Dorothy Bryan-Kanda has been named the executive director of the Hitchcock Woods Foundation following an interim role that included dealing with the devastation of February’s Winter Storm Pax.

“She was hired in a temporary status to help the volunteers get through the damage of the ice storm to prepare for the annual Aiken Horse Show in the Woods and functioned so well that we were delighted to accept her application to take on the full-time position,” wrote Foundation board chair Harry Shealy in a press release.

Shealy added that in her first week, Bryan-Kanda reorganized an annual eventing fundraiser for the Woods at The Willcox into a community-wide opportunity to help with clearing the widespread damage in the Woods. While volunteers couldn’t come in and help for insurance reasons, Shealy said Bryan-Kanda multiplied the donations they received.

“She showed her great value to us from the very start,” Shealy wrote.

Bryan-Kanda is a Statesville, North Carolina, native and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Colorado. She then earned a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.

Following her educational success, Bryan-Kanda was a proposal writer and analyst with McKesson Health Solutions in Broomfield, Colorado. Her related experience also includes work as a project manager at Volunteers of America in Denver, Colorado, and serving as a facilitator in equine assisted psychotherapy with Griffith Centers for Children in Larkspur, Colorado.

Bryan-Kanda and her husband, Jim, found Aiken after friends suggested the area because of her love for horses. They immediately “fell in love” with the town and relocated during Labor Day weekend in 2012.

“Aiken first impressed us with its attractive downtown, but the more we were exposed to the community, the more things we found to love about life here,” said Bryan-Kanda.

She added that her new position will allow her to incorporate all of her professional experience to make the Woods as relevant as possible.

“My intention is that the Woods will be as relevant in the next century as it has been in the past,” she said. “You don’t know Aiken until you know the Woods, because then it will be in your heart.”

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June 2013. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.