City Council Announce Selection of New Columbia Housing Authority Board Members
Mar 04, 2019

Mayor Steve Benjamin and Columbia City Council Announce Selection of New Columbia Housing Authority Board Members

Today, Mayor Steve Benjamin and Columbia City Council announced that they have selected four (4) new members for the Columbia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.  A special called meeting was held this morning at 10 a.m. to discuss this matter and to review viable applicants. 

City Council members were impressed with the high quality of all applicants, which included leaders with both corporate and community service backgrounds.  The new board members will give the Columbia Housing Authority Board of Commissioners the ability to move forward with important decisions that will impact residents now and in the future.The board will not be compensated for their service nor will they benefit from this appointment financially.The terms for these new board members will be effective immediately.

Information regarding each new board member can be found below. Photos have also been included as well.

James Chatfield

James Chatfield has served as the Chief Lending Officer of the SC Community Loan Fund since April of 2018. In this role, he has leveraged his experience from over a decade in the financial services industry to foster community economic development in low wealth communities throughout South Carolina and the border counties of North Carolina and Georgia. He has a craft in lending policies and procedures, developing, recommending and implementing new loan products and directing the activities of his lending team across their footprint while building partnerships with diverse groups of stakeholders to ensure that the SCCLF mission of providing equitable access to capital is realized. James is also a certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) by the National Development Council.

Georgia Mjartan
Georgia Mjartan has served as the Executive Director of South Carolina First Steps since December 2017.

South Carolina First Steps is the state’s comprehensive early childhood education initiative that exist to ensure South Carolina’s children are ready for school success.

Since their inception in 1999, First Steps has helped hundreds of thousands of young children prepare for school through programs that provide early intervention, strengthen families, improve children’s health and well-being, increase the quality of early care and education, and help transition rising kindergarteners into school.

Before transitioning into the Executive Director role at South Carolina First Steps Mrs.Mjartan ledOur House.Our House is an Arkansas-based non-profit that empowers homeless and near-homeless families to be successful at work, School, and in life. Mjartanwas Executive Director there for 12 years. With a team of 80 employees, Our House became a nationally recognized "learning lab" for innovative practices under her leadership, to include a top-­??rated early learning center.

Kara Simmons
A past community leader for the Obama Foundation’s Community Leaders Corp in Columbia, S.C., Kara is a proud South Carolina native known for her sharp political awareness and passion for volunteering. A graduate of Columbia College, where Kara also serves as an adjunct professor, is the current Executive Director of Columbia Bethlehem Community Center and Board Chair of the Talented Tenth, a non-profit organization founded by City of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. Over the years, Kara has been named one of the region’s ‘Best & Brightest 35 and Under’ by Columbia Business Monthly Magazine, ‘Top 20 Under 40’ by The State newspaper and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Columbia Class of 2015. Kara is also the Co-Founder of the No Boys Allowed Movement, a 501C 3, whose mission is to promote higher education, self-awareness, and empowerment while exploring Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) to middle and high school girls of color, and the champion of Columbia College’s frequent social change forums.

In addition, Kara provides consulting services assisting non-profits, corporations, and agencies with strategic plans to enhance their business. She is known for providing her clients with community outreach opportunities to engage their clientele and developing logistics and marketing strategies to ensure growth and success

Anne Sinclair
Anne Sinclair has been a partner with Resource Associates, Inc. since 1989. She has a diverse background in organizational development, strategic planning, board development, meeting facilitation, and conflict management. With these skills, Anne has worked with family businesses, partnerships, not for profit organizations, and government agencies.

Prior to joining Resource Associates, Anne worked for sixteen years in the mental health and not for profit fields. In addition, Anne served for 20 years on Columbia City Council. During her tenure, she served as the Mayor Pro Tempore for two years and held leadership positions in the National League of Cities (NLC) including the Board of Directors and chair of NLC's Community and Economic Development Committee.

As a volunteer, Anne is a member of the Columbia Rotary and served on the board. She also served on the board of directors of 701 Center for Contemporary Art, One Columbia, the Congaree Land Trust and on McKissick Museum’s Advisory Council. In addition, Anne served for two years as the chair of the Lexington Richland Airport Commission. In 2005, she was awarded the Women of Distinction Award from the Congaree Girl Scout Council and has received the TWIN Award. In addition, she is an active member of Washington Street United Methodist Church, serving on the Board of Trustees, the Green Committee and teaching first and second grade Sunday School.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Winthrop University and a Masters Degree from Clemson University. She is married and has three adult sons.