Meet Historic Columbia's Leadership Team
Tuesday, December 19th 2023
ICYMI: After two decades of service to Historic Columbia (HC), executive director Robin Waites is retiring at the end of June 2024. Robin’s visionary leadership has set the organization up for success for many years to come. Exciting times are ahead as we usher in a new era of leadership at HC. In the blog below, we are thrilled to introduce (and reintroduce!) you to our other dynamic board and staff leaders who are committed to the mission of HC. The organization is in great hands as we find the next director to lead us to new heights.
Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to connect with our leaders, whether through programs, Q&A sessions, or other engaging events. We're excited about the journey ahead and the positive impact we'll achieve together under their guidance.
About me: I am a Certified Public Accountant and Managing Partner of Shiver Certified Public Accountants, where I provide businesses of all sizes not only traditional bookkeeping and payroll services, consulting services, and effectively act as an outside CFO for businesses. My passion is centered around enhancing the lives of others.
History with HC since: I have been involved with Historic Columbia for 3 years.
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: Historic Columbia is always at the forefront of utilizing history to connect persons from all communities which really resonates with me.
My goal as a board member over the next year: Over the next two years, my goal as a trustee is to continue building upon the amazing work Historic Columbia is performing to bring awareness of our history to impact the future of our community in a positive manner.
1st Vice President
About me: I am a Father, a husband, I am a company president. I love history, and I love Columbia.
History with HC: I have been involved with Historic Columbia for 9 years. I started in Palladium, and came on to the Board in 2020.
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: HC has really done an amazing job over the years telling the story of Richland County and Columbia. They are constantly trying to unearth new findings or find untold stories. Many times it has caused me to rethink what I have known or thought I have known about my home. I have also always admired the work that HC is able to do keep the historic built environment of Columbia.
My goal as a board member over the next year: I want to show members that their membership matters to HC, and encourage loyal support to the organization.
2nd Vice President
About me: I serve as the VP and Senior Director of the AgFirst Project Management Office (PMO). I have over 25 years of experience in being an individual contributor, managing, and leading IT project teams that support project governance, knowledge and content management, the Software Development Lifecycle, application development, and consulting. My knowledge spans across the Retail Banking and Insurances industries, specifically as a Technology VP at Wells Fargo and in the Commercial PMO at Blue Cross Blue Shield. I hold both a BA and MS in Information Technology and have been with AgFirst since 2017.
History with HC: I have been involved with HC for 2 years.
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: In addition to preservation, HC incorporates the stories that allow visitors to develop a more personal connection to the properties and their past inhabitants. No matter the stigma, recognition of heritage, or significance of the events related to the story, HC's commitment to the truth is what make me proud to be a member. This spirit resonates throughout the HC staff and the passion for the mission is infectious.
My goal as a board member over the next year: I would like to contribute more to the strategic direction of the organization and play a more active role in attracting more HC members.
About me: Originally from South Carolina and a graduate of USC, I am a 36-year employee of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. I live in Forest Acres, and am a proud G-ma to Graham and mom to his amazing parents—my son, Brandon and his wife, Staci.
History with HC: I have been involved with HC for 7 years.
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: It is an organization that not only preserves places, but tells stories of the people, unique and diverse, that breathed life into those places. Life stories matter and Historic Columbia uses them to educate, connect and inspire people of all ages in Columbia and across the Midlands.
My goal as a board member over the next year: My goal in my role Chair of the Development committee is to champion increased awareness of the organization's past, present and future commitment to preservation and to factual representations of all histories that can connect us all.
About me: I am a Columbia native who is proud to call Columbia home. My wife (Stacey) and our son (Oliver) enjoy exploring the many wonderful things our city has to offer. In my free time, I enjoy playing golf, cooking (and eating) good food, and rooting for the Gamecocks!
History with HC: I have been involved with HC since 2016.
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: The passion for preservation, and the dedication to sharing the stories that have shaped our city and our history.
My goal as a board member over the next year: My primary goal as Treasurer is to help connect the dots between what we do as advocates and stewards of Historic Columbia to show how that translates into our health and well-being of our financials and our organization.
About me: I'm a wife. A mom. A marketing and air service executive. And a volunteer. I live and work in Columbia, SC and have involved myself with issues that matter and have aligned myself with organizations that work to support women, children, marginalized communities, African Americans and people of color and so many more.
History with HC: I've been an active and involved volunteer for the last 10+ years.
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: Historic Columbia seeks to shed light on issues, causes, people and places that have a purpose, have deep rooted connection to the community and have a story to be told. The genuine effort, care and research is seen and felt in everything Historic Columbia does and shares with the community.
My goal as a board member over the next year: As immediate past president, my goal is to not only continue supporting the strategic direction set forth by the board and carried out by my fellow members and the outstanding Historic Columbia staff, but to also keep being an ambassador for this organization in my circles and within the community.
Director of Outreach and Engagement
About me: As Director of Outreach and Engagement, I lead the research, programs, and visitor experience teams at HC. I hold degrees from the University of Redlands (BA, English Literature) and the University of South Carolina (MA, Public History; MLIS). My recent projects include the reinterpretation of the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House, essays in 101 Women Who Shaped South Carolina and Invisible No More: The African American Experience at the University of South Carolina, and the launches of Columbia City of Women and “We’re Here! Preserving Columbia’s LGBTQ+ Stories.” A former archivist, I regularly consult on projects, ranging from National Register nominations to documentary films, that promote and expand upon the history of marginalized communities in Columbia and Richland County.
Employed at HC since: August 2017
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: People often feel that history is inaccessible to them, yet learning about our shared past and its effect on the present is one of the best ways to become an informed and engaged citizen. I really enjoy the process of asking complex questions about history and finding accessible ways to connect residents and visitors to the stories that emerge. Historic Columbia leadership has always supported my team’s efforts to tell truly inclusive stories; this commitment isn’t a recent trend for the organization but something its staff have been actively engaged with for nearly two decades.
My goal as a Department Head over the next year: Over the next year I'd like to find new, effective ways to empower my team leads to grow as well as increase the amount of documentation that exists for departmental processes. Both of these are key to any major leadership transition.
Director of Marketing and Communications
About me: As Director of Marketing and Communications, I oversee the organization’s integrated marketing strategy and brand management. With over a decade of experience in the nonprofit marketing sector, I came to HC from Carolina Roots Creative, a design firm I founded to help clients shine through custom creative solutions. Outside of work, I enjoy making memories with my wife, kids, and two standard poodles, Gus and Frankie.
Employed at HC since: July 2022
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: History and storytelling have often been dominated by certain perspectives, neglecting the experiences and contributions of marginalized groups. HC is unlike other historic or preservation organizations. For years, HC has told the stories of previously unheard voices, ensuring a more accurate representation of the richness and complexity of human experiences in our community. I want to use my skill set to amplify these voices.
My goal as a Department Head over the next year: Serving as the in-house agency for all other departments, the HC marketing department stays busy promoting an extensive list of annual programs, events, and initiatives. My goal is to find new and innovative uses of technology in order to reach more potential supporters and members.
Director of Development
About me: I grew up in Savannah, GA, a city steeped in historic places and stories and feel a kindred connection to the mission and work of HC. As one of the newer staff members, I’m enjoying learning so much about Columbia’s history and meeting so many passionate and engaging supporters of HC.
Employed at HC since: July 2023
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: I love the breadth of issues we address through our programs and projects. History is about so much more than the physical spaces of our historic homes, and we excel at telling important stories about Columbia and Richland County.
My goal as a Department Head over the next year: I want Historic Columbia members and donors to feel appreciated and know that their support is a worthwhile investment of their time and money.
Director of Operations
About me: As Director of Operations, I am responsible for overseeing the implementation of daily activities across six historic sites and 14 acres of manicured landscapes. My career has taken me to museums big and small across the country. I have written books and articles on a variety of topics, including Colt: The Revolver of the American West and Howard Hughes and the Creation of Modern Hollywood. I have also appeared as an expert commentator on numerous television programs, including Mysteries at the Museum, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and History Detectives. Regardless of the location or medium, I love sharing my passion for history.
Employed at HC since: July 2022
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: Historic Columbia's mission to share the complex history of Columbia and Richland County is admirable, as organizational missions often are, but the way that mission informs everything that we do is even more remarkable. Historic Columbia truly seeks to harness the power of history to inspire curiosity and catalyze community engagement.
My goal as a Department Head over the next year: I look forward to working with engaged parties, internally and externally, to ensure a smooth managerial transition while maximizing the visitor experience.
Director of Preservation
About me: I am a Columbia native and spent eighteen years as a resident of Forest Acres before leaving to attend Clemson University, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a history minor and a Master of Arts in English. After stints with the National Trust, the Smithsonian, and museums in Maine and New Hampshire, I began my Historic Columbia “journey” as a graduate assistant in August 1996 while a student in the Applied (today Public) History program at the University of South Carolina. Some of my most enjoyable work at Historic Columbia has involved authoring Remembering Columbia and cofounding the South Carolina Fall Line Consortium, a collaborative venture for advancing institutional and public knowledge of 18th through early 20th-century material culture from the Midlands. Preservation and research are my passions, but when I am not doing them (is that ever a thing?), I enjoy research and travel.
Employed at HC since: December 1998
Why I'm passionate about Historic Columbia's mission: Historic Columbia's mission has matured into something that can be inclusive to all Columbians and citizens of Richland County. We have dared to grow over the four different decades that I have been associated with the organization. The next chapter in our institution's future will be amazing.
My goal as a Department Head over the next year: My primary goal over the next year is to work with my fellow department heads to prove to our supporters, members, and the general public that Historic Columbia is poised for further greatness that involves them and that we will thrive with the talent currently represented as we welcome new leadership.