Our Story and Our People
Columbia Metropolitan Magazine is the city magazine for the capital of South Carolina. Each month, approximately 100,000 people in the Richland and Lexington Counties metropolitan area turn to the pages of CMM to stay abreast of the latest in what is new and exciting in the largest city in the Palmetto State. While the magazine focuses primarily on the Midlands region, readers throughout the state regularly pick up the magazine for its insightful writing and stunning photography.
Founded in 1990 by Emily and Henry Clay, the publication has become the “go-to” source on what is hot in dining, business, home and garden, the arts, health and wellness, education, community events, and the myriad of other amenities that helped establish Columbia’s reputation as “The Capital of Southern Hospitality.” The Clays are quick to point to their talented staff at CMM as the cornerstone of the continued success and growth of the magazine.
Henry and Emily Clay
Publishers and Founders
With the dust still on their boots from farm life in Georgia, Emily and Henry moved to Columbia in March 1990 to launch Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. Working with their partners at Augusta Magazine, they premiered the first issue in June of the same year. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Henry graduated from Washington & Lee University. He met Emily in Virginia while she received her BA in English from Hollins University. They have three daughters, Margaret, Mary, and Helen, who have all taken turns in working for Columbia Metropolitan.
Editor and Associate Publisher
Margaret Clay is the daughter of Emily and Henry Clay and has grown up in Columbia and with Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a major in English and a minor in Spanish and also worked for two years in Colorado Springs for a division of Random House. She enjoys being in the outdoors with her dog, Brontë, reading, dark chocolate, and playing tennis.
Director of Advertising
In the summer of 1995, Shawn Coward decided to leave her world of acting (Alan Alda was her boss at one point!) and try her hand in business. Savvy in style and with a genteel demeanor, Shawn Coward has added great depth in the advertising sales for Columbia Metropolitan. She loves her advertisers and the support they have given the magazine over the years. She was born and raised in Columbia and graduated from Boston University. She has two children, Gabrielle who attends Erskine, and Kyle who works in Hilton Head.
Editorial and Advertising Art Director
Dennis added another male presence when he joined the Columbia Metropolitan team in 2002. Henry was most grateful! Dennis studied at Ringling School of Art & Design and has a bachelor's degree in fine arts from U.S.C. He implements great flair to the editorial as well as advertising design for Columbia Metropolitan. His company, Dennis Craighead Design, has a long history of designing business-to-business communications and print publications. He is married to Amy Craighead, and their son, Max, is a Clemson Tiger!
Advertising Production Manager
In December 2010, Nancy came on board in our advertising production department. Nancy manages the collection and design coordination that keeps our production schedule flowing smoothly. Nancy received her degree in elementary education from U.S.C. She is married to Lanny Lambert, and they have three adult children, Grayson, Bryant, and Caroline, who are all married. Nancy and Lanny have three grandchildren.
Muffie Vardell Wells
Muffie joined the CMM team in 2017, immediately enhancing the magazine with her love of writing, interior design, and editorial organization. Muffie grew up in Columbia and graduated from Hammond School before attending Hollins University in Virginia where she received her BA in English and Art History. Following this, Muffie attended the University of Georgia where she received a degree in Interior Design. She has three grown children, Whaley who is married to Barnes Connell, John who recently married Margaret Womble from Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richard who is a senior at USC. She also has a granddaughter, Elizabeth Connell who is called “Bee” for Muffie’s late mother.
Juleah came on board in our editorial department in 2020 and has loved being a member of the CMM team. She has brought a wealth of talent and a savvy style to our editorial vision. Juleah is from Anderson, South Carolina, and came to Columbia in 2010 to attend the University of South Carolina. She then received her PharmD from the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. During her pharmacy program, she met and married Lee Blatt, who was born and raised in Columbia. She left pharmacy practice when she and Lee began their family, and she has loved the transition into her new field. She and Lee have 2 young sons, Barnes and Wesley, and another son on the way.
Cathy Beale Bagley
Back in late 1990, Cathy Beale jumped on board at Columbia Metropolitan in the early days as a graphic designer. Cathy attended Anderson College and Western Carolina University. She received a BFA from W.C.U. with a concentration in graphic design. Not long after starting at the magazine, Cathy was swept off her feet by Marcel Bagley! They married and moved to San Francisco, California. Fast forward to 1998, and they moved back to Columbia. Cathy rejoined Columbia Metropolitan as the Art Director for the next four years. Cathy and her brother, Dan, formed Beale Bagley Creations, LLC (a design and multi media company). She then continued occasional projects for Columbia Metropolitan through Beale Bagley Creations. In 2017, Cathy Bagley once again joined the CMM staff! This time she works in the area of Digital Communications. Cathy is still married to Marcel Bagley (27 years now), and they have two beautiful boys, Landon (14) and Liam (11). Cathy says, “Life is good when you are at Columbia Metropolitan Magazine!”.
Jeff began his career as a photojournalist in 1980, which is the foundation and look of the work he currently pursues. Since 1990, his ability to anticipate and capture his subjects in candid moments brings sparkle to his images in editorial, corporate and advertising assignments. In addition to his excellent portrayal of people in the workplace and the details associated with it, he appreciates the culinary arts and truly enjoys the challenges of food photography that make the presentation both beautiful and appetizing. What makes Jeff’s photographs stand-out are how he sees and uses light, composition and his ability to easily connect with the folks he works with.
Robert Clark’s photography has appeared in National Geographic books, Newsweek, Smithsonian and photographic awards annuals such as Print and Communication Arts. Robert’s specialties include architectural/interior photography, editorial, advertising and fine art photography. Robert has photographed six coffee-table books on South Carolina with the latest book — Reflections of South Carolina: Volume Two. Robert enjoys gardening, bird watching and cooking.
Bob’s love for photography began in the mountains of the Carolinas where he would spend days hiking and capturing the beautiful landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains on film with an old, trusty RB67 Pro. After building a portfolio, he began to show and sell his artwork in local restaurants and shops in Columbia. He got his first free-lance job in 1998 with a Columbia-based magazine shooting the “yard of the month” stories and later food and advertising photography. During this time, Bob was also assisting a local professional photographer, learning the studio lighting and composition aspects of photography that are the foundation of most of the work he does today. His disciplines include corporate, editorial, advertising, portrait, photojournalism and fine art photography.