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This month, Monthly puts a spotlight on local men who make a difference. From business, medicine, real estate, dining and development, these profiles showcase their success stories. The men discuss their background, motivation, and the distinct approaches they’ve taken to thrive. Their influence is valued and has made a positive impact in our communities. They are the leading men of the Lowcountry. 

1. HILTON HEAD REGIONAL HEALTHCARE NAMES NEW MARKET CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER 

Joel Taylor has been named Market Chief Executive Officer at Hilton Head Regional Healthcare. He assumed his role effective Sept. 30. Taylor will be responsible for overseeing all strategic, operational and clinical activities for the system. Taylor joined Hilton Head Regional Healthcare in 2016 and has been with the system’s parent company, Tenet Healthcare, for 10 years.

VICTORIA SMALLS LEADS GULLAH GEECHEE CULTURAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR COMMISSION

“I’m so proud to be Gullah Geechee,” beams Victoria Smalls, newly appointed executive director of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.

Established as a National Heritage Area in 2006 by the U.S. Congress, the Corridor recognizes and preserves the cultural treasures of the Gullah Geechee people, direct descendants of enslaved individuals brought to work on plantations. 

THE WORK OF DAVID RANDALL COMES ALIVE IN VIBRANT COLORS

Simultaneously representational and impressionistic, David Randall’s artwork comes alive with swaths of vibrant colors that converge, merge and blend to form quintessential Lowcountry natural elements like Spanish moss-clad live oak trees.

“Live oak trees are awesome,” Randall said. “As are other trees like palmetto trees and palm trees. People have responded to trees for centuries, maybe even a millennia.” 

PROVIDENCE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH EMERGES STRONGER DURING PANDEMIC

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world anything, it is how to think outside of the box. Providence Presbyterian Church is one of many churches that have done that successfully.

In March 2020, the Hilton Head Island church closed its sanctuary and began livestreaming its services. Three months later the church reopened its in-person service with a maximum of 75 worshippers, continued to stream the service online and added an outdoor service in the church’s shaded fellowship park. Church members met on Zoom for Bible studies.

1. ROTARY CLUB OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND NAMES NEW PRESIDENT

Mary Briggs has assumed the role of President of the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island. She has been a member of the Club since 2001, an officer of the Board since 2018 and has chaired numerous committees. Briggs has served as a school principal and assistant superintendent of schools for the Beaufort Country School District and as the president and CEO of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra since she moved to the area in 1997. She currently serves as Vice President of the Lean Ensemble Theater Board of Directors.

ARTIST ALEX GENTEMANN PAINTS THE COLORS OF MUSIC

For Alex Gentemann, a Hilton Head native and recent graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, sound is not merely heard — it is also seen.  And in an array of colors that correspond to the tonality of the sound.

“I see dark colors for the base notes, mid-range colors for the mid-tones, and for high notes like the sopranos, I practically see white,” Gentemann said.

ARTIST DEBBY BLOOM THRIVES ON POSITIVITY AND OPTIMISM 

Artist Debby Bloom is a woman who has learned to say “yes” when challenged. 

Whether it’s painting new subjects or moving across the country during a pandemic to open her first studio/ gallery in Palmetto Dunes Resort, she relies on creativity and optimism to guide her. 

It’s a process she’s been fine-tuning since childhood.

KEN FAGUT IS ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD

There’s a rite of passage each of us encounters in our lives, and for some reason we usually encounter this seminal moment at the age of 13. It’s when we discover the one thing we love; the one passion that will dictate every moment from then on out.

For Ken Fagut, that rite of passage came the first time he mounted his bicycle, started pedaling, and didn’t stop until he’d put 100 miles of road beneath his wheels.