Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has announced the promotion of Emma Blackman to general manager of the Zoo’s food and retail division.

Blackman began her career with Denver-based Service Systems Associates (SSA), Riverbanks’ exclusive food and retail partner, in 2013 as a member of the Zoo’s catering department. She was promoted to assistant general manager in 2016, and since that time, Blackman has been instrumental in the day-to-day operations of Riverbanks’ dining and shopping establishments and the Zoo’s events and hospitality division.

“Emma is a natural leader who delivers a unique and progressive approach to guest services,” said Sean McNicholas, president and CEO of Service Systems Associates. “She offers a blend of compassion and skills that make her and her team successful. We are excited for Emma’s continued growth.”

Blackman has nearly a decade of experience in the hospitality industry ranging from catering to operations. She is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina and a graduate of the University of South Carolina.

In addition, Riverbanks Society, the private, nonprofit organization supporting the needs of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden through membership and fundraising, has announced its slate of executive officers for 2017, as well as three new Board members.

Executive officers:

  • President Chris Goodall, Goodall Company
  • Vice-President Derrick L. Williams, Mickle and Bass
  • Secretary Marie McGehee, Colonial Life
  • Treasurer J. Anderson Folsom, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina


New Board members:

  • Sharon W. Bryant, First Citizens
  • Sarah Kirby, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge
  • Stephanie R. Jones, SCANA Corporation


Visit Riverbanks online to view the entire list of 2017 Society Board members.