Daughter of the late Sherry and Robert Newton, Chakisse was born in Columbia and spent her childhood between the communities of Eastway Park, Valley Park and Hopkins. With a mother in banking and a father who was a well-known musician, Chakisse learned early on the importance of reinvesting in her community and using her talents and skills to give back. The Newton family has been in Hopkins for over five generations where Mary Newton Lane is named after her great-great-grandmother.

In the Newton family, living in the community means giving to the community. Robert Newton Sr. played a key role in the creation of Hopkins Park. Hattie Newton Fruster, long-time president of the Lower Richland NAACP, was instrumental in the building of Hopkins Elementary. From civil rights organizing to school activism and local politics, Chakisse learned that every day people can make a difference when they get involved.

Chakisse and her husband John Lowry, an Army veteran and local photographer, have been married for 19 years. They are the proud parents of two sons, Max (age 12) and Luke (age 8).

Education and Professional Highlights

Chakisse followed the family tradition of attending Dreher High School and later graduated summa cum laude from Boston University (BU). Her professional life includes a diverse set of business and leadership experience. As an employee, she has worked in high tech, healthcare, and higher education. As a business owner, she is the founder and principal of Cardinal Consulting where she’s worked as a strategist and consultant with non-profits, small and large businesses, and global organizations with billions of dollars in revenue.

She loves all her work and is particularly proud of her role as Assistant Vice President of Marketing for Midlands Technical College where she led the effort to rebrand the college to enhance its image, build a skilled workforce, and expand access to education.

Community Service and Recognition

She is active in the community and serves on the board of the United Way of the Midlands, where she has volunteered for over ten years. Other board service includes South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (current), Richland Library Friends, Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR), the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and others.  She is also recognized as a:

  • Liberty Fellow
  • Aspen Global Leadership Fellow
  • Furman University Riley Diversity Leadership Fellow
  • Leadership Columbia graduate
  • Blueprint for Leadership graduate
  • Recipient of the 2010 President’s Volunteer Service Award
  • 2012 Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Young Leader of the Year Award
  • 2014 Palmetto TWIN Award
  • The State’s 20 Under 40 nominee in 2015.
  • Chakisse was a also a two-time finalist in the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking, out of more than 200,000 contestants from around the world.