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National Council of Negro Women, Incorporated Young Innovators Honored for the 7th Straight Year
12/16/2015 5:24:57 PM

First row left to right: Anthony Broughton, Tamara Green, Shanea Brown, Ebony Gordon, Tequilla Dingle, Keturah Gadson and Ian Deas. Back row left to right: Tolbert Smalls, Jamal Phillips, Toby Housey, Rev. William Miller, Eboneshia Drayton, Michael Pringle II and Alexander Maybank
The Bethune-Leonard Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) recently hosted its seventh Annual “Innovators Under 35” Banquet at the Charleston Plaza Hotel on Goer Drive in North Charleston. The theme was “Innovators: Embracing Leadership and Change.”

An impressive fifteen young adults representing various career paths were recognized for being positive role models and rendering service to their respective communities in particular and to humanity in general.

Mrs. Deborah Yeadon, Co-chair of the event, served as Mistress of Ceremony. Mrs. Marguerite Middleton gave a warm welcome to a near-capacity crowd, and rendered the occasion and purpose of this program.

Mrs. Garcia Williams, Interim Executive Director of the Greater Charleston YWCA, was the speaker for the event. She stressed the need to develop and enhance leadership skills, to be a visionary and to develop an innovative mind. She further challenged all in attendance to upgrade and change with the times, to reinvent ourselves and be the change we wish to see.

The distinguished list of 2015 honorees included – Anthony Broughton, a professor at Anderson University. Shanae Brown, a Child and Youth program Assistant at Joint Base Charleston Naval Weapons Station Youth Center. Ian Davis Deas, currently employed by Benefitfocus, coordinates a mentoring program for young males in his church. Tequilla Dingle, founder of DIVA (Devine, Inspiration, Virtue and Anointed) writes articles on women’s empowerment for Distinguished Magazine. Ebonesha Drayton, a youth program specialist at the Child Development Center on the Charleston Air Force Base. Keturah E. Gadson, Assistant Principal at Berkeley High School. Ebony Gordon, a customer service representative with the International Hotel Group. Tamara Green, an entrepreneur, physical therapist and owner of Renewal Rehabilitation Center in North Charleston. Toby Housey, currently serves as Equal Opportunity Advisor for the Joint Base Charleston. Alexander Maybank, a student concerns specialist and assistant football coach at Zucker Middle School. James Khris Middleton, South Carolina’s most decorated professional basketball player, is the current star of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks Basketball Team. Rev. William C. Miller, currently serves as pastor of St. John AME Church in Cottageville. Jamal R. Phillips, currently practices law in the Atlanta Area. Michael Pringle ll, an international hair stylist and a certified cosmetology instructor at Trident Technical College. Tolbert Smalls Jr., editor and general manager of The Charleston Chronicle, an African American newspaper serving the Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties since 1971.

Honorees were given a plaque and a special souvenir journal to commemorate this event. Closing remarks were given by Mrs. Edith P. Deas, president of the Bethune –Leonard Section of NCNW, Inc.

Mary McLeod Bethune, who founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935, was compelled to use the opportunities she earned in life to serve others. In her final will and testament, she declared, “If I have a legacy to leave my people, it is my philosophy of living and serving.”

The Bethune-Leonard Section of National Council of Negro Women is one of over 240 NCNW sections dedicated to advancing opportunities and quality of life for African-American women, their families, associate members and communities. We meet every second Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at the Felix Pinckney Community Center, in North Charleston. We are always looking for like-minded individuals to join us.

For more information and how to become a member, please email us at

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