Chairman & President
As the Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Southern Education Group, the parent company of Columbia Southern University (CSU) and Waldorf University, Mr. Robert Mayes provides strategy and leadership support to the institutions and is responsible for governmental affairs. Mr. Mayes has more than 25 years of experience in distance education. Mr. Mayes co-founded Columbia Southern University, an online university headquartered in Orange Beach, Alabama, along with his parents and sister, Chantell Mayes Cooley, in 1993. He transitioned to the role of president of CSU in 2005 and served until May 2018. In his role as president of CSU, Mr. Mayes worked closely with leadership to accomplish the goals, objectives, and strategies of the university. During this time, the University grew from 7000 students to 30,000. He was awarded the title of president emeritus on May 1, 2018, for his contributions and impact on the University. Mr. Mayes also led the acquisition of Waldorf University (previously Waldorf College) in Forest City, Iowa, in 2010, a task that included achieving approvals from the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission. During his time at CSU, Mr. Mayes had direct experience in many areas of online university operations, including key roles in accounting, finance, information technology, online course design, outcomes assessment, the development of policies and procedures, accreditation, and more. Mr. Mayes serves as a Member of the National Advisory Committee for Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which reviews and advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on the recognition of accrediting agencies. He is chairman of the board of directors for South Baldwin Christian Academy. He serves as a board member of the Business Council of Alabama. He served eight years on the board of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission board of directors and served on its executive, finance, and nominating committees. In 2017, Mr. Mayes was awarded the Distance Education Accrediting Commission’s Distinguished Service Award and was a Boy Scouts of America Golden Eagle Honoree. In 2019, he was named the Distance Education Accrediting Commission’s Person of the Year.
Phillip L. Anthony, CPA is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting (Beta Alpha Psi) in July, 1994 and became a Certified Public Accountant in May 1997. Mr. Anthony became a partner with Anthony Financial Group, CPAs – Mobile / Gulf Shores in 1998. Mr. Anthony served as CFO and member of Executive Board of Management at A.B. Dick Southeastern, Inc. until 2003. Mr. Anthony now serves as Administrative Pastor at Christian Life Church in Orange Beach, AL, while continuing in a consulting role with Anthony Financial Group, CPAs. Mr. Anthony previously served on the Executive Board of Directors of the YMCA of Metro Mobile and on the Board of Directors of Calvary Christian Learning Center. Mr. Anthony married Jenny in April 2004 and they have two sons, Ben and Will as well as a daughter Claire.
Joanna Mayes is a key visionary behind SBCA. She has served on the Board of Directors since its inception and has helped guide the school forward. She is a Christian writer and blogger with a passion for reaching the lost and hurting. She is the founder of the www.ChristianFreedom.Life, a resource offering Christian resources and encouragement to help believers grow deeper in their faith. Additionally, Joanna serves on the Board of Directors of Inner Cry Ministries and is involved in leadership of their women’s ministry. She also established the Healing House, a Christian retreat and ministry house used by Inner Cry in Downtown Foley. She resides on the Gulf Coast of Alabama with her husband and three children. Her oldest two children graduated from SBCA in 2016 and 2020 respectively and her youngest child is a current student.
Mrs. Mayes is a co-founder of Columbia Southern University (CSU) and serves in an executive advisory capacity at Columbia Southern Education Group. Mrs. Mayes has also been with CSU since its founding, is on the Board of Directors, and follows strict ethical standards. Before CSU, Minnie co-founded a safety consulting company that provided training and services to small businesses nationwide. Mrs. Mayes has much knowledge about CSU through her long tenure as a board member and numerous work and advisory experiences in all aspects of distance study for more than 20 years.