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Girl Scouts of South Carolina- Mountains to Midlands Announce Honorees for Women of Distinction in Columbia

women of distinction cola 2017

The Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands will honor five Columbia-area women at its Annual Women of Distinction Awards Dinner on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at the Columbia Convention Center, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Women of Distinction Award recognizes local women of courage, confidence, and character, who exhibit exceptional professional and personal success, and have made a lasting impact in the community. The evening pays tribute to the honorees with a night of success stories, inspiration, and call to action.


This year’s honorees are: Judge Amy W. McCulloch, Richland County Probate Judge; Emily England Clyburn, Retired Librarian; Xiaolan Michelle Wang, Entrepreneur; Sharon Brown Harriott, South Atlantic Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Therese A. Griffin, Manager of Energy Efficiency and Demand Management at South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) Company.


Judge Amy W. McCulloch grew up in Columbia, South Carolina and graduated from Dreher High School in 1983 and the University of South Carolina in 1987. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1990 and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar the same year.

She was elected as the Richland County Probate Judge in November of 1998 and was sworn-in in January of 1999. She has focused on improving accessibility to estate documents, forms and procedures through the Probate Court website. She provides quarterly training on estate planning and estate administration for the public.

In 2003, she, with the assistance of many others in our community, began the Adult Mental Health Court to divert those in need from incarceration to treatment. This was extended to a Juvenile Mental Health Court in 2014.

She is an instructor for the South Carolina Court Administration, Mandatory School for new Probate Judges and the South Carolina Bar Bridge the Gap mandatory sessions for new lawyers. She serves on the Board for Midlands Technical College Legal Division. She is the Chair for the Probate Judges’ Advisory Committee for South Carolina Court Administration and she is the Co-Chair of Partners in Crisis, advocating for appropriate treatment for the mentally ill.

Emily England Clyburn is a former librarian with an extraordinary dedication to her alma mater, South Carolina State College (now University).  A 1961 graduate of S.C. State, Emily Clyburn and her husband, U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn, have raised more than $1.7 million since 2005 for the James E. and Emily E. Clyburn Endowment for Archives and History at their alma mater.   In recognition of her contributions to her profession and to the college, S.C. State plans to honor her with the Emily E. Clyburn Archives and History Center in the soon to be constructed James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center on the Orangeburg campus. 

She has been married to Congressman Clyburn since 1961 and has three daughters: Mignon Clyburn, Jennifer Clyburn Reed (Walter) & Angela Clyburn Hannibal (Cecil); four grandchildren: Walter A Clyburn Reed, Sydney Alexis Reed, Layla Hannibal, and Carter James Clyburn Hannibal. 

In addition to receiving her Bachelor’s degree from S.C. State, Mrs. Clyburn is a 1956 graduate of Berkeley Training High School in Moncks Corner. She also attended Atlanta University and received a Masters in Librarianship from the University of South Carolina in May 1977.  She was also awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from South Carolina State University in 2010. 

Her entire professional career has been associated with some aspect of librarianship. She established the library at Fairwold Middle School (now W. G. Sanders) in Columbia, S.C. She worked at Simonton Elementary School in Charleston, S. C. and was Assistant Librarian at Burke High School in Charleston, S.C.  She served as Head Librarian at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, S.C. and served two tours as Assistant Librarian at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Columbia, S.C. from which she retired in 1994.

Xiaolan Michelle Wang was born on Oct. 17th, 1970 in Shanghai. She was the only child of Qinggen Wang and Meiling Lu. Both of her parents studied engineering and science in college but they kept a strong passion and love for literature and arts. 

In 1993, she moved to New York City and enrolled in City Center Ballet Arts School to study dance.  She supported herself by working various jobs at restaurants, hair salons, art galleries, and import companies.

On March 4th, 1996, Michelle opened her first Miyo's restaurant on 922 S. Main Street. In July, 1999, she opened her second restaurant, M Café, in downtown Columbia on Sumter Street. Michelle later opened Miyo's on Harbison, M Vista, Miyo's Sandhill, Miyo's Lexington, M Fresh, M Grille and M Kitchen with her husband.

Michelle’s life is centered around her family, faith, and giving back to the community. 

Sharon Brown Harriott is the daughter of the late Moses and Ruby Young Brown, was elected to the position of South Atlantic Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc., on April 5, 2014. Mrs. Harriott resides in Columbia, SC and is the widow of the late Mack M. Harriott and is the granddaughter of the late Rev. H. D. and Alice Logan Brown and the late Rev. W. S. and Lou E. Young, both longstanding AME ministers.

Mrs. Harriott is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Masters of Education in Adult and Community Education and has done Post Graduate Study at the University of South Carolina. She is also a licensed professional counselor. For the past 35 years she has worked in counseling and administrative positions directing student services programs for high school students, adults returning to education and the workforce. She presently holds the position of Director for TRIO and Community Support Programs at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC. She is also a licensed funeral director and former owner of her family business, Gibson and Brown Funeral Home in Union, SC.

Active in civic and professional organizations, Harriott was a member of the 1994 Class of Leadership Columbia and is Former President for the National Governing Board of the National Network for Women’s Employment. Other affiliations include: former Regional Director of Region IV Women Work and former President SC WOMEN WORK. Her other civic activities included: former Chairman, SC Department of Education Advisory Committee for Single Parent and Sex Equity Programs; former Board Member and Vice Chairman, YWCA of the Midlands; and former Board Member of the Columbia Alumni Association of Leadership Columbia, NAACP Member, and Former Parliamentarian of the SC Professional Association for Access and Equity.

Therese A. Griffin is manager of energy efficiency and demand management at South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) Company.  In her role, she provides oversight for the company’s residential, commercial and industrial energy efficiency programs.  She is also responsible for integrating the company’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.  Previously, Ms. Griffin served as manager of marketing and philanthropy for SCANA Corporation, SCE&G’s holding company.

Over the course of her 22-year career at SCANA, Ms. Griffin has been responsible for marketing and strategic communications for the company’s natural gas and energy efficiency programs, advertising, online communications, employee communications, corporate design and printing services. She was also responsible for SCANA’s philanthropy program, which included identifying nonprofit organizations to award company grants for community initiatives and connecting employees with volunteer opportunities.

Prior to SCANA, Ms. Griffin was director of public relations at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia where she was responsible for media and community relations, advertising, marketing and internal communications. She also produced and hosted a public affairs television show in the Augusta market for many years. Early in her career, she worked in radio as a news anchor and public affairs director.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Ms. Griffin earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in broadcasting. She has taught Public Relations Campaigns to seniors at USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and served on the School’s Partnership Board.

Ms. Griffin’s community involvement includes volunteering with Communities in Schools of the Midlands and the Friends of African American Art and Culture, an affiliate of the Columbia Museum of Art. She serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, the Cayce Beautification Foundation, the Fortitude Foundation and the Richland County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has also served on the National Executive Board of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and currently serves on a National Task Force.  Ms. Griffin is a member of Women in Philanthropy, a 2016 graduate of the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative and a 2009 graduate of Leadership South Carolina. 

We hope you will join us on April 13, 2017 to honor these incredible women who inspire our girls to aim higher.