We at CMM are very excited to introduce the Capital Young Professional Awards honoring men and women 35 and under who are excelling in their careers, community involvement and philanthropy. During our celebration on April 20th at 701 Whaley, we honored the finalists — Josh Bennett, Tim Bowers, Peyton Bryant, Miles Coleman, Kim Jamieson, Jeff Manning, Marshall Minton, Drew Stevens and Lauren Wilkie. And we extended a hearty congratulations to the 2017 CYP winner — Joe Walker, III. These exemplary individuals are the next leaders of our great city and serve as wonderful role models to citizens of all ages in espousing a true sense of community spirit and pride. Read more about our CYP finalists on page 64.
During the interview process, we asked each of the CYP Top Ten Finalists what they saw as Columbia’s greatest challenge, and the overwhelming answer was the need for greater pride and identity. For years we have been the city that is “two hours from the beach and the mountains,” and while that’s certainly true, Columbia needs to grasp that our identity is so much richer.
“We are the first to put ourselves down,” Kim Jamieson shares. “We don’t need to try to be Charleston or Greenville, because we are Columbia! It’s similar to wanting to be like your best friend growing up, when you should just be excited to be you. We need buy-in from locals across the city. When hosting the media and journalists who visit to write about Columbia, I wish I could tape their reactions –– they repeatedly talk about how amazing our city is.”
We have so many options for entertainment on the weekends as well as weeknights that the conundrum isn’t finding something to do, but finding a way to decide between all the choices. A vibrant buzz of shopping, museum visiting and historic sightseeing, downtown offers perks for everyone — from the impressive food scene and arts culture in the Vista to Soda City Market on Main Street. Five Points and Devine Street also continue to grow and expand with businesses that put Columbia on the national map. The North Main Street district, “NOMA,” is undergoing exciting revitalization and development, which you can read about on page 116, and our rivers and lakes continue to attract the avid outdoorsman for a multitude of sports.
“Columbia is the most remarkable place I’ve ever been to,” Drew Stevens says. “Having traveled to almost 20 countries, I can honestly say there’s no place like home. The synergy we’re building as a diverse community will set the stage for continued growth that other cities will aspire to have. Anyone here can be a part of the change they want to see –– it simply takes the right attitude and a little courage.”
Well put, Drew. I certainly agree!