November 29, 2021
Beth JoJack / Brent Baldwin / Courtney Mabeus / Kate Andrews / Katherine Schulte / Robyn Sidersky
They are Virginians who nurture and delight us, nourishing body and soul through the arts and entertainment, media, food, hospitality and tourism.
Opinion Columnist, The New York Times
Growing up in Virginia Beach, Jamelle Bouie never dreamed of being the next Carl Bernstein. “I got there really late,” says Bouie, who writes about politics, history and culture for the New York Times opinion pages. About a year after graduating from Bouie in 2009 at the University of Virginia, he was considering applying to law school, but instead won a scholarship to The American Prospect magazine, launching his career as a journalist. Bouie continued to cover politics for The Daily Beast and Slate before joining The Times in 2019. For fun, Bouie also reviews cereal for the gourmet website Serious Eats, but is quick to point out that the Lucky Charms are not a mainstay of his diet. “It’s really exclusively for these fun little videos,” he says.
Director of Programming and General Manager of Consumer Programming, PBS
The pandemic underscored the importance of being able to adapt to current circumstances, as PBS – and everyone else – faced COVID-19 and other challenges, including widespread racial reckoning and cultural shifts, said Sylvia Bugg. With a lot of people stranded at home, the network has pulled tapes from its archives and produced new content to “help our audience through these tough times,” Bugg said. A native of Virginia who enjoys traveling and reading, Bugg was promoted to her current role in October 2020, after returning to PBS as vice president of mainstream programming last February. The Old Dominion University alumnus was previously the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s vice president for diversity and television content, as well as programming for Discovery Communications.
Musician and luthier
Wayne Henderson began making guitars and other instruments as a child in Southwest Virginia out of necessity. Now he’s made over 800, some of which have been played by guitar royalty, including Eric Clapton, who requested it a year ago. Henderson worked as a postman for
He performed for 37 years at Carnegie Hall, was named a member of the National Endowment of Arts, and his audience included President Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II. An annual music festival in Grayson County named after him collects scholarships, and the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts in Marion offers a guitar-making workshop, a class that Henderson could have benefited from: ” My boy, I wish something I went there when I was a kid.
Chef and Co-Owner, Ruby Scoops Ice Cream & Sweets
Rabia Kamara made ice cream with brownies, salted caramel and blondies to win Ben & Jerry’s “Clash of the Cones,” a contest aired on Food Network in September. It’s a mix that she says reflects the racial diversity of her own family. The Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus pursues the dream of building an empire of frozen desserts. She started Ruby Scoops as a pop-up ice cream shop six years ago and opened a brick and mortar parlor in the north side of Richmond in October 2020. Kamara opened Suzy Sno, a store offering “Snowballs” in New Orleans in November, and plans to have a truck or trailer in 2022. In five years, she hopes to have at least three storefronts. Back from Maryland, Virginia, Kamara says, “Richmond supports black-owned businesses. “
Host, “The Cathy Lewis Show”
In May, Cathy Lewis left “HearSay,” the daily talk show she hosted for 25 years on the WHRO FM public radio station in Hampton Roads. The pandemic gave her time to reflect and she decided it was time to make room for new voices on the air. In January, she will launch “The Cathy Lewis Show,” a weekly subscription podcast, after a few months of delay. Former WAVY-TV presenter and reporter Lewis says she hopes the show will help people connect and discuss the political issues that have caused deep divisions. “I hope to connect people who care deeply about these issues so that we can create a small community that might be able to evaluate ideas or assess opportunities. She is also a Community Liaison Officer for Old Dominion University.
Director and Chief Curator, Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia
At the University of Virginia Art Museum, days are not alike, director Matthew McLendon will tell you. One afternoon he will deliver a speech; the next day he will take a key supporter to lunch. The variety, he says, “really keeps me on my toes and keeps me energized and motivated. Almost five years have passed since the former student of Florida State University and the University of London arrived in Charlottesville from Florida, where he worked as a curator of modern art and contemporary at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, but he still feels a thrill walking through the exhibits. “When I see people in galleries, especially young people, it reminds me of how lucky I am to have this job,” he says.
Chief Information Officer, VPM
Elliott Robinson joined Richmond-based VPM, central Virginia’s NPR and PBS subsidiary, in September. A native of Hampton and an alumnus of Christopher Newport University, Robinson was previously the editor of the nonprofit journalism site Charlottesville Tomorrow. Robinson sees his role on VPM’s television, radio and digital platform as a “filling in the gap” left by the dwindling number of journalists and editors in today’s media landscape. “The pandemic has made people appreciate the news even more,” he says. “People really appreciate stories that take a step back and see what things mean.” In early 2022, he will oversee the launch of “VPM News Focal Point”, a weekly regional news program. In his spare time, Robinson travels and writes fiction. He also looks after his 15-year-old dog, Missy, and is a board member of Virginia’s Society of Professional Journalists.
Country Music Cradle Museum
Known as the ‘Big Bang’ of country music, the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings featuring the Carter family and Jimmie Rodgers put the Twin Cities on the map and launched a new art form. As Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, which opened in 2014, Leah Ross is the custodian of this historic legacy. Ross, whose first concert was Three Dog Night, became executive director of the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion music festival in 2006, which merged with the museum in 2012. The festival and museum attract tens of thousands of visitors each year. in Bristol. The barricaded windows turned into restaurants, women’s clothing stores, boutique hotels and comedy clubs. “You can come to Bristol city center anytime, any day of the week or night and it’s crowded everywhere,” says Ross.
CEO and Director, Virginia Museum
Gary Ryan joined Virginia MOCA three years ago as an executive director and was promoted to CEO in April, a move she compares to winning the lottery. In April 2022, the museum will open an exhibition featuring the works of Maya Lin, the architect and artist best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC titled “Maya Lin: A Study of Water,” the solo exhibition will focus on the artist’s representation of water – also highlighting a current local issue. “The works of art on display will provide thematic connections to the intricate beauty and challenges of the waterways of Hampton Roads,” said Ryan, who previously held executive positions at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York and the Metropolitan Opera. .
General Manager, Omni Homestead Resort
After 20 years at the helm of the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa in Georgia, Mark Spadoni moved to Bath County in April to take on the role of General Manager of the Omni Homestead Resort, just as the historic resort of 1766 embarks on a vast restoration of 120 million dollars. Spadoni enjoyed his first summer in the Allegheny Mountains, noting his appreciation of the clean Hot Springs air and his dedication to Southern hospitality. “From a perspective of being able to be at an iconic property like this, especially with all the repeat customers and generations of family members who have come to visit here, it was pretty exciting,” he says. “Obviously our goal is for the property to be there for the next hundred years. “
Director of Operations, TopGolf
Cliff Twiggs cites his 3-year-old dreadlocks as an example of the Dallas-based TopGolf care culture for employees: “In the past, I never did anything like this, but… once I joined TopGolf , I started to see how this business has supported you being who you are. The sports entertainment company, which employs approximately 1,300 people at its three locations in Virginia, values ”fun, excellence, daring, a team and caring,” he says.
In addition to guiding the opening of the Henrico location in September 2019 and the pandemic reopening of June 2020, Twiggs chairs TopGolf’s Black Associate Network Group, which supports the recruitment, advancement and retention of black employees. . TopGolf recently rewarded its leadership with a trip
to the Ohio Professional Football Hall of Fame.
Editor-in-Chief, Cardinal News
Dwayne Yancey could have retired from journalism, having worked for nearly 40 years as an award-winning reporter at the Roanoke Times before stepping down as editorial page editor this year. Instead, in September, he launched Cardinal News, a nonprofit digital news service covering southwest and southern Virginia. “We’re finally at the journalism part,” he laughs. “Starting the project was educational”, especially in finding sources of funding. Yancey leads a team of two full-time journalists and a few freelance editors and also oversees a weekday newsletter. With fewer reporters covering the region – which is part of a national trend – “we see ourselves as filling a void,” says Yancey, who is also a playwright and will be presenting shows in Toronto and the UK in the coming years. month.