Hey COR fam!
To begin, I am incredibly honored to serve in the role of board chair for this fiscal year. Following the lead of immediate past chair Chase Heatherly (and Briana Bateman before him) I have big shoes to fill! Thank you to Chase, Briana and all our COR leaders for setting the tone for a high-impact and momentous year.
Secondly — wow! What an incredible summer COR has had. I am extremely proud of how much our organization has accomplished these past few months. This time of year is typically slower for our team as Action Team members transition into new roles and we bring new board members into the fold. But we have remained very busy, and it’s been amazing to watch all of our Action Teams’ hard work unfold. From Activate at the Columbia Fireflies with nearly 100 people in attendance to our Table for Six at Private Property in Lexington — we’ve seen new connections form and meaningful conversations transpire.
In addition, a new program was launched — Capture Columbia, presented by COR and the Midlands Business Leadership Group! For its inaugural year, Capture Columbia convened a group of more than 75 interns for networking opportunities, professional development and insider experiences throughout our region. Many of these participants have now added Columbia to their list of job search destinations. Big snaps to all who helped get our newest talent retention initiative off the ground!
You may be wondering, “What’s next for COR?” We have a lot of irons in the fire — our annual board retreat is just a few weeks away, our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training is on the books and we have some exciting updates to share about one of our signature events. 👀 It’s an exciting time for our organization and community as we continue to grow and build off this momentum.
We invite all Action Team members to join us for the DEI training session during our retreat (Sun., Aug. 29), even if you aren’t a board member. Please RSVP by emailing me — [email protected]. It’s important that we maximize the investment in COR leaders, and this training session will give us the tools to be more equitable in our operations. If you aren’t already an Action Team member, we’d love for you to get involved! Please email me or any of our board members to join the team.
Whether you are looking for a leadership role or just want to dip your toe in the water, I urge you to take that step. A handful of years ago, I went to my first COR event (Table for Six), and I didn’t know a soul in sight. Walking in I was nervous, but I left feeling surprised by how approachable my table was and energized by the intimate conversations that took place. Yes, I was hooked — but even then, if you had told me then where I would be now, I would have had my doubts.
It wasn’t until I dove deeper into the organization that I began to fully understand the springboard that COR can be. It’s the people serving as dot connectors, the optimism that fills our events and the thrill of bringing an idea from a simple phrase to fruition. So, give it a shot, share your ideas or attend the event solo. We want you to be plugged in, and we want to help you find the opportunities you’re looking for. Reach out to me or any of our board members — whether it’s a quick call or coffee — we want to meet you and hear about your passions. You never know what may spark something amazing for COR and our community.
Here’s to Connecting Columbia!
Ashley Cady Elsey
COR Board Chair 2021-2022