“THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SOUTHERN WOMEN THAT IS SO UNIQUE YET SO UNIVERSAL . . .” – Connie Britton
It is with the idea of universality that our Spring 2020 Issue presents a worldview through the lens of the South. As with every issue of the magazine, our mission is to connect and inspire women globally with a shared responsibility to the next generation.
For this edition, we continue that mission with a “southern twist.” Launched in 2016 from head quarters on Main Street, South Carolina, ELYSIAN champions our southern roots by sharing stories of southern women whose insights and experiences—be it in politics, culture, business or entertainment—have helped shape the future of our region. Their successes are examples for women worldwide. This issue of ELYSIAN features stories that will showcase unique qualities of the South, as well as perspectives that transcend regional affiliations and are, as Ms. Britton suggests, universal.
Inspiring Women. (Anecdotal stories)
The cornerstone of ELYSIAN is the unique life stories of our Inspiring Women, all of whom share a commitment to giving back. This issue’s five Southern perspective profiles are celebrated within the context of the centennial of the suffragette movement in the United States. South Carolina native, Nancy O’Dell is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and television host, best known for her almost decade of hosting Entertainment Tonight. She has also authored three best-selling books. In the face of the career pressures in Los Angeles, Nancy holds on to the values of her traditional small-town upbringing. Two of our Inspiring Women have distinguished themselves as pioneers in government and politics: South Carolina State Senator Katrina Shealy is the first Republican woman to chair a major committee and served as the only woman in the state senate for a complete term of office. Jeanne Milliken Bonds worked for the Federal Reserve Bank, is a former mayor in North Carolina, and served as Chief Justice Special Assistant for the state’s Supreme Court.
We also share the perspectives of women who have made a difference in entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Texan Betsy Robinson founded Fuzzy Friends Rescue almost twenty years ago, resulting in more than 16,000 animal adoptions, and supports educational scholarships for low-income youth pursuing higher education. Finally, Carey Parker, of Tennessee, is the CEO and Firm Council Chairperson of LHP Capital. The challenges associated with raising her son while tackling the demands of corporate leadership is a balancing act recognized universally by women.
Graceful Living. (Deliberate, spirited, bold)
Each quarter, we strive to connect our readers with women who are driving trends in travel, cuisine, arts and culture. One of the South’s most unique locales is Gee’s Bend, Alabama, where a community of African- American women have been making quilt masterpieces for more than 100 years. Their work is supported by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, founded in 2010 to advocate for social and racial justice while redefining the canon of American Art.
Texas, the South’s largest state, is a land of big, ambitious ideas. The Dallas-based initiative IF/THEN promotes STEM education and spotlights women in STEM careers. In San Antonio, the recently opened contemporary art center, Ruby City, showcases the collection of late philanthropist and visionary, Linda Pace.
Ibu Movement, based in Charleston, South Carolina, supports female artisans from around the world, bringing their work to global markets and enabling empowerment and self-sufficiency. Susan Hull Walker shares her thoughts on lives she has helped change and traditional crafts she has promoted.
Philanthropy. (Creating legacy)
We are honored to continue our ongoing partnership with Silent Tears, a South Carolina-based philanthropy supporting the capital needs of organizations that assist victims (women and children) of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse. In the years to come, ELYSIAN Impact seeks to replicate this template throughout the US and beyond.
FINALLY, Spring brings a sense of new beginnings. Azaleas, camellias, and magnolias are among the South’s most iconic flowers. Their splendor is both unique and universal, in keeping with this Spring issue.
May you find both beauty and inspiring, new universal perspectives through the southern lens of ELYSIAN.
Thank you for taking the journey.