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July 17, 2017

July 14, 2017

59 Local Individuals Honored at Chamber’s Leadership Program Graduation Ceremony

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Leadership Columbia, a Columbia Chamber program for emerging and existing leaders in the Midlands, is pleased to announce the Leadership Columbia Class of 2017. The 59 individuals will be the 44th graduating class since the program was founded in 1972.

“This year’s Chamber’s Leadership Columbia Class continued to raise the bar for our leadership development program,” stated Columbia Chamber President and CEO, Carl Blackstone. “The class members made a remarkable impact on our community through their class project – ‘WatermarkedSC’ the Lincoln Street tunnel beautification project.”

In addition to presenting each graduate with a commemorative plaque, the Columbia Chamber and Leadership Columbia Advisory Board honored Austin Gawler, TEKSystems with the Glenn Jacobus Award, an award given each year to a class member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the class project and truly embodied the role of a servant leader.

Leadership Columbia Class of 2016-2017 candidates:
Jessica Albert | Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia, SC
Sergio Aparicio | City of Columbia
Parrish Behles | BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Stephanie Benjamin | Lourie Center
Sheila Bias | Fisher Phillips
Molly Brantley | United Way of the Midlands
Benjamin Carlton | Richardson Plowden & Robinson, P.A.
Mary Caskey | Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.
Heather Cooper | South Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance
Amanda Cusaac | Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports, & Tourism
LeRoy DesChamps | The Comet
Bob Evans | University of South Carolina
Jaime Evermann | BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Jason Luther | Murphy & Grantland, P.A.
Heather McDonald | Building Industry Association of Central SC
Kim McMahon | University of South Carolina
Lindsay Medlin | Bauknight, Pietras & Stormer, P.A.
Ryan Miller | Elliott Davis Decosimo, LLC
Zach Minton | K2 Technology
Benjamin Montemayor | AOS Specialty Contractors, Inc.
Andrew Montgomery | Rogers Townsend & Thomas, PC
Angela Pillsbury | Colonial Life
Ryan Principe | Palmetto Health
C.D. Rhodes | Pope Flynn
Jim Rourke | Nexsen Pruet
Tabitha Safdi | South Carolina ETV
Andrew Saleeby | McNair Law Firm, P.A.
Allison Sanford | Palmetto Health
Stephanie Frazier | SC Technical College System
Michael Friday | BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Austin Gawler | TEKsystems
Hamilton Grant | Grant Business Strategies
Kayla Gupton | Colonial Life
Teosha Harrison | BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Caroline Hinson | Derrick, Stubbs & Stith, LLP
Todd Hudak | BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Leah Inman | Palmetto Health
James Kelly | McCrory Construction
Thomas Kilpatrick | The Murphy Law Group
Savannah Lawner | Pendelton Street Advisors
Lyle Lee | South Carolina Department of Transportation
Brieanna Logue | City of Columbia
Mee Jean Sasine | BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Sarah Sawicki | Woodforest National Bank
Andrew Schiavone | BB&T
Annie Scott | NBSC
David Sickinger | Garvin Design Group
Alana Simmons | Hate Won't Win Movement Inc.
Sarah Sipes | USC Alumni Association
John Slavich | Landrum Human Resources
Sarah Sloan | Woodforest National Bank
Ammie Smith | South Carolina Education Lottery
Caroline Tracy | Recruiting Solutions
Carrie Walker | Cox Industries, Inc.
Holly West | Colite
Allison Whittle | EdVenture Children's Museum
Allen Wilkerson | Colliers International
Elizabeth Wynn | Chernoff Newman

“Leadership Columbia continues to be a premiere development program in our city and state,” stated Josh Elliott, 2016-2017 Chair of the Leadership Columbia Advisory Board (LCAB), “Last year’s class raised the bar in terms of innovative thought and leadership, and I suspect this newly selected group of talented, passionate individuals will raise that bar even higher in the coming year.”

About Leadership Columbia Leadership Columbia is an educational program offered through the Columbia Chamber. The 10-month program provides emerging and existing leaders in the Midlands area with an opportunity to enhance their civic knowledge and network. For over 40 years, Leadership Columbia has helped participants better understand the local community, while building relationships with the region's current and future leaders.

For more information on Leadership Columbia, visit or contact Charlotte Bian-Lingle at 803.733.1146.

About the Columbia Chamber

The Columbia Chamber is a private, non-profit, partner-driven organization comprised of 1,500 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals in Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry and Richland counties. The Columbia Chamber serves as the voice of its partners and the business community at large on matters of economic, educational, social, cultural and political concern, as well as supports and promotes the success of its partners through networking, professional development, advocacy and leadership. The organization has represented the interests of the local business community since 1902.

To become a partner or to learn more about the Columbia Chamber, as well as its events, programs and initiatives, visit
Rose Dangerfield, Vice President of Communications & Marketing, 803.733.1128