We're Kicking off Women's History Month

BIG Celebration MARCH 1 !!!

Celebrating Our Legacy

Determined to Soar is a non-partisan group of women based in Spartanburg, South Carolina who have joined creative forces to CELEBRATE women’s achievements in order to EDUCATE, INSPIRE and UNIFY the next generation of leaders. To accomplish these goals, we are staging a series of interactive and engaging events. Come Join Us!

Our Team

Valerie Manatis Barnet

Valerie Manatis Barnet is married to Bill and they have three grown children- Becca, Will, and John, and one grandson, Cassius. In the Spartanburg community, Valerie serves on the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind Foundation Board, and the Board of Directors for Mental Fitness, and Sidewalk Hope, which is a truck that goes into the inner-city neighborhoods weekly to fill spiritual and physical needs of the residents. She also serves as a Stephen Minister at her church, First Presbyterian Spartanburg. Valerie is the Cofounder and Board President of the Hub City Animal Project, an organization that empowers local animal welfare groups who are proactively working to address the root causes of animal homelessness. hubcityanimalproject.com

  • Valeriembarnet@gmail.com
  • 864-680-2946

Nancy Corbin

Nancy Corbin was born in Ohio and moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1976 with her husband Mike as they started a family, and each began a budding career in artistic fields. Both became teachers, though they continued pursuing their personal interests. Mike became a photographer while Nancy has cultivated her love for painting.

As a young girl, Nancy studied art at the Toledo Museum of Art Saturday School. She continued to study visual art, arts education, and arts administration at University of Cincinnati (BFA), University of South Carolina (MA), New York University (Certificate of Arts Administration), Banff School for Fine Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, The Hemlock Studio, Arrowmont School for Art and Craft, Wild Acres Retreat, The Creativity Workshop, and Converse College.

After teaching in Spartanburg County School District Seven for 14 years, Nancy joined the Spartanburg Day School visual arts faculty in 1991 and taught students a range of subjects from Studio Art to Art History from introductory levels through Advanced Placement. In 1999, she became the first Mildred Harrison Dent Fine Arts Center Coordinator. While at SDS she was awarded the Mildred Harrison Dent Endowed Chair, an honor she held until she moved on at the conclusion of 27 years at the school. Additional honors while at SDS include the school’s permanent collection being named for her, being awarded the Larrabee Endowed Chair, and the future Valerie M. Barnet Theatre will house the Nancy Corbin lobby and gallery.

Her teaching career was enriched greatly by the dozens of art study tours that Nancy led for her students in NYC, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, England, Cuba and Spain. She served for 12 years as a reader of Advanced Placement Studio Art exams for the Educational Testing Service and The College Board.

Since leaving SDS, in addition to serving as secretary of the Board of Directors at Spartanburg Art Museum, Nancy spends her time in her studio at Mayfair Art Studios preparing for upcoming exhibits. Watercolor, pastel, printmaking, and collage are important in her process. Smaller works on paper often lead to large works in acrylic on panels, canvas, and walls. Color and figurative abstraction in layered compositions are responses to current events and historical ties.

  • ncorbin222@gmail.com
  • 864-506-5890

Louise Fagan

Louise Fagan is a Producer and Capacity Builder whose career has its heart in amplifying authentic voices and stories. Since moving to the Upstate in 2014, Louise has worked as a producer and consultant for foundations, non-profit organizations, and the arts community  in project management, video production, and special initiatives. Previous career highlights include productions Off Broadway (NYC) and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC); the Bach Music Festival of Canada; national tour and studio recording of Northern Daughter (Canada/NYC), Olympic Torch Relay (Vancouver Olympics, Southwestern Ontario), Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the Canada Games (Producer/Director). Louise also designs jewelry inspired by nature, books, and art, under the name Willow and Poppy Studios. Whether in a large stadium with a cast of 100s or in a recording studio with a single artist, Louise’s numerous projects are woven with story, building engagement between organizations and the community. 

  • louise.fagan03@gmail.com
  • 864-541-4282

Robyn Hussa Farrell

Robyn Hussa Farrell is an award-winning writer, producer, and performer. She is the founder of four companies — including Transport Group Theatre Company in New York City which recently celebrated its 22nd year.  Hussa specializes in producing and implementing multi-media events and programs that highlight stories of empowerment and strength.  For the last decade, she has worked with over 200 inter-disciplinary researchers to develop evidence-based mental health programs that have shown to decrease stigma, and to improve behavioral health outcomes for communities.  She has had the honor and privilege of collaborating on over 20 projects with DTS team members over the last decade in Spartanburg and looks forward to more!  Robyn lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, Tim, and their pug, Maggie Mayhem.

  • robyn.hussa@gmail.com
  • 917-771-4977

Julia D. Lyons

Julia D. Lyons relocated to Spartanburg from the Northeast in 1996 with her late husband, Bernard E. Brooks and immediately resumed her career in Human Resources with Hardee’s which was a division of Denny’s and later with BB&T and the United Way of the Piedmont. She has a BS from North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina and an MS from City University of New York. She is semi-retired and is currently consulting with individual clients and agencies on human resources issues. She has over thirty years of experience in human resources with major corporations, public accounting firms, banking, food service, and nonprofit agencies. She currently serves on the board of the Spartanburg Historical Association and Fifty Upstate. She has served on the board of Converse Board of Visitors, Chapman Culture Center, Girl Scouts of the Piedmont, Mobile Meals, Salvation Army, Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg Regional Foundation -Executive Committee, and The Spartanburg Chapter of The Links, Inc. She is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburg. Julia is a member of Spartanburg Business and Professional Women and serves as Chair of the ARC Committee of her homeowner’s association.

  • juliadlyons@gmail.com
  • 864-415-1420

Sabrina Richardson

Sabrina Richardson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with Intrinsic Therapy LLC, a private practice she owns and operates. Sabrina graduated from the University of South Carolina Upstate earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy from Converse College. Sabrina completed the COAMFTE Accredited Post Degree Program with EMERGE Family Therapy Center and Teaching Clinic. Since passing the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy State Licensure Exam, Sabrina’s clinical concentration has been relational conflict, maladaptive coping, emotional disturbances, disordered eating, trauma, and life transitions. As a therapist, her approach centers on thoughts and emotions that determine our behaviors and impact the choices we make. Sabrina is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy.  

Celebrate

Celebrate

Join us as we celebrate milestones in Women’s History and the resilient and collaborative nature of women! Determined to Soar presents gatherings, art openings, film screenings, and live stage events.

Educate

Educate

Learn about the strategic work and epic risk-taking that gave women the vote in 1920. Where was the source of this energy and where has this led? Get info about your current voting rights and how to make your voice heard. 

Inspire

Inspire

Through curated stage events DtS brings together women who have a story to tell, a poem to lift up, a song to sing, a film to share or a dance to move you. We hope these programs leave you inspired and activated to do more.

Unify

Unify

We strive to bring diverse and inclusive audiences to our events. We encourage you to bring a friend or two. Our events are for all ages. Through our offerings we hope to widen our circle of phenomenal women.

Your Voice Matters

Determined to Soar provides spaces to tell your stories, inspire voting, and help women find paths to leadership. We use gatherings and the arts to see each other, hear each other, and assure each of us that our voices matter. Please join us.
Anytime we delve into the history of a country established on the land of indigenous peoples and built by enslaved peoples, awful truths will be found. We believe treating all people with dignity is the only course of action and acknowledge this has not been the case throughout the history nor the present of this country.
Please VOTE.

We believe this country is stronger when we all have a voice and exercise our voting rights.

To support this belief we launched Determined to Soar on February 13, 2019

(that’s right, on Galentine’s Day!)

Upcoming Events

An Evening with Marlee Matlin

Join the Determined to Soar team in welcoming the Academy Award-Winning Actress & Activist to Spartanburg. In an elevated evening also featuring Spartanburg performers, guest speaker Ms. Matlin will deliver an inspirational message: Nobody's Perfect: Achieving Inclusion, Diversity & Access.

Marlee Matlin

Academy Award-Winning Actress & Activist

Marlee Matlin received worldwide critical acclaim for her film debut in Paramount Pictures’ Children of a Lesser God, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress. At 21, she became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar and only one of four actresses to receive the honor for her film debut. In addition to the Oscar, Marlee received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. In 2021, Marlee was nominated once again as Executive Producer for the Live Action Short, Feeling Through, and her Apple TV+ film CODA was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Marlee broke another barrier once again when she and her CODA cast became the first deaf actors to be recognized as Best Ensemble in a feature film from the SAG Awards.

Marlee has also starred in numerous television projects, including Seinfeld, The West Wing, Law and Order SVU, The L Word, Switched at Birth, The Magicians, and Quantico, garnering four Emmy nominations along the way. In 2015, Marlee made her Broadway debut in the Tony nominated revival of “Spring Awakening.”

In addition to her film, television, and stage work, Marlee broke barriers when she starred on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and in 2012, Marlee released her first app, appropriately titled Marlee Signs, teaching American Sign Language to millions of smartphone users. She has also penned three novels for children, as well as her New York Times bestselling autobiography, I’ll Scream Later.

In 1994, Marlee was appointed by President Clinton to the Corporation for National Service and in 2010, she joined President Barack Obama at the White House in ceremonies celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Despite the odds, Marlee’s journey is an inspiration to everyone, regardless of the barriers they face, and she has refused to let the naysayers get in the way of her dreams of success. As she so aptly stated, “The only thing I can’t do is hear. The rest is there for the taking.”

Sponsorship Opportunities

For An Evening with Marlee Matlin

Wings ($500)

  • Half-page ad in the program for An Evening with Marlee Matlin
  • A table in the lobby of the event
  • 2 tickets to March 1 event
  • Social media shout-out and gratitude for joining our DTS team of supporters!

Lift ($1000)

  • Half-page ad in our program for An Evening with Marlee Matlin
  • A table in the lobby at our event
  • 4 tickets to the March 1 event
  • Social media announcement with a link to your company’s or organization’s website
  • Name recognition on the Determined to Soar website and gratitude for joining our DTS team of supporters!

Glide ($2500)

  • Full-page ad in the program and company logo added to all printed materials
  • Invitation for 2 guests to attend the private pre-event reception on March 1
  • 8 tickets to the March 1 Determined to Soar event
  • Social media announcement with a link to your company’s or organization’s website
  • Name recognition on the Determined to Soar website and gratitude for joining our DTS team of supporters!

Rise ($5,000)

  • Full-page ad in the program
  • Invitation for 4 guests to attend the private pre-event reception on March 1
  • 10 tickets to the March 1 event
  • Company logo added to relevant printed programs and signage at the event
  • Announced in relevant media statements as a sponsor of the Determined to Soar initiative
  • Social media announcement with a link to your company’s or organization’s website
  • Name recognition on the Determined to Soar website with a link to your company website
  • Gratitude for joining our DTS team of supporters!

Soar ($10,000) Presenting Partner

  • Full-page ad in the program
  • Recognized from the stage at all Determined to Soar events as a presenting partner
  • Invitation for 8 guests to attend the private pre-event reception for the March 1 event
  • 20 tickets to the March 1 event
  • Announced in all media statements as a sponsor of the Determined to Soar initiative
  • Company logo added to all printed programs and signage for the event
  • Social media announcement with link to your company’s or organization’s website
  • Name recognition on the Determined to Soar website with link to your company website
  • Gratitude for joining our DTS team of supporters!

Please write all sponsorship checks to The Spartanburg County Foundation

Give online to the Determined to Soar Fund (2184) at https://spcf.org/give/online/

Mail checks to The Spartanburg County Foundation, 424 East Kennedy Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302

Fund Name: Determined to Soar (2184)

All ad copy and sponsorship funds must be received by January 31, 2023.

Determined to Soar is a non-partisan group coming together to celebrate milestones in Women’s History. We use the arts to educate, inspire, and unify women through a series of interactive and engaging events.

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Project Management:
Neue South Co.