Kathy Andrews has been named executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, effective August 1, 2021. She replaces Lou Zeller, who retired after 35 years of service. Mr. Zeller will remain with BREDL as a volunteer strategic adviser.
Andrews has a wide-ranging nonprofit and communications background in Washington, D.C. and South Carolina.
After graduation from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a major in psychology and broadcast production, she began an extensive career in journalism. She very much believes in using media to communicate. As the first Hilton Head Island bureau chief for South Carolina ETV (PBS), she interviewed developers and native islanders on the plight of native islanders to keep their land in the face of rising property taxes. Andrews went on to work as the host of a national news show on Black Entertainment TV interviewing personalities like the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and actor Sidney Poitier. She covered behind- the-scenes movie productions across the country like John Grisham's "A Time to Kill", and covered the red carpet at the Academy Awards, Grammys, and Kennedy Center Honors. Kathy was also a senior producer for America's Voices, a conservative political network, and a reporter for WJLA-TV (ABC) in Washington, D.C.
After a career in journalism, Andrews began managing communications for the United Negro College Fund in Washington, D.C., one of the nation's top nonprofit organizations. At UNCF, she worked with companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett Packard, and General Electric to raise funds for UNCF.
It was after her return to South Carolina that Andrews began her journey as a victim advocate and social activist realizing that justice for all is a long and enduring struggle. Andrews served with nonprofits as an advocate for sexual assault victims working with law enforcement and medical professionals to bring about changes in domestic violence, sexual assault, and the rights of abused women and men.
Andrews' experience includes working as the director of publications and marketing at Francis Marion University, handling communications for the nonprofit Pee Dee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Assault in Florence, South Carolina, as well as the sexual assault services coordinator for Rape Crisis Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Andrews says social and environmental activism runs in her blood. As a child of the Deep South, she witnessed injustice and understands the power of a grassroots organization like BREDL.
With a deep concern for the environment and social justice, and an extensive background in television and marketing, Kathy believes becoming executive director of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League is a natural culmination of a lifetime of experiences in communications, social justice and environmental activism. Andrews worked with South Carolina conservation organizations to stop a coal plant from coming to rural Florence County. She has also worked with Wildlife Watch and speaks at national conferences on the problems of animal abuse.
One of her greatest accomplishments was working with conservation organizations to prevent a coal plant in Pamplico, South Carolina. She is continuing her fight for environmental and social justice with BREDL by fighting everything from a pipeline proposed through heirs' property in Florence County, South Carolina, to exposing a working coal plant in a black community at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the ultimate battle against climate change.
An avid outdoorswoman, Kathy is also a wildlife activist working with lawmakers and organizations to prevent abuses against wildlife and rural property owners. She was instrumental in getting the renegade hunter act, which protects landowners, against trespassing hunters passed in South Carolina.
When not working with BREDL on environmental and social causes, Andrews is a world traveler, having visited China, Spain, Latin America, and beyond.