Being in the Limelight: Leadership & Mental Health

Mental Health America of Spartanburg County and the 2023 Educational Series host for January… “Being in the Limelight: Leadership & Mental Health” facilitated by Susan Lea with panelists Mary Thomas, Marjorie Boafo Appiah, and Cathy McCabe.

Overall Purpose

To educate participants on how leadership can impact mental health needs. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion, participants will…

  1. Report an improved understanding of how being in a leadership position impacts mental health care needs.
  2. Be able to identify at least 3 methods, tips, or activities to address mental health care needs of being in a leadership position.

Meet Our Panel
Marjorie Boafo Appiah

Marjorie Boafo Appiah aka Marjy Marj is a visionary, management consultant, author and speaker. She is the founder of Innovation Abound – a company that gives creative ideas the opportunity and resources to flourish. An advocate for humanity, she is a sought-after speaker who keeps the crowd entertained and engaged at all times.

As a community leader, Marjy has served as the chairman of the Hub City Writers Project Board of Directors, secretary to the Charles Lea Center Foundation Board of Trustees, and as the chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Spartanburg Day School. She has also served with the American Red Cross, Women Giving for Spartanburg, and The National Kidney Foundation to promote the organizations’ core values. Marjy is the 2022 chair of the The Spartanburg Regional Foundation Grants Committee.

As the founder of Girls for STEAM, and a literary advocate, Marjy believes in the importance of representation in literature. In 2015, she partnered with her family and friends to launch the Giving Book Day program. As a result, she collaborates with schools, bookstores and publishing houses to distribute books to school aged children. Giving Book Day enlarged its footprint by partnering with Project Lit Ghana and Ghanaian schools to gift books by authors of African descent to children and young adults in Ghana. Other partners in the reading initiative include Barnes and Noble, Hub City Bookshop, Leadership Spartanburg and benefactors from the Clear the List movement.

Marjy is the author of The Shimmigrant, Same Elephants and The Young Shimmigrant Series.

Her novel, The Shimmigrant, debuted as a number 1 new release in 2019.

Same Elephants debuted as a top 10 release in March 2020.

The 3 books in The (2021) Young Shimmigrant Series – Sasha Goes to America, Sasha Perseveres in America and Sashsa Dreams Big are global favorites.

Marjy is the host of Humanity Chats, a show about everyday issues impacting humans.

Cathy McCabe

Cathy McCabe is a respected community leader whose record of professional achievement and public service includes a number of statewide awards. She recently retired as Spartanburg City Attorney where she worked since 2007, after serving nearly two years as Deputy City Attorney. During that time, McCabe helped steer the City through a number of milestone achievements, including crafting the ordinance City Council approved that restricted smoking in restaurants, and another one that addressed and created an enforcement mechanism for nuisance properties. McCabe also has been instrumental in developing agreements for several landmark City projects, including the USC Upstate George Dean Johnson School of Business and Economics, the redevelopment of the C.C. Woodson Community Center, the new St. John Street Garage, and the Downtown Memorial Airport improvements. McCabe began her legal career as an associate with Leatherwood Walker Todd; Mann in 1994 and was made partner there in 1998. In 2003, she joined The Ward Law Firm as partner and remained there until joining the City team. McCabe is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association, the Spartanburg County Bar Association, the Supreme Court Lawyers Disciplinary Counsel, and is a founding member of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association. She has served two terms as President of the Breakfast of Spartanburg Business & Professional Women and as President of the Piedmont Area Girl Scouts Council, among many leadership roles with community organizations. In 2011, McCabe was named the Sustainer of the Year by the Spartanburg Junior League in recognition of professional accomplishments. McCabe also was named a Business and Professional Women of South Carolina Woman of Accomplishment in 2008, a South Carolina Woman of Achievement by the S.C. Alliance for Women in 2007, and the state Boys and Girls Club New Board Member of the Year in 2001.

Mary L. Thomas

Mary L. Thomas has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of The Spartanburg County Foundation and as the Executive Director of the Robert Hett Chapman III Center for Philanthropy where she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and leads its mission, vision, and strategies while translating the Foundation’s goals into the overall program of work. Prior to joining the Foundation in 1998, Ms. Thomas was the Executive Director of The Bethlehem Center, a ministry that serves families in the Highland community of Spartanburg, SC.

Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Winthrop University and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and Communications. She was an exchange student to France through Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1983 and is a former French teacher in Spartanburg District 7 schools.

Ms. Thomas is a very active leader in the Spartanburg community and has held extensive leadership roles with a host of organizations throughout the area and beyond. She was elected the first African American, female chairman of the board for Apella Health, a division of Spartanburg Regional Health System, The Council on Foundations National Policy and Advocacy Committee, Southeastern Network of African Americans in Black Philanthropy, Converse College Board of Visitors, Vice-Chairman for the Northside Development Group Board of Directors, and the BMW Community Advisory Panel. Her past board service includes: The Southeastern Council of Foundations, The Rotary Club of Spartanburg, CF Leads, Women in Philanthropy, AFL Advisory Board, the Mary Black Health System Women’s and Children’s Advisory Board, the Mary Black Health System Board of Trustees, and SC ETV Advisory Board. She is also a former Commissioner for The South Carolina State Housing and Finance Authority. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburg, Furman University Diversity Leadership Institute, and Spartanburg Regional Fellows. She is a Past Chair of The SC Grantmakers, the Spartanburg County Consensus Project, and Spartanburg Communities in Schools. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

Ms. Thomas’s many honors include but are not limited to: the Order of the Palmetto, being named Top Three Distinguished Grantmakers by the Council on Foundations in 2014 and, in 2006, being the first African American to win the Council on Foundation’s Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking established by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund of New York. She took her prize money of $10,000 coupled with numerous gifts from the Spartanburg community to establish the Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change Fund. This Fund is managed by The Spartanburg County Foundation, and a deserving leader is recognized annually for his/her leadership on critical issues in the Spartanburg community. Other honors include: 2018 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Humanitarian Award, Junior League Sustainer of the Year, the James E. Whitmire Meritorious Award, the Sunrise Civitan Good Citizen Award, the Mary McCloud Bethune Trailblazer Award (presented by the National Council of Negro Women), the 1998 Piedmont Area Girl Scouts Woman of Achievement, a 1997 YMCA Black Achiever, and Junior League Sustainer of the Year. In October of 2019, Ms. Thomas participated in the March of Dimes as a Celebrity Chef, aiding in raising funds for ALL moms and ALL babies. Also, in October of 2019, she participated in Over the Edge Upstate, of which participants rappelled down the side of the 10-story AC Hotel in downtown Spartanburg to raise funds for the Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties. Mary Thomas is a strategic thinker, a fierce leader, a sought out inspirational and motivational speaker and a mentor to many.

Susan Lea, Facilitator

Susan Lea is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Supervisor. She has been with ReGenesis Health Care since 2020 where she serves as Director of Behavioral Health Services. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a graduate certificate in Child Advocacy Studies from USC Upstate, and a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy from Converse University. She is a Diplomate of the National Anger Management Association, and a Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Susan’s experience in community nonprofit organizations started in 2013 in community engagement and resource development. She began clinical work in 2016 and opened a private practice providing mental health services in 2018. She has served on the Advisory Board of Mental Health America of Spartanburg County since 2018 and is currently the Advisory Board Chair. Her certifications include anger management, ADHD clinical services, and anxiety in adolescents, among others.

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