Our Talent of the Month are our most active and engaged members that the Membership Action Team selects to feature monthly. They are ambassadors for COR every time they stop foot into the community and are exemplify leadership, service and passion for the Midlands every day. Watch their videos to find out why they love our hometown and why they love being a member of COR.
Kevin Felder – March 2017
Kaylee Swanson – February 2017
Bryan Tayara – January 2017
Jr. Eargle – December 2016
Dean Smedley – November 2016
Lindsay Medlin – October 2016
Aaron Shaw – September 2016
Bobby Sutton – August 2016
Kerry McIver – July 2016
Jennifer Hydrick – June 2016
Dana Jennings – May 2016
Jason Rials – April 2016
Renee Chow – March 2016
Oliver Hartner – February 2016
Lauren Bates – January 2016
Barbara Lercara – December 2015
Bailey Lewis – November 2015
Kortni Miller – October 2015
Greg Morrison – June 2015
David Bornemann – May 2015
Aaron Roe – February 2015
Anna Grubic – December 2014
John Reeves – November 2014
Katherine Coker – October 2014
Connor Watkins – September 2014
Meet Sherrie, COR’s July Member of the Month. Sherrie joined COR in January and got involved by becoming a member of COR’s Programs Action Team. Sherrie is always filled with enthusiasm and energy. Connect with Sherrie on LinkedIn.
Where are you originally from: The Midlands – bounced between Columbia and Winnsboro.
Do you have an alma mater?: USC Upstate
Tell us about a typical day on the job: The beauty of working at a nonprofit is there isn’t a typical day. As Community Engagement Coordinator at EdVenture Children’s Museum, my job is to connect folks in the community to the museum and its programming – whether that’s attending City Council meetings, going to schools, attending community festivals, or chatting someone up in the grocery store. I’m always in search of opportunities to chat about the awesome things happening at EdVenture.
Why did you get involved with COR?: COR is a perfect way to connect to other YPs and give back to the community at the same time.
What else are you involved with?: Our volunteer program at my church (NewSpring) is HUGE! I love being able to serve in KidSpring each week. I’m also a member of CRC and serve on the board at Brookland Academy Child Development Center.
Your proudest achievement: Right after college I desperately needed a change, so I packed up my small car and moved 500 miles away from home. I was broke and had no idea where I was going to live. It was just the type of adventure I needed as a 23 year-old who had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. I survived and learned so much about myself.
What are you reading?: I am OBSESSED with industry-related reading material. On my things to read list are tons of museum/science center blogs and articles. I’m also reading Overwhelmed by Perry Noble.
Why do you volunteer?: The best professional development advice I’ve received is to be a servant leader. There are so many things you can learn by cheerfully doing for others.
If you could change one thing in Columbia, what would you change?: Public Transportation
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Notice someone in the community doing something you would like to do one day? Take them to lunch. There is so much power in building a strong network. Connect with folks who are where you want to be and be intentional in cultivating those relationships.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: Heard of bar hopping? Well, I want to go festival hopping. I never knew how many there were in Columbia. Next summer, I’m going to see how many I can check off the list.
Words of Wisdom: I just heard this Sunday and it truly resonated with me: “Discipline is the difference between average and abundance. Trying is doing something until you don’t feel like it anymore. Training is doing something even when you don’t feel like it. Be in it to win it.” – Perry Noble, Pastor at NewSpring Church
Ashley B. Griffin
Where are you originally from: Saluda, SC
Do you have an alma mater?: Columbia College
Tell us about a typical day on the job: As Customer Connections Specialist at Colonial Life, I provide on-boarding education for HR/staff personnel for our new accounts and conduct webinars to market our website tools. I also help lead volunteer projects that our company supports for community organizations.
Why did you get involved with COR?: I wanted to increase my involvement in the community, gain personal growth and network
Your proudest achievement: Graduating with my MBA last year, while balancing a full time job and family
What are you reading right now?: The Go-giver book
Why do you volunteer?: It’s fun and it feels good to know that you’re making a difference
If you could change one thing in Columbia, what would you change?: Although I don’t ride the bus, I think it would be great to have a better transit system
One person you’d like to have coffee with: Michelle Obama
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Don’t wait, start now. The experience will be rewarding.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: Split it 3 ways- Family Connection of SC, Trinity Baptist outreach efforts and United Way
What’s on your “bucket list”?: Learn how to salsa dance
Words of Wisdom: Be yourself, work hard and help others along the way
Where are you originally from: Tallahassee, FL
Do you have an alma mater?: Your 2013 BCS National Champions, Florida State University!
What brought you to Columbia?: Finding my “big girl job”
Where do you work and what do you do?: I’m Director of Donor Services at Special Olympics South Carolina. Building relationships with donors and locating resources to resolve any complaints or answer inquiries they may have. Throw in a little website coding and that’s a snap shot of my day.
Why did you get involved with COR?: I wanted to be a part of the exciting changes on the horizon for Columbia and found that COR members are leading the way.
Are you involved in any other organizations in Columbia?: Junior Achievement
Your proudest achievement: Earning a volleyball scholarship
Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia: Grab lunch at the Gourmet Shop in Five Points and do a little people watching, then take a late afternoon walk with my dog along Riverwalk Park.
Why do you volunteer?: What’s better than having some fun while doing a lot of good?
If you could change one thing in Columbia, what would you change?: Illuminate all street signs at major intersections and move them next to the traffic signal!
One person you’d like to have coffee with: Mayor Benjamin so I could pitch him my street sign initiative.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Just say yes and see where that takes you.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: Drawing inspiration from the Richard Pryor movie, “Brewster’s Millions”, I would buy everyone within shouting distance lunch.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: Go zip lining at the Riverbanks Zoo.
Words of Wisdom: “Never use an outhouse in Russia.” – Anne Walsh
Meet Kelly, April’s Member of the Month! Kelly got involved in 2013 and is a member of COR’s Communications Action Team. He’s heavily involved in Columbia’s startup community, and can be found recording The Buzz with us in his spare time. Follow him on Twitter @KellyTruesdale.
What brought you to Columbia?: I attended grad school at USC.Do you have an alma mater?: Florida Institute of Technology.What do you do for work?: Tminus6 Startup Accelerator, SOCO – Columbia’s Cowork, and other various startup things. I help tech startups solve problems and create amazing things. It’s quite fun.Are you involved with any other organizations?: TEDxColumbiaSC, OpenHack & its relatives, and the CFA Society SC.Your proudest achievement: Eating 17 tacos at the Whig’s Taco Tuesday.Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia: Crepes at Soda City and a long, long float down the river.Why do you volunteer?: Because people are nice enough to let me. Way too much cool stuff going on not to.What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Join COR. Say yes to every opportunity to do something.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I would buy 300 lattes and distribute them to a bunch of lucky volunteers — and watch the productivity and fun.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: Try every place that serves a Sunday brunch. Twice.
Meet Kelli, our March Member of the Month! Kelli works as a mortgage banker at Brand Mortgage and spends her busy days all over Columbia at meetings, networking events and educating fellow Columbia residence. You can always find Kelli promoting volunteerism for COR and Columbia. Find her on Facebook.
Where are you originally from: Beaufort, SC
What brought you to Columbia?: I came to Columbia for college. I graduated from USC in 2012
Do you have an alma mater?: USC!
Job Title & Employer: Mortgage Banker at Brand Mortgage
Tell us about a typical day on the job: The beauty of my job is that every day is very different. A huge part of my job is networking, so I typically schedule my week around networking events. Another large part is meeting with customers to go over loan paperwork, so I schedule my day around others schedules. I love to educate others, especially young professionals, on how the home buying process works. Many people don’t realize the amount of products that are out there to help you buy a home and in today’s world with interest rates so low, it’s often times cheaper to buy than to rent.
COR member since: I joined COR in 2013
Why did you get involved with COR?: I joined COR so that I could meet other young professionals in Columbia. It is hard to find an active young professional group, and I was looking for something that I could really get involved with.
Other organizations in which you’re involved: I am a member of Lexington Young Professionals and The Columbia Chamber of Commerce
Your proudest achievement: I started in the mortgage industry pretty much fresh out of college. I didn’t know anything about mortgages, other than mortgage had two “G’s in it. Now, not only am I a producing loan officer, but I am also the go-to person in the office. I’ve quickly built myself a great reputation and have captured many referral sources.
Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia: My ideal weekend in Columbia would be at the lake with my dogs in late spring, when it is nice and warm!
What’s in your Newsstand/nightstand/Google reader?: I subscribe to a lot of mortgage blogs, so mostly industry related articles.
Why do you volunteer?: I love meeting new people!
If you could change one thing in Columbia, what would you change?: Make it closer to the beach!
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: DO IT! Don’t talk about becoming involved, actually do it. Join COR, go to the events, and get involved. You won’t regret it.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I would give it to Pets Inc. I am a huge animal advocate, and both of my rescues have come from Pets Inc.
Meet Lynn, our January Member of the Month! Lynn was an integral part of The Hub becoming a corporate member and sponsor, and single-handedly ran the silent disco at the World Beer Festival. Lynn is a cheerleader for COR and Columbia and is always recruiting new members. Find her on Twitter @Luckilylynn
Where are you originally from: Florence, SC
What brought you to Columbia?: After attending the University of South Carolina, I loved this city so much I decided to stay!
Tell us about a typical day on the job: As the Marketing Assistant for The Hub at Columbia, I help our leasing manager with bringing our ideas to life. I create new graphics for social media, email blasts and advertisements daily. I also get to do the planning for any fun event or promotion that the Hub has going on. I am constantly looking for ways for the Hub to get involved with Columbia. The best part is that I get to interact with the future residents as well as Main Street business owners. Everyone is so excited to see The Hub help Main Street grow!
Why did you get involved with COR?: I originally interned as the Events Coordinator at COR. I got to see all the great things that COR did for Columbia and it is probably the biggest reason why I stayed after graduation. COR showed me that there was so much more to this city than just the university and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Columbia.
Your proudest achievement: Walking across that graduation stage last May and receiving my diploma!
Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia: Stopping off at Soda City market for treats, grabbing brunch at Cafe Strudel, then if there is a game going on tail-gating by Williams-Brice Stadium.
What are you reading?: Currently reading Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahnuik.
Why do you volunteer?: To meet amazing people and make a difference at the same time! I learn so much about this city and the people who live here just by volunteering and seeing what it does to help Columbia.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved?: You have to put yourself out there; you can’t make a difference by staying at home. You never know how one project or one person you meet could impact you later on.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: Give it to Pet’s Inc. I love the things that they do for the animals there and I want to see it continue its mission of saving as many animals as possible.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: Zip-Line the Zoo, go to a Pop-up Dinner, make it to every festival in Columbia.
Words of Wisdom: “Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Live your dream, and wear your passion. Life is short.”
Where are you originally from: Green Bay, WI
Do you have an alma mater?: University of Wisconsin Green Bay. I have degrees in both Human Development and Psychology with a Child Welfare emphasis.
Tell us about a typical day on the job: I’m an account manager at DP Professionals. There is no typical day. Every day is different and exciting because of the challenges and joys of finding the ideal fit for our clients’ needs and being able to see how excited our candidates get as they pursue their careers.
Why did you get involved with COR?: Barbara Blau was a big inspiration for me joining COR. She is a great mentor to all of us at DP Professionals and encouraged me to join because she know it would play off of my strengths and help me grow both professionally and personally.
Why do you volunteer?: Being relatively new to the Columbia area, COR has given me a great opportunity to build relationships with people and then more importantly use those relationships to build our community and help others.
Your proudest achievement: Having the courage to move more than 1,000 miles away from friends and family to start a life and career of my own with my husband…..and now starting a family!
What’s your ideal weekend in Columbia?: Spending time by the pool or golfing with my husband, and then going out to experience various Columbia festivals and activities with friends.
One person you’d like to have coffee with: Being a die-hard Packer fan from Green Bay, Wisconsin, I would have to say Clay Matthews…GO PACK GO!
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved?: It is really important for all young professionals to get involved in their community however they can. Networking within their specific interests can open doors that they may never have thought possible and may fill a gap or need that they never knew existed.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I’m a huge animal lover, and it breaks my heart to see so many stray animals here (you don’t notice nearly as many in the Midwest). So, I would give it to an animal shelter to help find good homes for them.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: I would like to hike every trail in Columbia. Many people aren’t aware, but there is an abundance of great hiking in Columbia. Whether you enjoy the seclusion of dense forests, or the urban feel of the city center, Columbia has them all.
Words of Wisdom: Be honest with yourself and others, don’t sweat the small things, enjoy life, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Meet Lee, COR’s Member of the Month for November! Lee is constantly doing good in the community and spreads the word about COR more than anyone we know. Follow her on Twitter or find her on LinkedIn.
Where are you originally from: I’m from right here in Columbia
Do you have an alma mater?: I have two! I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and my Masters of Social Work from the University of South Carolina – go cocks!
Tell us about a typical day on the job: I’m the Community Engagement Project Coordinator at Richland Library. What I love about my job is that there is no typical day. I am in and out of meetings most days planning and strategizing on how to increase awareness around the Affordable Care Act and help Richland Library on our mission to solve community problems.
Why did you get involved with COR?: I’ve been a believer in volunteering and giving back since high school. I joined COR because it’s a group that actually volunteers and works in our community and not just collects money.
Where else are you involved?: I’m also a member of the Junior League of Columbia
Why do you volunteer?: I’m a strong believer that I wasn’t given whatever talents, skills, and opportunities I may have to only better myself. I have these gifts to make a better world for others. That’s why I volunteer; to serve and help make the world a better place for everyone else (sorry for how cliché that sounds).
Your proudest achievement: There is a law on the books in the City of West Columbia banning the use of synthetic drugs. As an intern with Rise Above It, I drafted, edited, advocated for, and eventually watched that law pass.
What are you reading?: Right now I’m reading Leading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Ministry by Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson
One person you’d like to have coffee with: Jen Hatmaker – I love her heart for orphans/adoption and the homeless. She is absolutely hilarious, but I so want to learn from her about how she and her husband were led to actually put their hands to work resolving these two issues that can overwhelm a person.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved?: Jump in! Don’t wait for someone to ask you if you can help, but if you have a desire to make a difference, approach someone doing something you are passionate about and see how you can get involved.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I’d give it to the social workers in the schools. They see an incredible amount of need on a daily bases and have limited resources to help solve even the most simple of needs.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: Go zip lining at Riverbanks Zoo
Words of Wisdom: I love this quote from Emile Pereire: “It’s not enough to outline gigantic programs on paper. I must write my ideas on the earth.” Instead of dreaming big dreams and wishing the world would change – get out there and jump in!
Meet Steven, October’s Member of the Month! Steven is one of COR’s most valued volunteers. If we’re working on a volunteer project, you’re bound to see him representing COR with a smile on his face. Thanks for making a difference and giving back to our community, Steven! Connect with Steven on Facebook and Instagram.
Where are you originally from: Born in New York, raised in Columbia. My parents wanted a better place to raise kids so they headed South!
What is your alma mater?: Clemson University. GO TIGERS!
Tell us about a typical day on the job: I’m a provider enrollment analyst at BlueCross BlueShield. I speak to Doctors and office managers and process applications to enroll providers into the Medicare program. When I’m not at my desk, I’m usually up and about helping my team with problems or meeting new people in our huge building.
COR member since: October 2012 (Happy One Year Anniversary, Steven!)
Why did you get involved with COR?: When I moved back to Columbia, I really wanted to connect with leaders and young professionals who were focused on showing people why Columbia was a great place to be. After volunteering at a few events, I knew this was the organization for me.
Your proudest achievement: Having the opportunity to serve my district (NC & SC) as the leader of the undergraduates for my fraternity as the 2nd Vice District Representative.
Why do you volunteer?: My family has always been quick to give. We started from humble beginnings, but the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time. It’s how I was raised and it’s something I enjoy.
If you could change one thing about Columbia, what would you change?: I would love to see more programs geared towards K-12 to teach them about financial literacy and responsibility. (We recommended checking out what Junior Achievement is up to!)
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Find your passion and come to COR! I feel like we have so many connections to the organizations in Columbia that we could steer almost anyone into the right direction or give them a contact to help them get where they are looking for.
One person you’d like to have coffee with: Nelson Mandela, and I would swap the coffee out for some herbal tea. I’ve never been a coffee drinker.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I would give it to HYPE Columbia. We still need to get some things done as far as renovations in the boxing gym that we call our headquarters. $1000 could go a LONG way.
Words of Wisdom: I’ll leave my favorite quote that keeps me working: “The heights of great men reached and kept was not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their opponents slept, were toiling upward in the night” – Langston Hughes.”
Meet Megan, September’s Member of the Month! As a brand new member, Megan has already made many contributions to COR. She jumped right in and got to work at her first Action Team Meetup, and committed to our membership team. Connect with Megan @MeganPlott and on Facebook.
Where are you originally from: Radford, VA
What brought you to Columbia?: USC – GO COCKS!
Job Title & Employer: Director of Marketing & Communications, YMCA of Columbia
COR member since: Very recently 🙂
Why did you get involved with COR?: I’ve seen the great work you guys do around town and have a number of friends who are involved and finally decided to join too!
Your proudest achievement: I recently became an aunt! I don’t know if you can call that an achievement, but it’s making me pretty happy so far.
Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia: A few weekends ago a couple of my girlfriends who live in Charlotte came to town for the day. We had a wonderful ladies’ day of strolling down Devine into Five Points for the sidewalk sale. Stopped at Gourmet Shop for a bottle of wine and some snacks…then checked into our hotel room at The Inn at USC, then went to The Oak Table for a cocktail and then dinner at Motor. Top night in Cola-town!
What’s in your Newsstand/nightstand/Google reader?: The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.
Why do you volunteer?: I like to stay busy, meet new people and give back to the community where I live. My mom has a magnet on the fridge that says, “Stop me before I volunteer again!” I guess I got it from her.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Join some organizations, attend their events and then get involved with the ones that fit for you.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: That’s a tough one!
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: The new zip line at the Zoo!
Words of Wisdom: Whatever you’re doing, have fun with it.
Meet Andrew, August’s Member of the Month! Andrew is one of our newest COR members, but is already making a big difference. Andrew has been a huge help planning Music Break, and is an active member of our Action Team!
Connect with Andrew at @sharrockyrbody.
Where are you originally from: Edgefield, SC.
What do you do?: It varies from day to day and hour to hour. Event planner, volunteer coordinator, promoter, part-time legal assistant, part-time stage hand.
Where do you work?: My long-time cohort Missy Curls and I are in the process of setting up our own company: FAVE-Logic Solutions, LLC. FAVE is an anagram for Food, Art, Volunteers, Events/Entertainment: Logical evaluation and application for a Solution to your organization’s needs.
Tell us about a typical day on the job: There isn’t really a ‘typical day’ for us. We are always thinking about ways to improve the model that we have set up. Sometimes you have to scrap the whole thing. The biggest thing for us is building and maintaining relationships.
What other organizations are you involved in?: Greater Rosewood Merchants Association, Congaree Riverkeeper, The Vista Guild, The Jam Room Foundation, The Five Points Association and the Midlands Center For Expressive Arts. We’ve also worked with several other charitable organizations such as Pawmetto Lifeline, St. Baldricks, Hidden Wounds, CCCF, ProjectFIT at USC, and MIRCI. I really want to do more philanthropy in the future, which is a big reason I chose to join COR.
Why do you volunteer?: I volunteer to try to help local organizations whose ideals I identify with achieve their goals and to try to raise the profile and value of living in the city that I have come to love since I moved here almost ten years ago.
If you could change one thing in Columbia, what would you change?: I want to see the music scene in Columbia thrive again. I hate it when I hear people complain about there being “nothing to do in Columbia” or talking about how “no good bands come here anymore” and then when promoters DO bring in talent, the people who do the most complaining are nowhere to be found.
One person you’d like to have coffee with: Wayne Coyne (front man of the Flaming Lips). I have a hunch it would end up turning into an absurd adventure.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Always keep your eyes open and don’t pass up any opportunity you’re given, no matter how small it may seem. A lot of the people that I now work with regularly only met me when I volunteered for the Rosewood Crawfish Festival a few years ago just to have something to do on a Saturday. You really never know when or how opportunities may present themselves so BE READY!
Words of Wisdom: “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” – Joseph Campbell
Marshall Coleman Newton
Meet Marshall, July’s Member of the Month! Marshall joined COR this year and jumped right in! Marshall serves on COR’s Action Teams and has been to a majority of our events since joining. We love members who get involved!
Where are you originally from: Columbia and Florence, SC
Do you have an alma mater?: Wofford College and USC
What’s your job?: Attorney at Robinson McFadden and Moore
Why did you get involved with COR?: I saw an opportunity to get involved with new projects and meet a diverse group of motivated young professionals.
Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia: My ideal Saturday starts at the local farmer’s market on Main Street. I love to get coffee there and then pick out some delicious food to cook at home for dinner. I also love walking at the Riverwalk when the weather is nice.
What’s in your Newsstand/nightstand/Google reader?: Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. He is hilarious!
Why do you volunteer?: I volunteer because I care about my community and try to do my part to improve it. Volunteer opportunities enrich the lives of others as well as providing a learning and growing experience for me.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I would use it to help some of the homeless downtown.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: COR is great because it offers so many different ways to get involved. I think that people should look for and volunteer for a cause they are interested in so that they are connected and care about the time and talent they are contributing. I also think it helps to find a professional organization to join in a person’s particular field or area because these groups can provide career support and advice.
Meet Kaci, our member of the month. She’s a rockstar on our Buzz team and volunteers with us whenever she can. Kaci has been involved with COR since 2011. Kaci is permanently wearing a smile – her twitter name even says so! Follow her @KaciSmiles
Where are you originally from: Augusta, GA. My husband Levi brought me to Columbia.
Why did you get involved with COR and what’s your involvement like: COR has been instrumental in educating me about the city. By volunteering at different events, I was able to learn my way around the city while meeting awesome people from all over the Midlands. I absolutely love having the opportunity to be on radio for The Buzz!! I love it even more because I get to do it with a very diverse, supportive group of professionals who enjoy being on air as much as I do. The studio is a cozy atmosphere that encourages spontaneous, and most times unintentional bonding. Sharing The Buzz also continuously reminds me of all the wonderful events, programs, and resources that Columbia has to offer.
What’s your job & what’s it like?: Coordinator of Student Life at Midlands Technical College. There’s no such thing as a typical day! I could be advising a student organization member, coordinating a student event or attending a student meeting, working on edits to the Student Handbook, helping a student get their MTC Student ID Card, or trying to do all of that simultaneously!
Why do you volunteer?: I volunteer because it is important for me to give back and to sow in to my local community. Problems are solved when people are willing to donate their time, talent, and energy. I also volunteer to learn my way around the city and to meet people. I can get around downtown Columbia without a GPS because of my community involvement.
What’s your proudest moment?: Getting accepted and graduating from the Higher Education & Student Affairs program at USC.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Join COR and the professional organization affiliated with your field or career path. Volunteer in the local community. The networking and professional development events & workshops are invaluable to your success and growth. It is important to meet a variety of people when you are starting out. Volunteering helps you make a difference, meet new people, and learn about the community where you live; all of this helps you become a more well-rounded professional.
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I would give 20% to my church, 20% to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc-Irmo Chapter for community outreach programs in the Midlands, 20% to the Colon Cancer Alliance, 10% to Sister Care, 10% to the Midlands Technical College Needy Student Fund, & 10% to each of my alma maters, Mercer University & University of South Carolina
Words of Wisdom: If you don’t succeed at first, try, try, try, try, try again! Don’t give up.
Meet Andrew, our member of the month. We can always count on Andrew to lend us a hand. Whether he’s helping to plan our next Table For Six dinner or meeting us at the studio to record The Buzz, Andrew’s always enthusiastic. We just love members who put all hands on deck! Tweet him at @EptingAndrew
Where are you originally from: Columbia, a stork brought me here!
COR member since?: Friend of COR since 2010, member since 2011.
Why did you get involved?: I needed some way to physically channel the pride I have in Columbia – actively participating in COR allows me to do that. (Editors Note: We LOVE this answer.)
What’s your job & what’s it like?: Program Manager at the South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance. As number two of a two person staff, I do it all. From website management to fundraising and everything in between. Right now I’m an event planner for the 2013 SC Clean Energy Summit being held this July in Columbia.
What’s your proudest achievement?: Working up the courage to ask Elyse, my wife, to marry me!
Why do you volunteer?: Helping others helps me more. I’m reminded how fortunate I really am when I volunteer.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved?: Pick one or two activities and give them your full attention. Volunteerism can tend to burn a person out if there isn’t a specific end goal in mind.
What’s on your Columbia “bucket list”?:
- Become Mayor
- Run a marathon on the world’s smallest course somewhere downtown, like around the State House, and have Guinness World Records confirm it.
- See my artwork displayed at the Columbia Museum of Art.
Words of Wisdom: “The world needs you to stop being boring. Yeah, you. Boring is easy. Everyone can be boring. You’re gooder than that.” – Kid President
Meet April, our member of the month. April has been a member since 2011 and is an avid cheerleader for COR and Columbia. If you’ve been to a COR event, you’ve seen her in the crowd. She makes a difference in so many ways. Friend her on Facebook!
Where are you originally from: Akron Ohio
What brought you to Columbia?: A Teaching Job
Where do you work now?: Volunteer Coordinator at the Cooper Branch of Richland Library.
COR Action Team/Projects in which you’re involved: The buzz
Why did you get involved with COR?: I wanted to get more connected to my community.
Other orgs in which you’re involved: Noma Community Garden, Treblemaker South Carolina Philharmonic, New Audience Roadshow, Literacy 2030, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina, Volunteer for Slow Food, Indie Grits, and Tasty Tomato Festival, Sustainable Midlands, 701 Center for Contemporary Art, The Nickelodeon and more!
Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia: Hanging out at Drip with friends catching up.
What’s in your Newsstand/nightstand/Google reader?: Quiet:the power of introverts.
One person you’d like to have coffee with: President Barack Obama
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?: Join COR, it’s amazing!
What would you do with $1,000 to give away?: I would give it all to Sustainable Midlands because their efforts to improve and educate Columbia about the environment makes a difference!
Your favorite hot or cold beverage: Ice Dirty Chai
Words of wisdom: Patience is a virtue.
Meet Tim, a member since 2011 who is involved in many pockets of Columbia and always ready to lend a hand. Tim is an avid volunteer, a leader in our community and always wears a smile. He truly captures our values of service, leadership and fun! Connect with him @TimGoldSC.
What brought you to Columbia?: USC and my two awesome older brothers!
What’s your job?: I’m an investment advisor / financial services representative at MetLife.
Tell us about a typical day: I have the pleasure and responsibility of making my own schedule. I meet with clients and advise them on the most basic of decisions, like budgeting, all the way up to the most strategic financial planning aspects, such reviewing their work benefits, retirement, insurance, and college planning. I am also constantly work on my efforts in Philanthropy!
Why did you get involved with COR?: To get involved with the future leaders of our community
What other organizations are you involved with?: Sertoma, Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, American Diabetes Association, Tapps Art’s Center, Columbia Marathon, Healing Species and Alianza Latina!
Your proudest achievement: Raising money for all of the nonprofits I work with. I love it!
What’s in your Newsstand?: I’m a nerd….Columbia Business Monthly, Columbia Home & Garden, Columbia Star, Jasper, Coffee News, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and of course FREE TIMES! I am a periodical hoarder!!!!
Why do you volunteer?: I love giving back to my community and those in need. Plus I genuinely enjoy meeting new people and care for them!
If you could change one thing in Columbia, what would you change?: The attitude of the pessimists or the haters! Some people have so many bad things to say about Columbia. Sometimes I can understand where they are coming from, but Columbia is a great city and can and will get even better.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?: Hmmmmm. That’s the only question that stumped me! Tough one…Maybe meet my future wife !? (-;
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?: I live every day like its my last. I am a humble person and appreciate every day I am healthy and walking and talking. I never loose perspective, and if I ever do I always seem to be grounded or put into perspective. I am so lucky to be blessed with the family, friends, and peers in my life.
Words of wisdom: Do not take yourself too seriously. Surround yourself with great people and live your life the way you want to. Through all of the ups and downs!
Meet Bridgett, involved with COR since 2011, Bridgett is a volunteer enthusiast and is always there to help when we need her. From stuffing hundreds of t-shirt bags at the USMC Mud Run to volunteering at the World Beer Fest, Bridgett has her hands in everything!
Where are you originally from:
Do you have an alma mater?:
Volunteer Center Manager, United Way of the Midlands
Tell us about a typical day on the job:
Working with companies and individuals to organize volunteer projects. Right now I am helping Colonial Life find a hands-on volunteer project for their senior management team!
Why did you get involved with COR?:
Initially got involved with COR by attending the Table for Six events and really enjoyed meeting people that I would otherwise not get to meet.
Your proudest achievement:
Personal: Running my first marathon this past year. Work: organizing volunteers for a free two-day health care event in Columbia. It was so rewarding to be a part of the event that helped so many in need.
Your ideal Saturday or weekend in Columbia:
Love going boating on Lake Murray or floating down the river. My ideal Saturday is a Clemson game day in Death Valley.
What’s in your Newsstand/nightstand/Google reader?:
Currently reading Toxic Charity, book with the premise that often non-profits and churches hurt the people they try to serve more than they help.
Why do you volunteer?:
So many reasons to volunteer- to help others, to meet people, to learn about issues facing our community.
If you could change one thing in Columbia, what would you change?: I have really enjoyed floating down the river on summer weekends. It is such an untapped resource in Columbia. I tell my out-of-town friends I went on the river for the day and they respond, “What river?” I would love to see a safer and more developed access landing for people to get to the river and enjoy it!
One person you’d like to have coffee with:
Well…I don’t drink coffee…but would love to have a glass of wine with Oprah!
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?:
Join COR and United Way’s Young Leader’s Society of course!!!
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?:
See Clemson beat USC again 63-17at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Words of Wisdom: “It will all work out in the end.”
Meet Marcus, one of our newest COR members. He’s an awesome graphic design artist, take our word for it! He rocked the captain’s position at the USMC mud run finish line all day long and gave limitless hugs to muddy runners. The best thing about Marcus? He loves Columbia and wants to help us flourish. Connect with him on Facebook, @mawill or check out his portfolio.
Where are you originally from?
I was actually born right here in Columbia, but we moved to Lancaster, SC when I was a little baby and I stayed there until I graduated from USCL.
What brought you to Columbia?
After I graduated from USCL I made the natural jump to the main campus.
Employer & Job Title
Round Creatives, Lead Designer
Tell us about a typical day on the job…
Honestly there is no typical day on the job. It’s a ton of learning for sure. And since the designs I get are rarely the same, then that sorta helps with any monotony that may try to squeeze itself in.
COR Action Team/Projects in which you’re involved:
I had the opportunity to be involved in the Mud Run this year. One of the best experiences as a volunteer I’ve had in a while.
Why did you get involved with COR?
I want to have a hand in making this city great. I believe getting your hands dirty so to speak is a part of that process.
What are you reading?
Just finished a book called Love Does by Bob Goff. Next in line is a book called Quitter by Jon Acuff
One person you’d like to have coffee with in general?
Wow. That’s a tough one. I have this list of people I want to pick the brains of on my computer and it ranges in terms of what I can learn from each. Picking from that list is tough, but I think being able to hang out with this dude named Francis Chan would be right up my alley. He has so much wisdom. I would literally just sit and listen for 90% of the time.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to get involved and make a difference?
Know coming in that you’ll have to get your hands dirty. We’re building some cool foundations for our city and getting dirty is part of the adventure.
What’s in your “bucket list” of things to do in Columbia?
My friend first introduced me to the idea of a bucket list, but I have yet to actually make one. I will say though, something that would be cool to do would be to be on the sideline of a USC vs. a top level SEC team during football season.
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?
Nothing really. I do want to say thank you for featuring me. It’s a huge honor from my perspective.
Words of wisdom?
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish