In 2015, Jennifer Ainsworth was chosen as South Carolina’s Teacher of the Year. Ainsworth is a National Board-certified special needs teacher at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach. This is her 10th year working in education. As Teacher of the Year, Ainsworth traveled around the state of South Carolina as an ambassador during the 2014-2015 school year. She is passionate about building positive relationships between general and special education students and continues to spread her message of acceptance, awareness and respect. Her class motto is, “We see the ABILITY, not the dis ABILITY!”
She graduated in 1994 from Presbyterian College with a Bachelor of Science in special education.
Ainsworth is married to high school sweetheart, William, and they have two sons: Will and Cole. She is also an avid baseball mom.
Delores Porcher Dacosta is the regional director to U.S. Senator Tim Scott. She represents him in various communities and at events throughout the state of South Carolina. Dacosta has spent more than 20 years in public service and in the political arena, including working for three U.S. representatives and one U.S. senator.
She served as chief of staff to former Congressman Henry Brown Jr., which is the highest-ranked position in the personal office of a member of Congress. During her tenure on Capitol Hill, she met every President since Ronald Reagan and witnessed firsthand Nelson Mandela’s address to Congress expressing his feelings after being released from prison by making reference to the famous words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, "Free at last free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last."
She began her career as a law enforcement officer with the Charleston City Police Department and was later appointed by the late Governor Carroll Campbell as a magistrate for the county. She also has an extensive background in the federal legislative process with a primary focus in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, education and veterans issues.
Dacosta enjoys talking to young people and sharing her life’s experiences with the hopes of encouraging others to set their goals high, make life’s failures stepping stones to shape their paths and never give up.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Public Administration from Strayer University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in strategic leadership at Regent University.
She is a native of Awendaw, South Carolina. Dacosta has two sons: Richard who dreams of becoming a world famous chef and Aaron who believes his rap music will make him rich one day. But the love of her life is her six-year-old grandson, Corey.
Minor Mickel Shaw is president of the commercial land development firm Micco Corporation and serves as chairman of The Daniel-Mickel Foundation. She is a trustee of the Duke Endowment, the Hollingsworth Funds and the Belle Baruch Foundation. She is vice chairman of the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Commission where she was instrumental in bringing Southwest Airlines to South Carolina. She is also on the board of the Palmetto Institute.
Shaw has also served in many previous leadership roles with various organizations, including the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts Foundation, the South Carolina Foundation for Independent Colleges, the Urban League of the Upstate and YMCA of Greenville. She also helped establish the Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities year-round school.
She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has served on the General Alumni Association Board, the UNC Board of Visitors and the National Campaign Steering Committee and as chairman of the Arts and Sciences Foundation.
Shaw has won statewide and local awards including the state of South Carolina’s Order of the Palmetto Award (2000), the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Award, the Athena Award and the Urban League’s Whitney young Humanitarian Award.
She has been recognized as Volunteer of the Year for the YMCA of Greenville, Citizen of the Year of the Greenville Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, and a Woman of Distinction of the Greenville area Girl Scouts Council. The Greenville News also named Shaw in its “Top 25 Most Influential.” In addition, she has been awarded honorary degrees from Furman University and Wofford College.
Shaw lives in Greenville, South Carolina, with her husband Hal. She is the mother of three and grandmother of six.
Barbara Hickman Whye leads global diversity and inclusion strategic initiatives and program investments to deliver tangible results against Intel’s Diversity in Technology Initiative and $300M commitment. She is driven to improve access to technology careers and retention by creating opportunities for diverse talent that allow all to feel welcomed, challenged and valued. Her current investment portfolio has a huge emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) awareness, ecosystem development and retention in science and technology careers. Whye’s passion for advancing STEM practices has resulted in catalytic global programs that have fueled innovation in classrooms, empowered women and under-served youth, and strengthened communities.
Prior to transitioning to the philanthropic side of Intel, she spent 15 years in key leadership and project engineering roles responsible for acquiring and starting up new facilities for Intel Corporation worldwide. Whye led operations for multiple international startups with fast-paced ramps resulting in rich and rewarding cultural experiences. She and her family lived in Costa Rica for two years as Intel established a critical manufacturing presence there.
Prior to joining Intel in 1997, Whye held engineering positions with NCR and BellSouth in Columbia, South Carolina.
She is a certified executive leadership coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a professional certified facilitator with experience in the fields of program management, strategy development, and mergers/acquisitions. She is a graduate of the Business for Diplomatic Action Fellows Program that resulted in a three-week global leadership exchange in the Middle East (Egypt and Dubai) and is a recipient of the Intel Arizona Lifetime Diversity Achievement Award. She was recently awarded STEMconnector’s 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM and is also the 2015 Recipient of the Society of Women Engineer’s Spark Award.
She received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and an MBA, both from the University of South Carolina. She is currently a Ph.D. student at Arizona State University in human social dimensions and technology.
Whye has been a featured speaker at the Women's Leadership Conference in 2014, 2015 and 2016.