Named Gift Honorees 2019
Honored in May 2020
AAUW of South Carolina
Lisa Ellis is a teacher of 19 years, with a BA in English and an MA in Organizational Leadership. In 2018 she began the organization SC for Ed with a few other teachers, with the vision to place an extraordinary teacher in every classroom in SC. Key among their goals were to improve educator salaries and benefits, to improve educator working conditions and to increase public school funding. To that end they organized a Lobby Day at the SC state capitol in 2018 with more than 10,000 teachers attending and wearing their red shirts. The organization led by Lisa has been active in reviewing education legislation and attending committee hearings and meeting with legislators to address shortfalls in upcoming bills. Lisa is passionate about the mission and is a motivating speaker that we were lucky to have speak at our Leadership Workshop in 2019. SC for Ed has complementary goals to AAUW’s core focus on education. AAUW is a Community Partner of SC for Ed.
Elizabeth Colbert-Busch is the Managing Partner of Colbert Busch LLC, a firm specializing in higher education and business partnerships. She is currently contracted with SC Aeronautical Training Center at Trident Technical College reviewing business/academic partnerships both current and targeted, research grant partnership opportunities and the Awareness Campaign.
Colbert-Busch was responsible for Clemson University Restoration Institute’s (CURI) private-public partnerships for business and economic development from 2010 to 2019. CURI’s projects and programs include the U.S. Department of Energy’s grant to build the state-of-the-art SCE&G Energy Innovation Center. CURI has been recognized by Engineering News Record (ENR) “Best of the Best” and Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce “Trail Blazer Award”. It is home of the Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility, the Duke Energy Electric Grid Research, Innovation and Development Center (eGrid), the Warren Lasch Conservation Center and the future Zucker Family Graduate Education Center.
Colbert-Bush is currently working with Suzanne Dickerson to expand Girls Auto Know to the South Carolina Low Country and eventually the entire state to help middle school girls learn more about STEM paths and careers.
Suzanne Dickerson is a founding board member of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum and serves as vice president of alliances. This multi-state organization provides professional development opportunities for current and upcoming women in executive positions in the automotive industry, as well as scholarships for young women pursuing STEM and automotive careers. She is also a board member of the South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance, the South Carolina Automotive Council and the Greenville Professional Women’s Forum. Dickerson has a total of 19 years in the automotive industry, and holds both a Bachelor of Science in International Business and a Master of Arts in West European Studies from Indiana University
Dickerson was instrumental in securing a $560,000 endowment to Clemson from the Bosch Community Fund to provide scholarships for young women and under-represented populations in the automotive engineering program. In addition, she founded an annual event held at CU-ICAR called Girls Auto Know that invites up to 300 middle school girls to learn more about STEM paths and careers in the automotive industry.
The Charleston Branch of AAUW names Ellie Setser as Funds Gift recipient for 2020. We polled a few of the long-time members of the branch for input on Ellie’s many contributions to the community and to our Branch. We received many responses from branch members who have known Ellie for many years. Here is a sampling of their input.
From JoAnne Simson:
Ellie Setser (Marie Eloise Setser) has been a friend and a force for good during the nearly half-century I’ve known her in Charleston, South Carolina. We met at the Unitarian Church in the early 1970s, and she has been an active and reliable leader in the church during much of that time. We’ve also interacted in community-wide social-action groups, particularly those promoting the wellbeing of women. Four or five decades ago, that was truly a challenge – especially during efforts to pass the ERA!
Ellie has been consistently willing to take leadership roles in groups promoting social justice, including the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She has also been generous with her time and resources in promoting the wellbeing of many others who have been socially disadvantaged.
Ellie is a consistently active and thoughtful presence in our church and in community advocacy groups such as the Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM). Despite living in a biased local culture, she continues to advocate for fairness and social justice. If Ellie Setser has a superpower (and I think she has) it is her calm, determined persistence in pursuit of fairness and well-being for all.
From Carl Tempel:
Ellie also served SC AAUW AS PUBLIC POLICY CHAIR and was instrumental in developing partnerships with organizations of mutual concern on AAUW issues.
From Sue Shealy:
Ellie served as state president of AAUW in the past. She stepped up with local Family Services (she was on the board) when they were without a director and filled in until someone could be found. I would describe her ambiance as fun and competent and that her word is her bond. When she says she will do something, she always does it, not to mention she does it well!! She is a star in our AAUW Crown.
From the Charleston AAUW Board:
We could not pick a more deserving member for this honor. Ellie makes us a better branch just by being a part of us.
Greenville County Branch
Pamela Parrish is the Greenville Branch Public Policy Chair. She first became acquainted with AAUW as a member of the large and dynamic San Jose, CA, Branch. There, she was impressed by the energy, knowledge and commitment of AAUW members to fight for equity for women. In 2017, after a long career in the Silicon Valley Tech Industry, she and her husband returned to Greenville, her hometown. She sought out AAUW to continue the fight for equity for women she had championed in Silicon Valley and in the community she had left soon after graduating from Winthrop University which was then a women’s college. She graduated with a BA in Math with Art minor, a clear description of her bifurcated brain and thinking styles. ;- )
Pamela contributes her considerable skills, knowledge and enthusiasm and is faithful in her active involvement in Branch and State programming, committed as she is to the goals and purposes of AAUW. Pamela is also active in Greenville Women Giving and Greenville Senior Leaders. To top that off, Pamela was named our “Hostess with the Mostest” having opened her lovely home for our Annual Picnic in August of 2019!
Members of the Greenville Branch met Sara at the South Carolina State Convention in the spring of 2017 before she had even joined AAUW. Sara had recently relocated to South Carolina and was between jobs when she saw the event advertised on Facebook. The topic of salary negotiation caught her eye and she thought it would be a good opportunity to learn and meet some new people. In line for breakfast, Sara met a member of the Greenville Branch, sat with the other members during the event, and by the end of the convention had registered to be a member.
From the date of first joining, Sara has served as Communications Director/Secretary of the Branch Board and has done an outstanding job both as editor and publisher of our Branch newsletter!
Sara earned her Master’s Degree in Student Affairs Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Merrimack College. Prior to moving to South Carolina, Sara spent over a decade working in higher education, specifically in Residential Life where she enjoyed working with students and the opportunity to see them grow and develop during their college years. Sara currently serves as an HR Coordinator at InnovateHR.
Below, we wish to incorporate a section of the message Sara wrote to the Board on July 30, 2018. We bring it out now and again to read and further digest and believe it to be very worthwhile to share more broadly. Where she challenges us all to have a “consistent message” concerning “Why AAUW:”
“In terms of membership, I think we should have a clear vision as a board that we share with all members about why someone should join AAUW: Greenville. Every current member should know our 2 minute elevator speech (whatever we determine that to be) to be able to help grow the organization. Something for us to consider in developing this – if there is a prospective member who wants to get involved but can only commit (time and/or funding for dues) for one organization, why should they pick AAUW: Greenville over organizations who have a similar mission such as LeadHER Greenville, WREN (Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network), Junior League of Greenville, etc.? How do they benefit personally/professionally through membership in AAUW: Greenville? Part of this comes from a conversation I had with a young woman who I was trying to get to join the branch. We had a great conversation and she is going to try to attend future branch events but isn’t going to join as a member at this time. I was able to share with her information about the growth of the branch and opportunities for leadership, work that is done through national and different focus areas such as STEM, legal support, the pay negotiation workshops, etc., but I know for me personally it would have been helpful to have a good elevator speech about “Why AAUW: Greenville.” Based on my lengthy conversation with her, I don’t think the two minute elevator pitch would have pushed her over the edge to join (she is very involved in lots of organizations and is looking for a large community of other young female professionals which is not our current membership demographic) but I think a consistent message that we all have would be great.”
June serves on the Greenville Branch Board as AAUW Funds Chair. We can attribute almost 100% of this year’s fundraising success to June’s initiative to use her considerable artistic talents to create paintings and pen and ink drawings of iconic venues across Greenville County and to turn these into sets of lovely notecards—not to sell but to reward any level of giving to AAUW Funds!
June graduated from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio with a B.A. in 1960. She married the same year and taught geography and English in a Junior High for one year. June states,
” I am a product of the 50’s. As a wife and mother (of 3) I followed my husband’s career. We moved from Ohio to Michigan, New Jersey, Colorado, New Jersey and South Carolina. No matter where we lived, I was the ultimate volunteer: Brownie and Girl Scout Leader, PTA president, First Aid and CPR instructor, Meals on Wheels volunteer, among the many areas.
“I also joined the business world from 1980 until 1994. During those 14 years at Dun & Bradstreet, I rose from being a Customer Service Representative to Manager of computer software projects. It was truly exciting to have a credit card in my name only!
“In 1988, when our daughter was planning her wedding, I took a calligraphy class in order to address the invitations …. and the rest is history as far as my love for pen and ink. Being able to raise money for education through art is even more exciting than that credit card 40 years ago!”
It is for June’s generous efforts that the Greenville Branch is able to recognize THREE Named Gift Honorees this year!
Rock Hill Branch
Terry Plumb moved to Rock Hill in 1987 and served until his retirement as editor of the local newspaper, The Herald. Terry and his wife Betty immediately began to make contributions to our community and they continue to do so even in retirement. If you want a task done, and done well, you need only ask that Terry and Betty be a part of the solution.
For Christmas 2013, Terry’s daughter Amanda gifted him with a Little Free Library, which she had designed and made. Terry became the owner of the first Little Free Library in York County when it went in the ground at the end of his driveway in February 2014. He is a chartered member of Little Free Library (LFL), which is a non-profit organization begun in 2009 by two fellows from Wisconsin and is now in 70 countries. The organization’s slogan is “Take a Book, Share a Book.”
Terry is a registered “LFL Steward” and not only takes care of his own LFL but makes sure other LFLs around town have books in them, especially children’s books. He works with organizations like the Early Learning Partnership and the York County Library to keep books flowing. Little Free Libraries are located in lots of locations around the county and the City of Rock Hill’s new free bus system also has libraries. His own Little Free Library has become a community staple, encouraging families and individuals to make reading an important part of their lives.
During this spring’s Covid-19 crisis, Terry made the tough decision to close his LFL in order to avoid others getting sick as a result of books being exchanged. As he used to check his LFL each day, and search for new additions that he brought into the house to label as an LFL book, he thought it best not to bring books in the house. But Terry is very hopeful that once this crisis passes and everyone is healthy again, his Little Free Library will be up and running again.
Terry currently serves as President of Friends of the York County Library and takes that position very seriously in promoting a better library system to serve all of York County, promote literacy and the love of reading and books throughout the community.