Merritt joins MACST from People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo), a membership-based community organization, located in Buffalo, N.Y. Prior to joining PUSH Buffalo, Merritt worked in the entertainment and tourism industry promoting Atlanta-based organizations such as the Georgia Aquarium, the NETHERWORLD Haunted House and Underground Atlanta.
Merritt holds a Masters in Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs, Mathematics and Education from Syracuse University.
Also joining the MACST team is Renee Williamson. Williamson began her career at Donehue Direct, a political Internet firm with offices in Columbia, S.C. and San Francisco, Ca. While there, Williamson's key responsibilities included copywriting, e-mail marketing, social media and online advertising for Congressional, U.S. Senate and other statewide and local campaigns across six states.
While earning her Masters in Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina, Williamson completed an internship in the public relations department at Palmetto Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization structured to engage community partners to enhance healthcare for patients and families served by Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C.
Williamson also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Erskine College in Due West, S.C. During her time as an undergraduate, Williamson served as editor-in-chief of the college's newspaper, The Mirror.
"Both Shayla and Renee have proven to possess the skills and education needed to be major assets to our organization," said Ric Luber, president and CEO of MACST. "They are strategic thinkers with diverse backgrounds that will be greatly beneficial as we continue to tell the story of the Columbia region."
As the new marketing and communications associates, Merritt and Williamson will work alongside the MACST marketing department and assist in promoting the Columbia region through various marketing, public relations and social media efforts and initiatives.
About the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism:
The Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism is a private, not-for-profit corporation funded primarily by revenue generated by visitors through accommodations taxes and is the parent organization of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, and the Columbia Regional Sports Council. The mission of the Midlands Authority is to strengthen the area's economy by marketing and selling Columbia, its accommodations, restaurants, facilities and attractions as a destination for meetings, conventions, tradeshows, special events and leisure travel. For more information, please visit columbiacvb.com.