Meet the staff and board
The Advocate is managed by a staff of two, with a visionary Board of Trustees serving as its publisher.
Jessica Brodie, Advocate editor
With a career in community journalism and marketing, Jessica J. Brodie took the helm of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate newspaper in 2010. During her tenure, the newspaper has won 123 awards for journalistic excellence in the areas of writing, photography and overall newspaper publication.
Prior to her position at the Advocate, Brodie served as editor of the Crossroads Chronicle in the mountain resort community of Cashiers, North Carolina, building the small weekly paper into a more significant publication with a combination of news, features, investigative reporting, hard-hitting editorials and lighthearted reading. She has a background in nonprofit administration and as a college writing instructor. She was director of marketing and development for The Bascom, a nonprofit visual arts center in Highlands, North Carolina. She also coordinated and taught developmental writing for Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and taught basic writing and literary analysis for freshmen at Florida International University in Miami.
Brodie received a Master of Arts in English with a focus on utopian/dystopian literature from Florida International University in 1999. She graduated magna cum laude in communications/print journalism from FIU in 1996.
The author of thousands of articles, stories and columns, Brodie has won more than 100 awards for writing, design, photography and overall newspaper production from the North Carolina and South Carolina press associations and other groups, including the national interfaith Religion Communicators Council and the United Methodist Association of Communicators.
In addition to serving as the Advocate’s editor, Brodie also writes Christian fiction, blogs about writing and Christianity and is a freelance book editor and writing coach. Her novel won the Genesis Award in contemporary fiction from the American Christian Fiction Writers in 2018. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the South Carolina Writers Association and the North Carolina Writers Network. For the Advocate, she has also authored two 40-day devotionals, More Like Jesus and Feed My Sheep, as well as edited the anthology Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists.
Brodie is a wife and the active mother of four teenage children and stepchildren. Her husband is Matt Brodie, who serves as production coordinator and disaster response coordinator for the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. They are members of Mount Horeb United Methodist Church, Lexington. She enjoys reading, writing, editing, photography, fitness and travel in her spare time.
Allison Trussell, Advocate assistant editor
A native of Columbia, Trussell was hired by the Advocate in April 1997 to serve as assistant editor, reporting and doing copyediting, as well as helping part-time with the communications department. Then, in December 2003, then-editor Karl Davie Burgdorf was called into active duty with the military. As assistant editor, Trussell became acting editor until Burgdorf resigned and a new editor was hired.
Trussell is responsible for Advocate bookkeeping, maintenance of the subscription database, writing and copyediting.
She graduated from Furman University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in English and history. She did some graduate studies in journalism at the University of South Carolina.
She has won a number of writing and photography awards.
A member of Mill Creek UMC, Columbia, she enjoys embroidery, reading and spending time with family and friends in her spare time.
Advocate Board of Trustees (2021-2022):
- Dr. Christopher Greene, chairperson
- Enid Jenkins, vice chairperson
- David Bryant, treasurer
- Creg Smith, secretary
- Linda DuRant
- Rev. Sh’Kur Francis
- Rev. Sharon Spann Gamble
- Rev. Michael Henderson
- Dr. Sheila Elliott Hodge
- Glen Levine
- Rev. Karen Radcliffe
- Rev. Chrisie Reeves-Pendergrass
- Licita Rogers
- Selena Ruth Smith
- Michelle Sturzenbecker
- Ex officio: Dan O’Mara, Rev. Cameron Levi
- Editors emeritus: Maryneal Jones, Willie S. Teague, Allison Askins, Karl F. Davie Burgdorf, Emily L. Cooper