Midlands leaders become Liberty Fellows, join statewide and global networks

Liberty Fellowship Class of 2023

Four Midlands leaders have completed the requirements to become Liberty Fellows. They now join a diverse and interconnected group of 330 leaders in the Liberty Fellowship South Carolina Network and 3,000 leaders in the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Through the two networks, Fellows will have lifelong opportunities for engagement and access to an influential group of colleagues and mentors.

The new Liberty Fellows from the Midlands are:
• Dominik Mjartan, president & CEO, Optus Bank
• Aparna Polavarapu, associate professor, University of South Carolina School of Law, and executive director and founder, South Carolina Restorative Justice Initiative
• Seema Shrivastava-Patel, chair, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
• Sarah Simmons, founder and CEO, CITY GRIT Hospitality Group

Seema Shrivastava-Patel

The Liberty Fellowship experience brings together a small group of leaders who may not otherwise know or interact with one another into a Class. Each Class is selected to contain a wide range of thought, professions, geographic locations, and lived experiences. Through a rigorous 18-month process, each Class member is challenged to embrace their varying perspectives as they build upon each other’s strengths.

The other members of the Class of 2023 are:
• Amy Barch, executive director and founder, Turn90
• Gary Brewer, South Carolina House of Representatives District 114
• Chase Glenn, executive director, Alliance for Full Acceptance
• Teresa Goodman, executive director, Community Initiatives, Inc.
• John Gordon, president & CEO, Leroy Springs & Company, Inc.
• Shontavia Johnson, associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation, Clemson University
• James Jordon, president, Jordon Construction Company
• Michael Lalich, president and founder, Lowcountry Labor Company
• E. Smyth McKissick, IV, president and CEO, Alice Company
• Brooke Mueller, senior director of government relations and public affairs of mid-atlantic states, Southeast and Puerto Rico, Walmart, Inc.
• Tommy Preston, Jr., global vice president, ethics, The Boeing Company
• Tiffany Roberts, market vice president - clinic operations, CenterWell Senior Primary Care
• Megan Stifel, chief strategy officer, Institute for Security and Technology
• Laura Ullrich, senior regional economist, South Carolina and North Carolina, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
• Rochelle Williams, vice president of strategy and programs, Mary Black Foundation

“South Carolina must have highly effective leadership to navigate the increasing interdependence of businesses, technologies, communities and nations, and we must have collaboration to foster sustainable growth,” said Ann Marie Stieritz, president and CEO of Liberty Fellowship. “These 19 individuals bring unique perspectives, skills and leadership to our state. We are thrilled to welcome them officially as Liberty Fellows to our networks here in South Carolina and across the world.”

“I consider my time in Liberty Fellowship one of most catalytic and transformative experiences of my life. The impact of the Fellowship will undoubtedly last throughout my lifetime because of the relationships formed, the continued leadership development opportunities through the network, and the experience of learning with others how to grow the broad-based prosperity of South Carolinians. The collective power of Liberty Fellows has made me ever more optimistic about the future of South Carolina,” said Dominik Mjartan, president & CEO, Optus Bank.

“My Liberty Fellowship experience was invaluable. The foundational seminar series provided me with a connection to a group of highly-driven and community-focused peers I'd been missing since relocating to South Carolina from New York City,” said Sarah Simmons, founder and CEO, CITY GRIT Hospitality Group.
“The seminars allowed me to tap into the most vulnerable parts of my true self and embrace them instead of hiding from them as I have in the past. This opened up so many pathways in my heart and my head, expanding my critical thinking to a point I didn't even know was possible. I will be forever grateful for this life-changing experience.”

“Being part of Liberty Fellowship has vastly expanded my leadership horizons by providing me with unique opportunities, learning from rich and diverse viewpoints and sharing a common vision to make South Carolina successful both now and in the future,” said Seema Shrivastava-Patel, chair of the South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control. “Generations are counting on Fellows to work together and with other state leaders to solve problems at the state, national and global level. We must see and respect others and find solutions that work for everyone. It is up to us to lead the way toward a prosperous and healthier future for every South Carolinian.”

1. A new class of Liberty Fellows is selected every two years from a pool of more than 400 nominees.
2. Anyone can nominate a Liberty Fellow.
3. To become a Liberty Fellow, each individual selected must complete five seminars in the United States and abroad and an individual impact venture.
4. Of the 330 Liberty Fellows in the South Carolina network, 87% remain in the state.
5. 76% of Liberty Fellows are from the business sector; 12% are from the nonprofit sector; and 12% are from the public sector.

Liberty Fellowship activates individual leaders through a deeper understanding of a just, free and equitable society; serves as a convener for bringing together diverse perspectives to advance civil discourse; and provides infrastructure for taking action. The Fellowship is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, nondogmatic organization which operates as an independent 501c3 organization. Learn more at libertyfellowshipsc.org.

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