September 18, 2023
2023 Ambassador of the Year Award Winner: Kim Wilkerson
The Columbia Chamber will honor Kim Wilkerson at the Chamber’s 120th Annual Diamond Gala, Thursday, October 5, 2023.
The Ambassador of the Year Award, sponsored by Colonial Life, is presented to a member of the community who exemplifies outstanding business ethics and has influenced positive promotion and preservation of the greater Midlands.
“The Annual Gala is an opportunity for the Chamber to recognize trailblazing individuals and businesses in the community,” said Carl Blackstone, Columbia Chamber President and CEO. “Kim Wilkerson’s influence in South Carolina’s banking industry along with her many contributions to the community will leave a lasting legacy for years to come.”
For more than 40 years, Kim Wilkerson has been a notable figure in the banking industry. Starting in 1980 with Bankers Trust, she assumed roles in credit, small business lending, commercial banking, and more. As enterprise leader for Bank of America, she provided business, civic and philanthropic leadership across the state. Wilkerson also served as Managing Director and South Carolina Market Executive for Bank of America Private Bank.
Wilkerson is a proud graduate of Clemson University and currently serves as Chair of the Clemson University Board of Trustees. Throughout her career, she has served on numerous boards including the Clemson University Foundation Board, Clemson University Board of Visitors and the South Carolina Bankers Association.
Wilkerson received the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Henry McMaster, was inducted as a 2023 Laureate into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame, and was recognized as one of the 30 most influential bankers in South Carolina by SCBIZ News. Wilkerson is also a member of the Columbia Business Monthly Hall of Fame and the Business Leader of the Year by the South Carolina Chamber. She was the recipient of the Leader of Distinction Award by Leadership South Carolina, the Distinguished Service Award by the Clemson Alumni Association, a Distinguished Alumna by the College of Business & Behavioral Science of Clemson University and as a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts.
“Kim is truly an exceptional leader, and the Columbia community has been fortunate to benefit from her many talents,” said Tim Arnold, President and CEO of Colonial Life. “I’m thrilled to see Kim’s authentic leadership be recognized with this year’s Ambassador of the Year award.”
Past Ambassador of the Year winners include David Pankau, BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina; Mike Brenan, Truist; Pamela Lackey, AT&T; Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina; John W. Folsom, Colliers; former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley; Dr. Harris Pastides, University of South Carolina; Bill and Lou Kennedy, Nephron Pharmaceuticals; and Charles D. Beaman Jr., Palmetto Health.
Additional 2023 awards include the Young Professional of the Year, Partner of the Year, Public Servant of the Year, Military Advocate of the Year, and Diplomat of the Year.
For more information about the Gala, please contact Hilary Bell, 803.733.1115.
About Columbia Chamber
The Columbia Chamber is a private, nonprofit, Partner-driven organization comprised of 1,200 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.