Experience Columbia SC, the region’s destination marketing organization, announced its new group of 2023 ambassadors on Wednesday, Jan. 11 in conjunction with the launch of this year’s Columbia SC Insider Guide publication, featuring an illustration of Soda City Market created by local artist Cait Maloney.
The ambassador program, now in its fifth year, allows prospective visitors to see the region through the eyes of its locals, according to a news release.
The new ambassadors are Mattison Heatherly, Bianca Crawford Shelton, John Sherrer and Morihiko Nakahara. Heatherly is founder of City Social Co., a social media and public relations agency specializing in hospitality and lifestyle brands. Shelton is president and CEO of local strategic communications firm The Crawford Austin Agency, as well as a host for the annual Diner en Blanc event. Sherrer is the director of preservation at Historic Columbia. Nakahara is the music director for the South Carolina Philharmonic.
“Today’s savvy traveler is interested in unique local experiences,” said Kelly Barbrey, vice president of marketing and communications for Experience Columbia SC. “Our ambassador program provides potential visitors the opportunity to see how locals enjoy the Columbia area and shows them how to create those experiences during their trip. Our 2023 ambassadors have a diverse array of interests and ways they enjoy Columbia that we hope will resonate with our future visitors.”
Past ambassadors include Shanika Pichey, Anthony Goldman, Lynn Luc, Vanessa Bialobreski, Kim Jamieson Crafton, Mark Rapp, Rita Patel, Milo Putnam, Merrell Johnson, Ashley Jenkins Wood, Lee Snelgrove, CJ Lake Tamasco, Ashley Cady Elsey, Angela Yong, Preach Jacobs and Michael Mayo.