FORUM SERIES: In the Next Room…Where Women Belong (Reality vs Equality)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 at 6:30pm


Featuring our first all-female panel, this Forum draws on the inspiring power represented in the female characters from the play, In the Next Room or the vibrator play. Four ladies, from various professions and at various stages in their lives, discuss what it’s like to climb through their chosen careers. Debating where equality exists and where it doesn’t among the genders, we’ll see life through the eyes of ladies changing our Upstate. Featuring a panel of Kim Eades (Director of Sales, Table 301), Nika White (Vice President of Diversity, Greenville Chamber), Shannon Robert (Professional Scenic Designer), Rev. Maria Swearingen (Associate Chaplain Furman University), and more.


KIM EADES  is the Director of Sales for the Table 301 Restaurant Group.  Originally from Michigan, she has a Business Management Degree from the University of West Georgia and spent 6 years working in the Atlanta restaurant industry.  Kim joined the Table 301 team in early 2012 and is responsible for cultivating new and maintaining existing client relationships.  She is active in the community and is on the board of the Caine Halter YMCA, the Greenville Tech Marketing Advisory Board, Greenville Police Foundation Board, and the 2016-17 Accommodations Tax Advisory Board. She’s a mentor for Mentor Upstate, delivers meals for Meals on Wheels, and competed in the national cooking competition show called SMOKED in April that aired on Destination America.  Plugging into her inner cook and writer, Kim writes a blog, “Simply KiKi”, for the Greenville News each week using local/seasonal ingredients.  She focuses on cooking as a modern day mom – “heels, homework and happy hour” – sharing her experiences as a working mom.

REV. MARIA SWEARINGEN is associate chaplain at Furman University, where she spends her time listening and learning from folks whose hearts, minds, and dreams stun her on a daily basis.  Originally from the piney woods of Southeast Texas, she attended Baylor University and then made her way to the East Coast (her heart’s home address) where she received a Master of Divinity at Duke University.  She and her wife, Sally, share their little corner of earth in Greenville with their baying, begging boxer-hound, Boo Radley.

NIKA WHITE’s professional career spans 18 years, ranging from serving as an accomplished marketing communications executive, diversity and inclusion practitioner, economic development leader and community advocate.  White found inspiration through the intersection of business, diversity and leadership and has made this her niche.  On August 1, 2012, she joined the Greenville Chamber as Vice President of Diversity.  In this role, White is responsible for creating and collaboratively implementing an overarching diversity strategy for the Greenville Chamber.  As a key member of the Chamber Team, White designs and oversees initiatives that develop and promote inclusion of diverse businesses in the economic activities of Upstate SC.

SHANNON ROBERT received an M.F.A. in scene design from Florida State University. While at FSU, she participated in an international exchange with the Moscow Art Theatre Conservatory. Shannon was director of theatre and head of design at William Carey University, where she taught scene design for 14 years. She served KCACTF as Region IV design chair (3 years – managed the design exposition), regional vice chair (3 years – managed the Irene Ryan acting scholarships), regional chair (1 year) and served on national design committees. Shannon served on the board of directors, executive committee and long-range planning committee of SETC and was the Mississippi state representative to SETC for four years. After working in higher education, she managed the paint/craft departments of The Spoon Group Productions in NJ/NY. While there, she worked on “The Grinch,” “Grease” (and national tour), “Xanadu,” “Legally Blonde,” “Inherit the Wind,” “The Pirate Queen,” “Coram Boy,” “The Color Purple” (and Chicago production), “Jersey Boys” (and national tour and Vegas), “Spamalot” (London and Vegas), “Hairspray” (Vegas) and “Sponge Bob Squarepants” (Asian tour). Shannon has worked internationally in venues in Nairobi, Bratislava, Moscow and Edinburgh and has designed for Aurora Theatre, Actor’s Express, Mill Mountain Theatre, New Stage Theatre, Auburn University Theatre, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts (MTSU), Southern Arena Theatre, University of Southern Mississippi, University of West Georgia, SC Governor’s School for the Arts, The Fine Arts Center, The Peace Center, and ReelRock Productions. She was a consultant for The Saenger Theatre renovation in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for Albert and Associates Architects. Shannon has worked as an evaluator, respondent and adjudicator for a number of productions/projects and has presented several workshops and served on panels throughout the U.S. She served as the Associate Artistic Director and Scene Designer in Residence for The Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, South Carolina. She is a proud member of USA 829, and serves as a member of the Hollins University M.F.A. Playwriting Faculty. She received Atlanta’s 2014 Suzi Bass Award for best set design for a musical for “Mary Poppins” at Aurora Theatre.

Completing our all-female event, our moderator for the evening will be Mallory Pellegrino, Director of Education for The Warehouse Theatre.

We will be starting at 6:30pm.  And as always, this is FREE and OPEN to the public.