Experience Columbia SC debuts 2023 ambassadors

January 12, 2023

Experience Columbia SC announced the new group of ambassadors for 2023 yesterday in conjunction with the launch of this year’s Columbia SC Insider’s Guide publication, featuring an illustration of Soda City Market created by local artist Cait Maloney.

The Columbia SC ambassador program, now in its fifth year, allows prospective visitors to see the Columbia region through the eyes of its locals. These locals each champion the region through a home grown, authentic point of view, share a common love for Columbia and represent makers, entrepreneurs, parents, professionals, foodies, creatives and so much more in the community.

The new ambassadors include Mattison Heatherly, Bianca Crawford Shelton, John Sherrer and Morihiko Nakahara. Heatherly is the founder City Social Co, a social media and public relations agency specializing in hospitality and lifestyle brands. Shelton is the 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. Each ambassador offers unique perspectives, experiences and interests that drive their passion for Columbia.

“Today’s savvy traveler is interested in unique, local experiences. As we build inspiration for visiting the Columbia region, it’s important to feature places and experiences that showcase that local vibe,” said Kelly Barbrey, ECSC VP of Marketing and Communications. “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.”

The ambassadors who precede this year’s group are 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.


To read more about the program and previous ambassadors’ favorite things to do and places to go around town, please visit www.experiencecolumbiasc.com/ambassadors.