Spotlight on Heather Paton, SIPOA Executive Director

Although Seabrook Island is only a little over 7 square miles, it’s a pretty big enterprise. Consider that there are more than 2,600 properties on the island traversed by countless roads and bridges, surrounded by numerous marshes and lakes. Add amenities like swimming pools, a fitness center, and meeting rooms. Weather, although normally quite beautiful, can be a little dicey on occasion, posing its own problems. Managing all of this can be quite daunting. Since 2014, all has been handled with aplomb by Heather Paton, Executive Director of the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association.

Heather knew from her first visit in 1994 that Seabrook Island was for her. She was first hired in 2006 to work with the Architectural Review Committee and quickly became an integral part of the management of Seabrook Island. Her credentials are impeccable. She has extensive academic work in leadership and planning and has been involved in community and municipal planning organizations for many years. She is Vice President of the SC Chapter of the Community Associations Institute and is on the boards of the Foundation for Community Association Research and the Community Managers International Association.

This past year, Heather was presented an Environmental Stewardship Award by the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program for her work here on Seabrook Island.

Heather lives on Johns Island and has two grown children who are both musicians. Her son and his family live in Norway and she occasionally gets to visit with her two grandchildren there. (Rumor has it that, even when she is visiting them, she is still always working.) She also has a daughter and son-in-law in Cape Cod who have two girls.

Certainly no job of this scope is without its challenges, but Heather continues to guide the island with a steady hand and still feels like she did when she first saw it. Heather sometimes has occasion to bring colleagues from other community organizations to Seabrook Island and is inspired by the look of awe on their faces when they enter. She is regularly reminded that this is a magical place.

-Rich Siegel, Tidelines Writer

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