Columbia resident Celeste Ryan Blyden was promoted to vice president for strategic communication and public relations at the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists recently.

Blyden previously served as assistant to the president of the union, the church’s Mid-Atlantic headquarters, also located in Columbia.

“We appreciate the contributions you have made to the mission of the church here in the Columbia Union. We applaud your dedication and service,” said Dave Weigley, union president, following the unanimous board vote of Blyden’s appointment.

“It was one of those decisions where you could catch and feel the electricity in the room. It was time to do this. This is the right thing to do. It is the first time, to my knowledge, that the Columbia Union has had a woman vice president,” he said as the room exploded with a standing ovation.

In addition to her new duties, she will continue to lead the communication department and serve as publisher of the union’s monthly news magazine, the Visitor. During her tenure, Blyden and her team grew the Visitor brand to include a weekly email newsletter, videos, websites, the popular annual calendar, social media and other platforms.

Blyden has a Bachelor of Science in Communication and Counseling Psychology from Washington Adventist University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Communication from Bowie State University.

She lives in Columbia with her husband, Austin, and two daughters.