News

10-Year Anniversary Spotlight: Beth Barry

Over the past 10 years, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina has survived as a new non-profit because its founding partners created a clear vision for a non-profit that provides a unique service to community coalitions and to the public health profession. Because of these two important distinctions, ESMMSC has been able to grow as an organization and increase its capacity and services.

Beth Barry, a founding member representing the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and ESMMSC’s  second Board of Directors Chairman, can attest to that. Barry helped establish the vision and mission and was one of the leaders to help sustain the organization in its beginning

This year we celebrate ESMMSC’s 10th Anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that?
Pride. ESMMSC has made so much progress as an organization and in its capacity to effectively advance community-led change and ensure that healthy eating and active living are central to the culture of South Carolina. I am proud of its accomplishments and honored to be associated with this organization.

What was your vision during your service?
I was in a challenging position as board chair as fairly early in my term, when our founding executive director left to take another position. The executive committee and board decided to hire an interim director while we searched for a permanent executive director. We hired Beth Franco shortly before my board chair term was completed. My vision was to sustain our current momentum while searching for someone who could continue to lead the organization forward.

What do you see as ESMMSC’s biggest accomplishments since 2007?
There have been numerous accomplishments, however, I am going to focus on ESMMSC’s organizational development. I think back to the early years of having a staff of one, Amy Splittgerber who worked from home, through the steady addition of high-quality employees, obtaining an official brick and mortar office and being fully staffed. I can’t commend enough the vision, effort and determination of Erika Kirby and Amy in leading the creation and early growth of ESMMSC. Also, critically important to our progress was the excellent guidance and direction provided by Lee Pearson, as the inaugural board chair, and as a most valued mentor during my chairmanship. I was also fortunate to have the highly skilled Eleanor Dunlap as my co-chair and subsequent chair. Board development, more diversified funding and the ability to persevere through challenging economic times have strengthened the organization and its role as a state leader in the promotion of healthy eating and active living.

Where would you like to see ESMMSC in 10 years?
I would like to see the organization have even more opportunities to provide leadership for advocacy, to increase the capacity for community action using evidence-based, best practice strategies, and for partnerships with agencies/organizations who share our mission.

Do you have additional thoughts that you would like to share?
I believe ESMMSC is viewed as an effective organization whose work is genuinely improving the lives of South Carolinians. I also think most people don’t have a true appreciation of the daily determined efforts required of staff, board members, coalition members and others to attain and sustain the current level of success. I commend all who have served in any of these roles.

Founded in 2007, ESMMSC is one of the first non-profit organizations of its kind in South Carolina, focusing on both healthy eating and active living. Its roots date back to 1999 when the South Carolina Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity formed and received nonprofit status in 2000. After changing its name to ESMMSC in 2007, the organization merged with the SC Coalition for Obesity Prevention.