenzo. It is committed to inspiring, connecting and empowering women to strengthen their individual and collective voices in leadership at CCU and in the community, state, region and beyond. Members include faculty, staff and community leaders who are committed to creating and supporting opportunities for women in all areas of leadership and across all disciplines, while continuing to invest in scholarships for CCU students. Since its inception, WIPL has awarded 210 students more than $260,000 in financial support through a fully endowed scholarship and annual awards.

The Johnson Auditorium is in Room 116 of the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration building, 119 Chanticleer Drive E.

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