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WITH DREAMS OF LEAVING COLUMBIA TO MOVE TO NEW YORK CITY, Kim Jamieson kept her roots planted in her home state of South Carolina after she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Masters in Mass Communications.
“All of my friends can attest to hearing me talk about this dream for years,” Kim said. “But after graduate school, and to this day, the countless blessings, the amazing friends
I’ve made, and the numerous open doors I’ve been granted, were all here in Columbia. Columbia has this magnetic and magic je ne sais quoi that keeps pulling you back in… and I’m so thankful it did.”
A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Columbia drew Kim in and has kept her here for nearly two decades, since her first days at the University of South Carolina. In that time, Kim has seen, and continues to see, Columbia change with tremendous growth and momentum.
“The number of individuals relocating to this region,
the expanding infrastructure, the development of The BullStreet District, the revitalization of Main Street, a bustling airport offering a variety of nonstop destination options, the various farmer’s markets scattered throughout the city, the higher education expansions, and so much more, all contribute to making this city what it is today,” Kim said. “I can’t wait to see what the region looks like in the next 10 years.”
She has been actively involved in our community, helping shape it into what it will become in the future. She does this through raising her hand, saying yes, and stepping into planning and leadership roles. A self-described foodie, Kim has loved one of Columbia’s newest events—the Columbia Food & Wine Festival—from both the planning and the attending side.
“There are so many fun and eclectic events that take place in Columbia, and it would be too hard to choose just one favorite,” Kim said. “I have loved listening to music in the streets at both the Jam Room Music Festival and World Famous Hip Hop Family Day. I also make it a point to regularly attend Devine Night Out, Vista Lights, Famously Hot New Year, and Oktoberfest.”
With COVID-19 shaping our everyday interactions with the city and the events offered this year, Kim has still found ways to support our community, the arts scene, and the locally owned businesses in town.
“Pre-COVID, and now as things are beginning to reopen, you’ll regularly find me and my amazing boyfriend, Chip, at the Columbia Museum of Art, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, strolling along Cayce’s Riverwalk, or visiting any of the art studios around town—like Stormwater Studios,” said Kim. “We recently enjoyed a picnic in the gardens of Historic Columbia’s Seibels House— which was just idyllic. In addition to expanding our cooking skills to include more ethnic dishes from around the world, we are also venturing out to restaurants for delicious take out or al fresco dining. Currently on repeat for us is Al-Amir on North Main Street. That Damascus Hummus with Chicken is… well, just go try it! You’ll see.”
This year was a year of reflection and change for our city, our state, and
our country as our world came to a screeching halt with the COVID-19 pandemic and as our perceptions and attitudes shifted with the Black Lives Matter movement. Both have provided new opportunities for learning, for empathy, and for compassion for others.
Kim has seen these opportunities first hand, and recognizes the steps that our town can begin to take to make a change.
“The peaceful marches on Main Street and on the State House grounds that occurred a few months ago were really encouraging to witness. Seeing people of all ages and races, young and old, joining together in support of Black lives and racial reconciliation, while also speaking out against racial injustices, was the beginning of a change that I truly feel is finally being seen as needed. That change, I hope, can one day be coupled with actionable steps forward.”
One direct way that Kim believes we can begin making lasting, impactful change in Columbia is by taking a close look at the lack of diversity on boards.
“Whether this behavior is realized or not, it’s always disappointing to see a lack
of diversity on the numerous boards throughout Columbia,” said Kim. “So often I’ve witnessed people simply
ask their close friends to join boards without considering the makeup of the current leadership, or the best thing
for the organization’s mission, vision, and goals. There are so many talented, accomplished, gifted individuals with diverse backgrounds, personalities, abilities, perspectives, and experiences ready and willing to serve. It takes effort to think beyond the lowest hanging fruit, but that’s exactly what is needed and should be the rule—not the exception.”
Kim suggests asking yourself what books you can read, what qualified thought
leaders can you follow and listen to, what community events can you attend, and what volunteer opportunities can you sign up for as small, actionable ways that individuals can begin creating ripples of change.
“The smallest actions can create a multitude of change making waves that our city, state, and country desperately need,” Kim said. “We need more listening, more questions asked, more open and tough conversations, more compassion and understanding for differences.”
Investing in our community is something that Kim deeply believes in. To continue making our city a wonderful place to live and to help transform it into the next iteration of Columbia requires giving back, and Kim excels at doing her part to give back to Columbia.
“I give back to our community by doing
a few simple things,” Kim said. “I raise my hand, I say yes, I get involved. I’m honored to serve on a number of boards and am connected to organizations that specifically work to enact change in the community. These organizations stand for women’s equality and empowerment, support the needs of women and children, pray for, serve, and financially fund underserved communities and preserve Columbia’s history—while not shying away from telling and learning from our city’s difficult and painful past involving race relations.”
Follow along with Kim on Instagram at @kljamieson and follow her fork at @eatinsc!