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Columbia Regional Business Report announces 2017 Women of Influence

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Eleven young women — in professions from waste management to baseball — have been named the 2017 Women of Influence by the Columbia Regional Business Report.

Each year, the Business Report honors a group of young women who are setting the pace in their professional careers as well as working to make the Midlands a better place. They were nominated by Business Report readers and selected by a panel of judges from last year’s honorees and our staff.

Among this year’s honorees are professionals in nonprofits, real estate, banking, state and local government, and the Columbia Fireflies. A profile of each honoree was published in the July 17 issue of the Business Report, and they will be honored at a reception.

The 2017 honorees are:

  • Jill Michelle Armbruster, director of marketing, UCI Medical Affiliates
  • Kristen Beckham, External Affairs, Dominion Energy
  • Marie Dieckmann, associate, Advisory and Transaction Services, CBRE
  • Amy Beth Franks, executive director, Five Points Association
  • Mary Dell Hayes, executive director, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
  • Jill Lawson, executive director, Palmetto Place
  • Amanda Loveday, senior project manager, NP Strategy
  • Erin McCaskill, private banking relationship manager, First Citizens Bank Wealth Department
  • Abby Naas, vice president of marketing and public relations, Columbia Fireflies
  • Cheryl Stanton, executive director, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce
  • Samantha Yager, solid waste assistant superintendent, City of Columbia




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August 04, 2017

Seems you're referring to one comment, and not several, as disrespectful. Further, I wouldn't characterize the observation of poses as "discriminatory." That's actually a bit missing the point altogether isn't it? Not taking anything away from these 11 women and their accomplishments, but the fact that the accomplishments of NOT ONE SINGLE WOC is not represented or acknowledged seems to be misguided, and a poor representation at best. And that says more about the credibility of this publication itself.

July 28, 2017

These are such disrespectful comments to share and take away from these ladies accomplishments. The point that there is room for diversity is valid, but this announcement is not the place for it. The statement regarding their pose for the photo is simply a discriminate statement. I do not know any of these ladies, but I am thankful for time time that each of these ladies invest each day to make our community better. It is a sacrifice.

July 26, 2017

Congrats to the honorees. However, where is the diversity. Looks like we need to do a better job and nominating women of color.

July 24, 2017

My just look at this diverse group of honorees. Some of them have a left-facing sorority pose, and some of them are facing right. We've come such a long way.

July 20, 2017

Abby, we are so very proud of you and all of your accomplishments. Love Aunt Carol and Uncle Steve