Six Junior League of Columbia members are among the 2021 class of Leadership Columbia graduates. Jennifer Berryman, Megan Huebner, Rachel Price, Catherine Ramirez, Brittani Richards, and Arteya Robinson completed the 10-month program and were awarded certificates during a graduation ceremony at Hunter Gatherer Brewery on June 8th.
According to the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s website, the experience kicks off with a required two-day retreat followed by 9 months of learning related to local issues and includes a class project in support of a local non-profit organization, and concludes with a graduation ceremony. Topics covered during class days include human services, arts and culture, military affairs, and criminal justice.
Rachel Price, JLC’s Executive Director, believes her completion of the program has enhanced her understanding of the systems, sectors, and communities which create the vibrancy of Columbia. As a recent JLC hire, she says, “In my new role as Executive Director of the Junior League of Columbia, it is easy to draw the parallels between what we discussed in Leadership Columbia and how the work I will be doing in this job impacts our community. Here in the Junior League, we empower female leaders as both philanthropists and as volunteers to improve the Midlands – and the way we do that is by serving the children and families of the Midlands. By strengthening the families of our community, we recognize the many ways that our entire community benefits. Ultimately, that positive community impact affects every single topic we covered in our Leadership Columbia classes.”
Rachel’s sentiments were echoed by other members who graduated this month and shared appreciation for the education and networking opportunities provided by the program. Arteya Robinson says, “The Leadership Columbia experience far exceeded my expectations. The program provided me the opportunity to learn so much about how the City of Columbia thrives as well as learn how to impact future growth and development. The experience improved my networking skills and pushed me into becoming a more informed and effective leader.” Arteya is the Director of Provider Audit at Palmetto GBA.
Members of the League and community wondering if the Leadership Columbia experience is one they can benefit from, may find Brittani Richards’ glowing review of the program beneficial. “Leadership Columbia’s 10-month program was an awesome experience. I networked with a diverse class of professionals, developed new fri
endships, and explored the many facets of the Midlands. I highly recommend that every professional in the Midlands apply for Leadership Columbia,” says Richards, Director of Grants and Government Affairs at Habitat Humanity, whose extensive experience in non-profit development and her community involvement has given her insight into the varied intersections between economic opportunity, community development, and social causes.
In spite of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s class successfully completed a project in support of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition. For their project, the class created a “Dad’s Den,” a safe and supportive space for fathers to interact and bond with their children. Local organization’s are encouraged to submit RFPs for consideration by the Class of 2021.