Impressive Voices



We live in superficial times. It’s easy to overlook the voices of experts amidst today’s constant flurry of tweets, memes and sound bites — muddying the public discourse 280 characters at a time. Two years ago, James Lamar set out to do something about that.

“It’s been my experience that, with the 24-hour news cycle and social media, people are formulating opinions based on very limited, very filtered, information,” he said. “My thought was to create a live experience, a live forum, where people can see and hear directly from the expert.”

speakersThe idea for that forum has evolved into the Lowcountry Speaker Series, four events to be held from January to April and boasting a superstar lineup of luminaries. Each speaker brings to the table a different perspective as well as a deep well of knowledge in their field, starting with the first guest: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“Dr. Rice is an amazing presenter,” Lamar said. “She’s obviously, extremely knowledgeable on world affairs, but she also has an interesting story, growing up in Birmingham during the civil rights movement, being the first woman inducted into August National, sitting on the College Football Playoff selection committee … she can talk about anything. She’s just interesting to listen to.”

Rice’s Jan. 14 appearance will be followed Feb. 11 by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. While best known as the chief medical correspondent for CNN, Gupta has built a successful career as a physician, treating the sick and injured in war zones like Afghanistan and the sites of natural disasters. On March 10, world-renowned filmmaker Paul Nicklen will take the stage — his documentaries and photos have raised awareness of the dire need for environmental conservation. The final speaker will be Rob O’Neill on April 7. O’Neill, a decorated military hero, was a member of U.S. SEAL Team Six and is best known as the man who killed Osama bin Laden.

Lamar is looking forward to bringing such diverse viewpoints to the Lowcountry.

“I’m always thirsty for knowledge, and I want to share that with a broader audience,” he said. “Trying to bring these types of people to the Lowcountry is very exciting.”

Each lecture will be held at the Marriott Hilton Head Resort & Spa; tickets are sold as a subscription to all four lectures. For more information, go to