Annie moved to Aiken from Chester Co, Pennsylvania, with her family in the 1980s. Growing up, Annie and her sisters enjoyed riding in Hitchcock Woods and going to local schooling shows. Annie is the daughter of Jeannie and Steve Groat, who were the founders of the Aiken Bluegrass Festival, which was established as a fundraiser for STAR Riding, now known as Great Oak. Annie graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Psychology. After graduating, she fulfilled her childhood dream of moving to New York City where she started her career in educational fundraising and met her now husband Brian Roach. In 2012, Annie’s career moved the family (Brian and their daughters Grace and Julia) to Kensington, Maryland, where she is the Director of Institutional Advancement at Green Acres School. In the summer of 2020, the Groat-Roaches spent several weeks in Aiken so that Julia could experience the benefits of Great Oak’s program. Riding and volunteering at Great Oak became the highlight of a challenging year for Julia, and, for Annie seeing Julia thrive in her Great Oak experience. Due to Julia’s love for GO, as well as the Groat family connection to Great Oak, Annie is honored to have been asked to join the Great Oak Board of Directors and is hopeful that her 20 years of fundraising experience will be of benefit to this amazing organization!

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