June 9, 2022

Columbia Chamber Graduates 61 Midlands Leaders

Columbia Chamber Graduates 61 Midlands Leaders
61 Participants in the Chamber’s Leadership Columbia Program Honored at Graduation Ceremony

On Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at the Columbia Museum of Art, the Columbia Chamber and the Leadership Columbia Advisory Board (LCAB) honored 61 graduates of the Leadership Columbia program. The Class of 2022 completed an orientation, a retreat, 10 class days and a class project with Transitions Homeless Center. Since its inception in 1972, Leadership Columbia has graduated over 2,000 leaders across the Midlands.


“For the past 49 years, Leadership Columbia has consistently provided the Midlands with dynamic leaders who are passionate about inspiring change in the community,” said Carl Blackstone, President and CEO of the Columbia Chamber. “The project the Class of 2022 has completed for the Transitions Homeless Center has set up future clients for success.”


In addition to presenting each graduate with a commemorative plaque, the Columbia Chamber and Leadership Columbia Advisory Board honored Nic Collins with Wolseley Industrial Group, 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 embodies the role of a servant leader.

The Leadership Columbia Class of 2022:

Dana Austin South Carolina Department of Education
Briana Bateman Office of United States Senator Tim Scott
Fran Boyd Renaissance Collegiate Academy
Daniel Branham W.O. Blackstone & Co., Inc.
Paige Bryant Foundry Commercial
Pamela Bynoe-Reed The COMET – Central Midlands Transit
Shawn Caraballo Palmetto Place Children and Youth Services
Nic Collins Wolseley Industrial Group
Ken Corning The Camp Cole Foundation
Coleman Davis Cypress Commercial & Investment Real Estate
Helen Dennis Experience Columbia SC
Lauren Eckstrom Oliver Gospel Mission
Mary Cothonneau Eldridge Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.
Angela Emerson Courtyard By Marriott – Cayce
Karlin Ferguson MUSC Health Kershaw Medical Center
Donnie Fetner Hood Construction Co., Inc.
Kim Fuller Central Carolina REALTORS® Association
Benjamin Gaston Midlands Technical College
Maureen Grewe UofSC – Office of the Dean of Students
Quantina Haggwood Richland County School District One
Chad Hardaway UofSC – Office of Economic Engagement
Jona’ Hodges The Law Firm of Carl B. Grant, P.A.
April Jackson Palmetto GBA
Caroline Jackson McGriff Insurance
Lonnie “Jimmy” Jarvis Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina
Alex Johnson Commercial Metals Company
Chandler Jordan South Carolina Council on Economic Education
Ebony Kelly City of Columbia
Casey Kemmerer Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina
Sarah Landholt Truist
Casey Link Colonial Life
Sherryl Linkous South Carolina Air National Guard
Adriane McGillis SSOE|Stevens & Wilkinson
Travis McNeal Oliver Gospel Mission
Kristina Palmer Columbia Museum of Art
David Porth Colonial Life
Kirsten Pratt South Carolina Technical College System
Crawford Prezioso Colliers International
Bradford “Jack” Robinson Thompson Turner Construction
Eric Schelble United Community Bank
Lindsey Shealy Cure Sanfilippo Foundation
Kelly Simmons Empowered To Win Consulting
Rhonda Sims The F.R.E.D. Team
Lincoln Skalla Diesel Laptops
Walker Sojourner Columbia Development Group, LLC
Richard “Blake” Stancil Thompson Turner Construction
Isabel Steen United Way of the Midlands
La’Jessica Stringfellow Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte, LLC
Meg Southern Syms Garvin Design Group
Eric Tatum Dominion Energy
Jonathon “David” Thompson South Carolina Air National Guard
Adam Vance Sound & Images, Inc.
Aubrey Wall St. Peter’s Catholic School
Courtney Watson FoodShare SC
Lee Ann Watson South Carolina Human Affairs Commission
Cliff Weatherman Owen Steel Co.
Sarah West Find Great People
James Williams Sullivan Management
Ebony Young Shifting Solutions Consulting LLC
Lester Young Path2Redemption
Matthew Zackon Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

“There is a reason why the Chamber’s Leadership Columbia program is the region’s premier leadership development program,” said Shayla Merritt, 2021-2022 Leadership Columbia Advisory Board Chair. “From the world-class speakers to the unique program opportunities, each class walks away with a better understanding of what makes Columbia, SC so great. The level of dedication that this year’s class showed was truly unmatched. To say that they have left an impact would be putting it mildly. The work they accomplished together and the relationships they made are only a few of the achievements I hope they take with them. As we look to next year, the Board looks forward to cultivating a new group of leaders with the incoming Class of 2023.”

Leadership Columbia would not be possible without the support of the generous 2022 sponsors.

Leadership Columbia Presenting Sponsor:
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

Program Sponsors:
Coca-Cola Consolidated
Columbia Metropolitan Magazine

Class Day Sponsors:
Columbia Museum of Art
Hood Construction
M.B. Kahn Construction
Peak Drift Brewing Company
Southern Way Catering
SSOE | Stevens & Wilkinson
Thompson Turner Construction

In-kind Sponsors:
Photo Bomb SC
Sound and Images

View PhotoBomb SC Graduation Clips

View Graduation Photos

In August, the Columbia Chamber will announce the Leadership Columbia Class of 2023, which will be the 50th class in the program’s history.

About Leadership Columbia
Founded by the Columbia Chamber in 1972, Leadership Columbia strives to provide the community with an enduring source of diverse leaders who are prepared to serve their region. The 10-month skills-building program, aims to identify and motivate emerging community leaders; provide an educational experience with a strong emphasis on social and community awareness; and challenge participants to apply their talents within their community while providing an opportunity to become involved. The program focuses on showing the candidates an in-depth look at critical issues facing the Midlands.

For more information on Leadership Columbia, visit or contact Leah Kelly at or (803) 733-1146.

About Columbia Chamber
The Columbia Chamber is a private, non-profit, 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.

To become a Partner or to learn more about the Columbia Chamber, as well as its events, programs and initiatives, visit

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