In Her Footsteps
"Power of the Pen" Sheroes

Diann Headshot 2

Diann Price Williams

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Dr. Jennifer Bishop

Macie Smith

Dr. Macie P. Smith

Ashlye Wilkerson

Dr. Ashlye V. Wilkerson

Dorothy Yancy

Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy

Diann Price Williams

Diann Price Williams is the 4th of 9 children born to Joe and Ida Mae Price in Clinton, South Carolina. Diann was born with a partial cleft palate and did not talk much for fear of being laughed at if anyone saw her deformed teeth and her inability to pronounce words like others. 

Through a series of surgeries, teeth extractions to repair her cleft palate, and speak therapy through Vocational Rehabilitation, Diann gained the ability to smile and pronounce her grandmother’s name correctly. This issue with her mouth and other painful life events caused Diann to focus more on reading and writing.

While at Benedict College, Diann became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® as she studied Social Work.  She was a part of the graduating class at Benedict that was instrumental in helping to establish the Social Work Department’s accreditation.  Her studies in Social Work gave her professional experiences that fulfilled her passion for writing.  She has worked as a licensed social worker, a certified adoption specialist, a consultant delivering parenting skills classes on the South Carolina Educational Television network, a consultant teaching parenting skills to prospective adoptive families, a project manager for technology infrastructure projects, and a consultant technical writer for technology and cyber-security projects. 

In retirement, Diann rekindled her dream of publishing.  In 2017, her brother was a victim of a traffic fatality and died. Diann organized her brother’s thoughts found on his broken laptop in the storage building he called home into a book titled “A Life That Mattered.”  This mystery suspense novel was her first published book and she was over the age of 60 when it was published. Since that first book, she has published a total of 20 books and acquired the registered trademark for the phrase “Mama’s Front Porch Therapy” crafted after the aspirations about life her mother shared with her children.

Diann is actively involved in several organizations.  She is on the board of the Newberry County Literacy Council in Newberry, South Carolina, a Life member with over 47 years of service in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, a member of Columbia Club #2 of the Benedict College Alumni Club in Columbia and a member of Top Ladies of Distinction, Incorporated, Cola City Chapter in Columbia, South Carolina. She is also the current President of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Gamma Nu Omega Chapter in Columbia, South Carolina with over 372 members.

She is the wife of Leon Williams for over 34 years; the mother of a blended family of three successfully working adult children –  her sorority legacy daughter Tahlisha, Nicholas and Michael; the grandmother of three, Talyn a senior in college, Nick a freshman in college, and an infant Rilyn; and, her most prideful contribution in life is, being thankful for any opportunity to serve others!

Dr. Jennifer Bishop

Dr. Jennifer Bishop is a highly sought-after women’s empowerment agent and leadership development dynamo. Dr. Bishop is also an entrepreneur, author, faith leader, motivational speaker, philanthropist, community advocate, and political activist. As a women’s empowerment agent and leadership development expert, Dr. Bishop provides inspiration and practical advice to help individuals and organizations achieve their goals.

With more than two decades of experience in the corporate world, Dr. Bishop has held C-suite positions focusing on operations, business development, and marketing. As an accomplished author, she has penned several books on personal growth and professional development, and recently received a Presidential appointment as a Commissioner to The Commission of Presidential Scholars with the U.S. Department of Education.

As a fourth-generation college graduate, she knows education is the key to unlocking opportunity and prosperity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History (1998) and a Master of Public Administration (2000) from Savannah State University, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership (2022) from Columbia International University. 

Dr. Bishop is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Jack & Jill of America, Inc., Junior League of Columbia, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Association for Female Executives, to name a few.

She is a true embodiment of empowerment; she fiercely believes that with the right opportunity and tools, all people have the capacity to lead prosperous lives, making her an effective agent for changing futures. She’s taking this passion one step further by dedicating herself to creating pathways for women and girls around the globe to unlock their greatest potential.

She is married to Dr. Aaron Bishop a pastor, civic leader, and entrepreneur. Together they are the proud parents of one son, Peyton.

Dr. Macie P. Smith

Dr. Macie P. Smith is an award-winning educator and writer, best-selling author, TV & Radio personality, and influencer. She is a proud HBCU alumna of South Carolina State University where she earned both her bachelor’s in social work and master’s in rehabilitation counseling. She earned her doctorate in higher education leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She currently serves the higher education community as vice chair of the Board of Trustees at South Carolina State University. 

Dr. Smith is a licensed gerontology social worker and an Alzheimer’s and dementia educator with more than 20 years of experience working with aging and vulnerable populations.  She provides support for those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive impairment, intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and their families.  She also serves as a Guardian ad Litem and Court Appointed Guardian for the Richland County Probate Court.

Dr. Smith is the Owner/CEO of Diversified Training & Consultants Group, a geriatric health care management and media strategy practice. She is the author of A Dementia Caregiver’s Guide to Care, an Amazon best seller.

Dr. Smith has been recognized as a community leader and industry change agent for coordinating quality care within aging and underserved communities. Her work has been featured in several editions of Faculty Matters Magazine for her continued contributions in the academic areas of teaching, discovery, integration, and application. She has been interviewed by and featured in local and national media outlets, including Inside Edition and

You can find Dr. Smith monthly on WIS-TV’s Soda City Live and News 9’s Colorado & Company.

Dr. Ashlye V. Wilkerson

Dr. Ashlye V. Wilkerson is a dynamic speaker, leadership expert, and motivator. She is a community leader and advocate who fully embodies the spirit of excellence.

At the age of 29, Dr. Ashlye was appointed by the South Carolina General Assembly to the Board of Trustees for Winthrop University. During her term of service spanning over a decade, she is the youngest and only woman of color.

As a speaker and leadership developer, Dr. Ashlye motivates, inspires, and empowers audiences to unlock their full potential and achieve at high levels. Her key topics include service excellence, personal and professional performance, success and motivated mindset, and leadership development.

With her longstanding commitment to early childhood education and literacy, Dr. Ashlye authored four children’s books in the Tori series entitled: Tori Finds Shapes All Around, Tori Finds Colors All Around, Tori Visits the Farm: Counting 1-10, and Tori Explores South Carolina. The latter title was recognized with various honors including being featured in a read-aloud with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, selected by former Governor Nikki Haley for a state-wide reading initiative, honored by the South Carolina Senate as well as the South Carolina House of Representatives with resolutions and adopted by the City of Columbia in partnership with Richland School District One for their annual initiative Together We Can Read.

Dr. Wilkerson earned a bachelor’s in psychology with a double minor in early childhood education and entrepreneurship from Winthrop University. She earned a master of art in teaching from Hampton University and a Ph.D. in teaching and learning from the University of South Carolina. She also attained two professional certifications in servant leadership and executive leadership from Cornell University.

Dr. Ashlye is the wife of L. Kobie Wilkerson, III, and the mother of Alana (9) and Ariah (7). She is the daughter of Anthony (deceased) and Fannie Geddis and Johnny Rumph. Dr. Ashlye is also passionately engaged in the legacy work of honoring her dad, Tony, who fought a two-year battle with stage four colon cancer. Her touching story of the encounter between her dad and a state trooper, Officer Doty, who prayed with him went viral and garnered over 7 million views on her LinkedIn platform. She was featured on CNN, FOX News, and in news articles and segments across the country as an example of inspiration, compassion, and humanity.

Dr. Ashlye is a community leader and proud member of Gamma Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, among many other organizations.

Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy

Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy, a native of Alabama, served as the fourteenth and sixteenth president of Shaw University. She was also the twelfth president of Johnson C. Smith University (JSCU) and the first female to hold each of these prestigious titles. Dr. Yancy retired from Shaw University December 31, 2013 and holds the title of President Emerita at both Johnson C. Smith University and Shaw University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Social Science from Johnson C. Smith University, a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Atlanta University (Georgia), with further study at the University of Singapore (Fulbright Scholar), Hampton University, Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago), Northwestern University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Virginia State University, JCSU and Shaw University.  She earned certificates in management development from Harvard University and is listed as an arbitrator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, the National Mediation Board and the American Arbitration Association. She also is a Special Magistrate with the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission and she serves as a consultant on governance, the presidency and other higher education topics. She is a Principal Consultant for TM2 Education Search.

At Shaw from 2009-2010, she stabilized the financial state of the university, by securing a $31 million federal loan. She restructured and refinanced the university’s debt, balanced the budget, raised the CFI score to a positive number and recruited one of the largest freshmen classes in the history of the university. She retired September 2010 and then returned on September 1, 2011 after the campus had been torn apart by the April 16, 2011 tornado.  By April 16, 2012, the devastation had been abated and all buildings were back in use.  In addition, she led the University through five program accreditation reviews, the regular SACSCOC reaffirmation. In December 2013 the university’s accreditation was reaffirmed by SACSCOC with no follow-up.

As president of JSCU from October 1994 to June 2008, Dr. Yancy marshaled phenomenal growth and progress. During this period, she completed two significant capital campaigns and was heralded as one of the best fundraisers nationally. From 1994 to 2008, she raised more than $145 million for the university. Additionally, during her tenure, the JCSU endowment more than tripled from $14 million to $53 million. At retirement in 2008, she left the University with a balanced budget and a $10 million rainy day fund.

In scholarship, as well as in leadership, Dr. Yancy has excelled. She has published over forty articles and labor arbitration cases in academic journals. She has served on many boards including, the Board of Directors of Bank America of the Carolinas; Charlotte Chamber of Commerce; National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; Council of Independent Colleges; and the Charlotte Urban League to name a few.  Currently, she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College, Communities in School, Atlanta, and an Individual Member of the United Negro College Fund.

She has received numerous awards and accolades.  In 2013, the Board of Trustees at Shaw University named the research building the Dorothy Cowser Yancy Building and in 2015, the Board of Trustees at Johnson C. Smith University named the Technology Building the Dorothy Cowser Yancy Hall.  Recently, 2017 she was appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Closing the Equity Gap.

She is energetic, dedicated, and highly effective as a promoter/guardian of excellence in higher education. A biography of her journey as president of Johnson C. Smith University entitled, The Yancy Years 1994-2008: The Age of Infrastructure, Technology & Restoration was published in 2008.


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