Hilton Head Island communications director Carolyn Grant

Carolyn Grant has been communicators for the town of Hilton Head Island for five years. Grant is also the co-Author of Gullah Days: Hilton Head Islanders Before the Bridge, 1861-1956. She answers questions from Monthly about changes in the town and her favorite books.

  1. HHI has changed so much over the past decade. How has that affected the work you do? When I grew up here and left to go to school, the population was around 6-7,000. Now it’s close to 40,000. The population, neighborhood, demographics have all changed as people are looking for places to stay, build homes, build businesses. With growth comes change.

  2. How have social media and digital communications impacted the city’s ability to get information in the right hands? When we were writing the book, we talked about how people learned what was happening in different communities and how information just somehow traveled. The way and how people communicate has changed significantly. Even for those who still rely on legacy media like news reports, newspapers, the mediums have had to change and adapt to how people consume information. Newspapers can’t rely on printed copy, they’ve got to shift to digital formats and delivery, which makes everything more rapid and instant. 

  3. What books are you reading? The books by my bed are: “The Tony Evans Study Bible,” Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” “The Williamston Freedom Movement, A North Carolina Town’s Struggle for Civil Rights,” and “Gullah Days.”

  4. Any pieces of your personal life that tell us something unique about your story? My parents owned Abe’s Native Shrimp House Restaurant where my sisters and brothers and I grew up as servers. I wasn’t a fan of serving so I gravitated to the kitchen, where I cultivated a love for cooking and prepping meals. We are no longer in the restaurant business, but I still like to make sure all the food I prepare and serve for family and friends is well-presented on the plate.  

  5. Your contribution to the community extends far beyond public service. Where else do you serve? I volunteer and sit on the board of several organizations, including my church, Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist, as well as the Ella C. White Memorial Scholarship Fund, Walk for Dom, Hargray Caring Coins Board of Directors, and the Palmetto Electric Cooperative Board of Directors.