New board members welcomed for Girl Scouts of America — Mountains to Midlands

By: Staff report
Carolyn Harbison
Debbie Hamm
Frances Griggs
Gloria Close

UPSTATE — Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands has announced the election of nine new members to the 22 member Board of Directors serving a 22-county jurisdiction.

The nine new members elected to serve are Jackie Blakley of Anderson, Gloria Close of Spartanburg, Frances Griggs of Camden, Debbie Hamm from Sumter, Carolyn Harbison from Spartanburg, Maggie Meekins from Columbia, Lesley Moore of Greenville, Liying Shen of Greenville and Margaret Young of Spartanburg.

Jackie Blakley Anderson is Dean of Business and Public Services at Tri County Technical College. She has a BBA from the University of Georgia, a MBA and PhD in Education Leadership from Clemson University. Blakely is Chair of First Steps and serves with African American Leadership Council and Delta Sigma Theta. In addition, she serves as President of SC American Association of Women in Community Colleges and is the college representative for the SC Women in Higher Education, both in Columbia. She is an active member of Generostee Baptist Church.

“As a board member, I plan to support the goals of the Girl Scout organization to help them move forward. I have a passion for working with the youth and helping them to realize and accomplish their goals,” said Blakely. “I enjoy teaching them, sharing my experiences and helping them to learn about things that they never thought about. I believe that I can learn a great deal from Girl Scouts of SC, and I also think that I bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences that are unique to me that I can share with others and we will all benefit.”

Gloria Close Spartanburg is an educational consultant with Web Close Consulting. She has a B.S. from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and a M. Ed. and Ed. D. from North Carolina State University. Close is a board member of the Association of Junior Leagues International, President of Junior League of Spartanburg, a founding board member of Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Spartanburg, Chair and founding board member of Family Care Council, the Governor’s Job Training Council and a board member of Children’s Trust of S.C.

“The extent to which young women are empowered to lead and maximize their individual potential is critical to the future of all communities. Girl Scouts offers one of the best means to enhance the strengths and confidence of our future leaders,” said Close. “I am pleased to be a part of such a vital, inspiring and encouraging organization. It has always amazed me what women can accomplish when they unite behind a cause of endeavor.”

Frances Griggs Camden is Sr. VP and General Counsel at AgFirst Farm Credit Bank. She has a BA, History from Clemson University and Juris Doctorate from University of South Carolina School of Law. Frances is WIP member and volunteer of Richland County United Way, a volunteer with Interscholastic Equestrian Association and a member and volunteer at Grace Episcopal Church. She has previously served as a board member of Kershaw County United Way, a member of Rotary International, and board member of Clemson Womens’ Council.

She says, “As a former Girl Scout and troop leader, I know the difference that Girl Scouts makes in young girls’ lives to help them become successful as adults and future leaders. I am excited about the opportunity to support the vision of the leadership center and the Girl Scout Mission.”

Debbie Hamm Sumter is Interim Superintendent of Sumter School District. She has a BA Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara, a MEd, PhD / Ed Research from the University of South Carolina and an Ed. Leadership/Ed Specialist from University of South Carolina. Hamm is former President and current member of Forest Acre Rotary, board member of United Way of the Midlands, Executive Board Member of Midlands Education and Business Alliance Columbia, member of Columbia Chamber of Commerce Cost of Doing Business Committee, member of Women in Philanthropy, and serves on the Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc. (MIRCI) Youth Advisory Committee.

“I am particularly interested in nurturing the talents, self-confidence and leadership skills of girls and young women. I hope to contribute to helping them become more informed of the opportunities that they have to learn and to fill the roles in their lives that are most important to them, whether in terms of their own goals or the pursuit of their own passions,” she said. “I am impressed with how Girl Scouting already grows these elements of young women’s lives and hope to make a contribution that will continue and enhance that tradition.”

Carolyn Harbison attended Converse College and has a BA from the University of Georgia. Active in community affairs, she is on the board of the Charles Lea Center in Spartanburg, member of the Spartanburg Bike & Pedestrian Commission, a graduate of Spartanburg Regional Hospital Spartanburg Regional Fellows Program, Spartanburg Water Matters Academy, and Spartanburg Citizen Academy. Caroline is Co-Chair of Emerald Circle Spartanburg, and served as President of the legacy Piedmont Area Girl Scout Council and on the Governance Committee during Council Realignment.

She says, “My goal as a board member is to continue to assure the existence of a viable Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands for Girl Scouts in this local region to continue to empower all the girls of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. To enable all girls to be women of courage, confidence and character and embody them as go-getters, innovators, risk takes, and leaders (G.I.R.L.).

“In order to assure this personal goal as a board members it is of utmost importance for the board to provide the leadership and the financial means for the continuation of the Girl Scout program. I was and continue to be a Girl Scout as are my daughters and granddaughters.”

Maggie Meekins Columbia is the Legislative Resource Attorney at the Children’s Law Center at the University of South Carolina School of Law. A Gold Award Recipient, Maggie has a BA in Political Science and Spanish with honors from the University of South Carolina Honors College and JD from the University of Texas School of Law.

Previously, Meekins was a prosecutor representing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as well a private and non-profit attorney. She is a current board member for Katrina’s Kids, Richland County CASA Foundation and a member of Zonta International.

“I love reading, hiking, and music,” she said. “I am passionate about domestic and family violence prevention and helping people who have been victims of domestic violence and child abuse. I have always been active in volunteering and public serve and believe opportunities to engage young people and create a new generation of public servants are crucial.”

Lesley Moore is an attorney with Freeman and Moore PC, representing clients in estate planning and probate. She has a BA from Randolph Macon Woman’s College and JD from the University of Virginia Law School. She previously worked with Wyche Burgess Freeman and Parham. Lesley is a Certified Specialist, Estate Planning and Probate Law. Lesley is a previous board member of our Council and served as Chair of the Property Committee.

She has also served as Board Member of Ronald McDonald House, Community Foundation of Greater Greenville, Greenville Zoo Educational Foundation, Child Development Committee of YWCA, St. Francis Foundation and Greenville’s Child. She is Past Chair and current Member of Greenville Estate Planning Council, Past Treasurer and Member of Greenville Professional Women’s Forum, and other professional organizations. Lesley has a rich background with the Girl Scouts during and after realignment through the Development and Nominating Committees and board leadership.

Liying Shen is Senior Engineer with BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC. She has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Master of Science- Automation from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, and a Master of Science – Electrical Engineering from Clemson University. She has served as Treasurer of the non-profit Greenville Chinese School.

Shen says, “As a woman with a career in engineering, I want to demystify the STEM field for young girls conditioned to believe that they are worse off in math and science. Empowering girls and teaching them to be leaders of their generation is, in my opinion, an incredibly worthy goal.”

Margaret Young is a CPA and Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has a BS in Accounting from Wofford College. Margaret is a current Board Member of Chapman Cultural Center and has served as a Board Member for Mary Black Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands Foundation, United Way of the Piedmont, Girls Scouts of the Piedmont and Terrier Club. As a Girl Scout volunteer, Margaret serves on our Council’s Audit Committee and was a board member and Treasurer on the legacy Piedmont Area Council.

“I have always been interested in bettering the lives of girls through leadership enrichment opportunities. The Girl Scouts have so many different opportunities through their programming to do just this. I believe exposure to different experiences helps shape who we are and who we become,” said Young. “The Leadership Center will be one more great way to enrich girls’ lives. I am excited to be a part of trying to make a difference.”

Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands serves more than 12,400 girls, grades K5-12, and more than 5,100 adults in 22 counties of central and western S.C., including Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, and Union.

Carolyn Harbison Harbison Courtesy photo

Debbie Hamm Hamm Courtesy photo

Frances Griggs Griggs Courtesy photo

Gloria Close Close Courtesy photo

Jackie Blakely Blakely Courtesy photo

Lesley Moore Moore Courtesy photo

Liying Shen Shen Courtesy photo

Maggie Meekins Meekins Courtesy photo

Margaret Young Young Courtesy photo

Staff report