Hi COR fam! My time as the board chair for our wonderful organization is coming to a close. Effective July 1, Ashley (Cady) Elsey will begin her tenure as our board chair for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. I’m excited to see how Ashley, the board and each of you together take COR to new heights in the new (fiscal) year. Our full board leadership team is below:
- Chairperson: Ashley (Cady) Elsey
- Vice Chairperson, Operations: Carrie Walker
- Vice Chairperson, Strategic Initiatives: Kelsey Carmichael
- Secretary: Benjamin Culbreth
- Treasurer: Anne Langley
- Immediate Past Chair: Chase Heatherly
We also welcome Fred Jones to COR’s board of directors. Fred has been a member of COR and a contributor on our Volunteer Action Team for the past several years. We are excited to bring him to the table.
A Year in Review
I could write pages and pages about how meaningful the opportunity to serve as your board chair has been. Leading COR has been the most incredible service opportunity I’ve been afforded in my career. I love COR, its membership and our collective positive impact on the Columbia region.
I recently hosted the board at my house for dinner to celebrate the end of a challenging but rewarding year. As I recapped my time as chair, I shared with the board a snippet of COR’s accomplishments this past year. The list is not comprehensive, but it shows the resilience of our organization and members. #OurCOR accomplished the following, all while navigating a global pandemic and economic hardships:
- We implemented a full brand refresh, including updating our mission/vision statements
- We created the most diverse board in COR’s history, which only continues to improve as we re-activated the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Team.
- We kept Crash Course Columbia (our new talent retention initiative launched just before we went into lock down) alive through the pandemic via a virtual IGTV series, and it successfully re-launched tours this May.
- We secured a new talent retention program targeting the region’s student population, Capture Columbia. Launched this summer by MBLG, COR will take over as the program’s long-term owner effective 2022 (more to come on that!).
- We revamped our development efforts, and began a proactive development campaign to build relationships with the business community.
- We developed annual partnership levels to allow our business partners the opportunity and flexibility to support COR in a variety of ways.
- Rebranded Time for Art, our annual signature event, and refreshed the event’s offerings (more to come on this, too!).
- Added a Talent Retention Action Team to carry out COR’s renewed focus on retaining talent in the Columbia region.
- We persevered and continued programming through COVID with innovative membership events like virtual panel discussions and the COR book club.
- We continued serving our community through volunteer events; notably a series of blood drives, work at Camp Cole, and others.
- We refreshed COR’s annual budgeting process and procedures.
- We beat our Midlands Gives goal by raising nearly $7,500.
- We invested in our board members by sending three through the United Way of the Midlands’ Blueprint for Leadership Program.
- We strengthened our communication efforts by partnering with City Social Co. to execute all external marketing and communications.
I share this list to say ‘thank you.’ This is a list we can all be proud of. We accomplished so much in an unimaginably tough year and it is due to each of you – the work you put in and your commitment to COR and to our community. Columbia Opportunity Resource emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than it entered, and for that, I thank you.
Onward and upward!
COR Board Chair