Our Mission

We #connectcollaboratecreate to #educateandempower female entrepreneurs in the South and beyond by fostering a welcoming community anchored in hospitality and by creating a supportive network of experts and entrepreneurs. 

Our Story


Founded in 2011, “The Southern C” was soon after dubbed by Southern Living magazine as ‘The Social Network of the South’ and ‘a must-visit virtual front porch’. It is the virtual version of a traditional front porch – a laid-back gathering place to share, inspire, encourage and nurture creative minds.

Designed to offer a community of passionate business owners, makers and doers the opportunity to connect, collaborate and create, The Southern C is an online resource, multi-day in-person and virtual summit, and membership community co-founded by Cheri Leavy and Whitney Long.


Bringing people with shared interests together to promote growth and connection. Often pairing people purposefully with one another to foster deeper friendships and relationships.


We are cheerleaders who fill people with a desire to create. Our vibrant community builds a strong sense of purpose and direction through kinship and motivational education.


We are a one-of-a-kind organization that produces energetic, empowering and insightful events, workshops and other meaningful moments purposefully filled with opportunities for connection and collaboration.


We are advocates who gather,
encourage, celebrate and champion
our past, present and future friends, members and summit alumni and have fun together.

The Southern C Membership

The Southern C membership program keeps the networking and connection going 24/7/365 with weekly educational sessions on a variety of topics and member support calls via Zoom. 

The Southern C Summit

The Southern C Summit and their smaller tailored retreats and workshops are live events that bring the online content to life and offer attendees an opportunity to network and connect in person. The #TSCSUMMIT, an annual niche multi-day conference, and seasonal workshops combine educational and inspirational sessions with the best and brightest names in business and branding intermingled with multiple networking opportunities, food, drink and inspiring locales all while fostering a strong sense of community.

Who is behind The Southern Coterie?

The brainchild of two Southern belles and businesswomen, Whitney Long and Cheri Leavy, The Southern Coterie developed out of a mutual love for the South and passion for the people and unique businesses that shape the region. After achieving much success both personally and professionally in former careers with local and national publications, Whitney and Cheri decided to bring their shared interests together and create The Southern Coterie. Their dream was to cultivate a space in-person and online where like-minded individuals could connect and be inspired.

Cheri Leavy

For Cheri, born with a knack for instantly connecting with people, The Southern C seemed like a natural progression. From novice beginnings’ writing a “cousin newsletter” to operating a successful online and print publishing business (Bulldawg Illustrated and guide2athens) with her husband, it’s Cheri’s enthusiasm and inspiration that has made the Southern Coterie and its live events – the Southern C Summits – a must visit for Southern entrepreneurs looking to make valuable connections. Constantly on the lookout for the newest talent in the South, Cheri has an authentic passion for meeting, greeting and giving entrepreneurs a platform to speak about their brands. “Cheri is a big ball of energy and ideas. She may be small but she is mighty,” says Whitney. An eighth generation coastal Georgia native, Cheri splits her time between Athens and St. Simons Island.

Whitney Long

After a successful career as a scout, stylist and contributing editor for some of the biggest names in print media like Coastal Living, Southern Accents, Southern Living and Better Homes & Gardens plus various special interest titles, Whitney took time off to focus on her favorite job – being a mom to four – but the scouting didn’t end there. Whitney draws on her years of curating unique places and people for the lifestyle magazine industry to create connections, find strategic partners and cultivate a talented team of writers and presenters.“Whitney has her finger on the pulse of the South, old and new, which makes her such a visionary for the network and at our events,” says Cheri. Born in the quintessential southern town of Elba, Alabama, Whitney now calls the quaint seaside village of St.Simons Island, Georgia home.

Collectively it is their “can-do” attitude and unmistakable Southern flair that have contributed to the success of The Southern Coterie and The Southern C Summit.