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#NEWberry: Newberry Empowering Women May-Jun 2019

Newberry Downtown Development Association (NDDA) celebrates Newberry’s abundance of successful women leaders: Newberry Empowers Women. Join us as we highlight these amazing ladies who make a difference in our community! 

Gloria Freeman & Janet Jordan

Downtown Newberry

Gloria is originally from Columbia and Janet is from Sumter. Janet attended Newberry College for 4 years in the 1970's before Newberry was so cool. Both live at Lake Murray now. Janet is still very active with the Newberry College Lettermen's Club and has seen firsthand how Newberry has grown and blossomed over the years, which helped a lot in our decision to expand our food tour business to Newberry. Both Janet and Gloria love the small town feel, and the restaurants and store owners have been so welcoming to our new business. Our tour guests say it is like stepping back in time, and the restaurants are really really good! Our vision for Newberry is to see Newbery keep that small town friendly folk atmosphere with more restaurant options starting up in the downtown area. We absolutely LOVE the Standard on Main building and even encouraged Mellow Mushroom to give it a look-see when Flying Pie closed. Our vision is to bring more and more people to Newberry to experience its charm.   Many of our tour guests are from Columbia, Chapin and Irmo and have already made return trips to Newberry to eat at the great restaurants. The advice we would give our 20-year old self is to follow your dreams, work hard, and be dedicated to accomplish your goals.  Also, be thankful for each day and the blessings you receive.

You would be surprised to know that Gloria was one of the first aerobics Instructors in Columbia, and Janet is in the Newberry College Athletic Hall of Fame (inducted in the same class with Jimmie Coggins).

Laura Kneece

Newberry County Chamber of Commerce, Board Member

Downtown Newberry

Originally, I am from Fairfax County, Virginia. I moved to South Carolina when I was 13 years old, so I have completed all the shots necessary to be a true South Carolinian. I feel Newberry chose me. I met my husband Kyle, who is a Newberry native, while both of us were working for Lexington County. When we married in 2014, there was no question where we would live. Newberry is my forever home.

My vision for Newberry is that I would love to see Newberry County develop into being a very prosperous county but for it to keep the home town feel and charm. ​

The advice I would give my 20-year old self istwofold: (1) Life is never what you have planned. As young kids, we are inclined to have our life “planned out.” But, God has His own plans for us, and

(2) Don’t take yourself or life so seriously.

You would be surprised to know that I am a really shy and quiet person and get extremely nervous in big crowds or when it comes to public speaking.

Mary Moore

Restaurant Manager, Figaro The Dining Room

​Downtown Newberry

Brandi Worthy

​Downtown Newberry

I was born in Newberry and grew up in Pomaria. Moved to Lexington for a short time after high school but came back to Newberry to be closer to my family.

My vision for Newberry is to continue to see growth and increased business in and around Newberry. The advice I would give my 20-year old self is to continue my education. You would be surprised to know that I am the mother of four wonderful boys and have a fantastic step daughter and stepson.

Peggie West & Denise Reid

Peggie West: President, Newberry Museum; Newberry Opera House Foundation, Board Member,

Denise Reid: Vice-President, Newberry Museum; Chairman, Newberry Opera House Foundation, 

Downtown Newberry

Peggie West I'm from Cameron, SC, in Calhoun County. I chose Newberry because a good-looking young man from Newberry brought me here. My vision for Newberry is to see more industry county-side and more independent wholesale and retail businesses city-wide. The advice I would give my 20-year old self is to think before you act on anything. You would be surprised to know that I was a vocalist with big band and was on the road for three years.

I admire Billy Graham, the Evangelist. Denise Reid I was born in Brevard, North Carolina, but my husband (Mike) and I moved here from outside Atlanta.  Mike and I are Lutheran and have had a long affiliation with Newberry College. Our son Zeb and daughter-in-law Angela are Newberry College graduates; and when they made Newberry their home, we moved here when we retired to be near them and our grandchildren, Zoe and Zarek.   My vision for Newberry is that this County's historic past coupled with its present educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities will reap rewards through increased heritage tourism which will result in sustainable growth for all of Newberry County. The advice I would give my 20-year old self is to take time to talk and to listen to those older family members whose stories are now lost.   You would be surprised to know that I was asked to "Twist" with Chubby Checker--at the Newberry Opera House, of course!

Samie Truong

Chief Creative Officer, Emily Revolutionary Marketing Group Newberry County Young Professionals, Board Member; 

Miss Newberry, Committee Member

FASTTRAC participant, 2008

Downtown Newberry

I am from Atlanta, but went to Newberry College. I fell in love with the small town vibe, people and potential that Newberry has.

My vision for Newberry is a connected community that works together to build a Newberry that thrives on development, innovation and cultivation; along with holding tight to the core values of community, family and continuing to pave the way for our future legacies to grow and prosper.

The advice I would give my 20-year old self isto ask for help! Asking for guidance or knowledge is a key component to growing both professionally and personally. It's okay that you're not like the Mark Zuckerbergs or Kylie Jenners of the world. Keep your head held high, listen to advice when offered, and don't stop the hustle.

You would be surprised to know that I love Billy Joel music!

Brandis Agnew Robinson

President, The Champions,

Downtown Newberry

I’m from Newberry County where I was born and raised. I resided on Rosalyn Drive for the majority of my life. I am the owner of Trendsettaz Hair Studio located at 2089 Wilson Road in Newberry. I did not choose Newberry; it chose me it taught me everything I know and I chose to stay. My vision for Newberry is to help encourage people to believe in themselves and put action behind their dreams and thoughts. Use my platform to reach those that feel they have no hope or options.​

The advice I would give my 20-year old self is to live a little. Meaning go on vacations and explore the world. There will always be a chance to work and make money, but don’t get so caught up in making money that you forget to live.

I admire my parents Arlene and Thomas. I learned everything I know from them. From my mom I learned how to love and to always help people. Even if you are not able, there is always someone that can just be their guiding light. From my dad I learned how to conduct myself as a business woman and work well with my hands and my heart.

Christina Henricks

Commissioner, Newberry County Joint Planning Commission; Project Manager/Subject Matter Expert, SC Department of Health and Human Services, Co-Chair, Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) for City of Columbia

I am passionate about fostering a culture of walking, biking, and active living in Newberry. I have been active in efforts to partner with the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority to restore commuter bus services between Newberry and Columbia, and I shared the concept of Open Streets in Columbia from my experience on its Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee with the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department to encourage bringing this initiative to Newberry. I also serve on the Newberry County Joint Planning Commission. I am a Downtown resident and enjoy biking, running, playing tennis, and meeting new neighbors at Newberry's many community events. I grew up in Lexington, SC. I am also an alumna of both USC and UNC, so I am a "Carolina girl" twice over! My husband James and I moved here shortly after getting married in the summer of 2017 to be close to the Summer Memorial Lutheran Church community he is serving as a pastor. We have been warmly welcomed, and I have already enjoyed the events and activities Newberry has to offer by volunteering at the Opera House, taking pottery classes at the Newberry Arts Center, participating in the Newberry Young Professionals, and playing tennis at the Oakland Tennis Center. My vision for Newberry is that when we can provide residents the opportunity to move freely without a car to reach the resources they need easily for all ages and abilities, we see a stronger, more cohesive community. It's also important to reinforce connections between places with connections between people, through open dialogue and participation across social, economic, and demographic groups so we can work together toward everyone's values and priorities. The advice I would give my 20-year old self is to go with your gut and don't look back once you make a decision. Be humble about your accomplishments and don't take yourself too seriously. Seize the day and cherish it. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want and stretch for what you think you can't reach. You would be surprised to know that after graduating from USC, I lived in a different "South"  - I completed a Fulbright grant teaching English in South Korea. I wrote a blog during my experience - check out my tales about learning a traditional Korean instrument, traveling to UNESCO World Heritage sites, and more.

Tamra Tootle

Division Director, City of Newberry;

YMCA, Immediate Past Board Chair;

Newberry Opera House Guild Board Member; Executive Director, Miss Newberry Scholarship Organization, Downtown Newberry

My vision for Newberry iscontinued growth and prosperity.  Our city has so much to offer! We enjoy many more events than many of our larger neighbors!  We provide world class entertainment, five star dining, casual dining, a wide array of shopping and some awesome history!

The advice I would give my 20-year old self is make your bucket list now...… never know what the next 5 minutes of life will bring!

I admire volunteers;  the world is a better place because of those who volunteer to teach, to feed the hungry, foster pets, help with the PTOs, serve on boards, and serve their communities in countless ways....volunteering is humbling while teaching people compassion and understanding.

Sarah Allen

United States Postal Service City Carrier,  Downtown Newberry

I am originally from Saluda but moved here when I was six when my mom and step dad got married. I choose to stay here because my family’s here and I love to be around them -they are my back bone and I wouldn’t want to leave them. 

My vision for Newberry is for it to continue to develop and expand. Slowly over the years we’ve gained and expanded a lot and that’s a good thing. Newberry is a good town and place to live. ​

The advice I would give my 20-year old self is to never give up on your goals and dreams. If you put in the effort and time, you can do and accomplish anything you put your mind to. And I say the same to my son all the time - to never give up and believe. 

You would be surprised to know that I love to cook and share my food with people. I get the passion from my parents and grandparents who are all great cooks. 

Sara & April Deshields

Co-Owners, Expressions Beauty Salon

​Downtown Newberry

Joy Sheppard

Co-Owner, Newberry Manor

​Downtown Newberry

I came here from Lexington with husband Warren to open the Newberry Manor in 2015. We had been here a great deal researching Warren's history - he has ancestors in Newberry dating back to  1767. I tell people at the Manor that Newberry opens its arms to you and offers a warm hug. We fell in love with Newberry!

My vision for Newberry is just to watch it continue to grow.

The advice I would give my 20-year old self is that I should have done it sooner.​

I admiremy grandmother.

Please share with us if you know a woman who is empowering Newberry.  We would love to add her to our growing list. Email us at:

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