Our Team

Staff

Jess Oliver headshot

JESSICA OLIVER
Executive Director + Founding Member
Jess is a 2010 graduate of Winthrop University where she majored in French and K-12 education. She’s worked with youth for as long as she can remember as a dance teacher, an arts camp counselor, and an elementary and middle school teacher. She started volunteering with Girls Rock Charleston in 2012 and has enthusiastically filled the roles of drum instructor, guitar instructor, band coach, gear manager, and assembly leader over the years. She served as a gear manager and drum teacher during Columbia’s inaugural 2013 camp. Jess happily relocated to Columbia just in time for our 2017 camp with her husband, Johnnie, and their son, Ezra. She has been a member of local bands Can’t Kids, Hauswerk, People Person and Elim Bolt, and has spent several years organizing house shows in the area which is where she learned the joy and strength that comes from belonging to an artistic community. Her #1 dream band to join is The Thermals.

Board of Directors

Alexandra Whitehill-Smith headshot

Alexandra Whitehill-Smith | Secretary
South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Rapid Response Team Coordinator
Involved with GRC since 2016
Musician who rocks: Lizzo
Astrological sign: Gemini Sun, Sagittarius Moon, Cancer Rising
Favorite food: Ice cream (the fancy kind)

Betty Benns headshot

Betty Benns
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Instructor
Involved with GRC since 2016
Musician who rocks: Coathangers
Astrological sign: Aquarius
Favorite food: Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Bri Farber headshot

Bri Farber | Co-Vice President
University of South Carolina, Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow
Involved with GRC since 2017
Musician who rocks: Patty Griffin
Astrological sign: Virgo Sun, Libra Moon, Leo Rising
Favorite food: Cheese

Deborah Adedokun headshot

Deborah Oluwafemi Adedokun
The Nickelodeon, Theater Manager
Involved with GRC since 2013
Musicians who rock: Lizzo, Jay Som and Valerie June
Astrological sign: Aries
Favorite food: Pizza/Spaghetti & Meatballs with lotsa parm

Desiree Richardson headshot

Desirée Richardson
South Carolina Philharmonic, Audience Services Coordinator
Involved with GRC since 2013
Musicians who rock: Björk & Beyoncé
Astrological sign: Capricorn Sun, Taurus Moon, Taurus Rising
Favorite food: Chipz!!

Erica Thomas headshot

Erica Thomas | President
Columbia Museum of Art, Visitor Experience and Communications Coordinator
Involved with GRC since 2014
Musician who rocks: Kim Gordon
Astrological sign: Virgo
Favorite food: Pretzels

Georgia Coleman headshot

Georgia Coleman
Richland Library, Chief Customer Officer
Involved with GRC since 2015
Astrological sign: Scorpio

Hartley Middleton headshot

Hartley Middleton
Crave Market
Involved with GRC since 2016
Musician who rocks: Janelle Monae
Astrological sign: Scorpio Sun, Taurus Moon
Favorite food: Strawberries

Jennifer Thompson headshot

Jennifer Thompson
Richland Library, Studio Librarian
Involved with GRC since 2018
Musician who rocks: Betty Davis
Astrological sign: Taurus

Kemi Ogunji headshot

Kemi Ogunji | Treasurer
USC Press, Marketing and Design Coordinator
Involved with GRC since 2015
Musician who rocks: SZA
Astrological sign: Libra
Favorite food: Rice

Kristin Morris headshot

Kristin Morris | Founding Member
South Carolina Philharmonic, Marketing Director
Involved with GRC since 2013
Musician who rocks: Mirah
Astrological sign: Gemini Sun, Scorpio Moon
Favorite food: Popcorn with Peanut M&Ms

Mary Reaves headshot

Mary Reaves
Beginnings SC, Director of Programs
Involved with GRC since 2015
Musician who rocks: Patty Griffin
Astrological sign: Libra
Favorite food: All things salty!

Mila Burgess-Conway headshot

Mila Burgess-Conway, LPC | Co-Vice President
Family Connection of South Carolina, Volunteer and Development Coordinator
Involved with GRC since 2013
Musician who rocks: Lizzo
Astrological sign: Aquarian Sun, Libra Moon
Favorite food: Anything involving cheese

Nyomi Guzman headshot

Nyomi Guzman | Immediate Past President
WREN, Development Associate
Involved with GRC since 2017
Musicians who rock: Rihanna and Lianne La Havas
Astrological sign: Taurus
Favorite food: Nachos