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Greenville Business Magazine

Business, Community Leaders Honored at Greenville Chamber's 131st Annual Meeting

Feb 21, 2020 01:35PM ● By David Dykes

The Greenville Chamber held its 131st Annual Meeting on Thursday at the Greenville Convention Center. 

The meeting featured the presentation of annual awards:

 The ATHENA Leadership Award®, sponsored by Hughes Agency, honors individuals who assist women in reaching their leadership potential; demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; and, provide service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community. The 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award® was presented to Deborah McKetty for being a leader for women throughout her career.

 The Buck Mickel Leadership Award, sponsored by Duke Energy, honors those who have had a dramatic impact on the community by playing a leadership role in solving critical community issues, strengthening the community or providing visionary leadership to a major community development project. The 2019 Buck Mickel Leadership Award was awarded to Toby Stansell for his strategic leadership of Chamber initiatives, especially in supporting the Minority Business Accelerator program.

 The 2019 Chairman’s Award, sponsored by Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, was presented to Nancy Whitworth for her service on the Greenville Chamber Board of Directors and her impact on the community during her career. 

The 2019 F. Ben Haskew Collaboration Award, sponsored by Furman University, recognizes Upstate leaders who display progressive visions and a partnership approach to responsible growth in the Upstate. The 2019 award was presented to Greenville County Schools for its collaborative approach to preparing and supporting youth in our region for future success, especially through programming such as the LaunchGVL partnership with the Greenville Chamber.

 The Leadership Greenville Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a Leadership Greenville Alum who has made outstanding civic and community contributions. The 2019 award, sponsored by Prisma Health, was presented to Adela Mendoza, a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 35. In addition to her work increasing access to opportunity for our community’s emerging Hispanic population, Adela also championed the Chamber’s “Reimaging Leadership” initiative to reassess its leadership development portfolio. 

 The Max Heller Neighborhood Improvement Award is given annually to an organization that has shown exemplary efforts toward neighborhood improvement and empowerment. The award is named in honor of former Greenville Mayor Max Heller, who spearheaded numerous efforts over the years to improve the quality of life for all citizens of Greenville County. The 2019 award, sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, was presented to Sans Souci Neighborhood Alliance for its innovative and impactful approach to connecting and enhancing the Sans Souci neighborhood.

The Minority Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Bank of America, is presented to a local, independently and minority-owned company that has been in business for a minimum of three years. The 2019 award was presented to Memoirs Events and Catering, LLC. The minority, woman and veteran-owned company offers full-service boutique catering and event planning services. Co-owners Raygan France and Jackie Saunders are award-winning graduates of the Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator program.

 The 2019 Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, was presented to Kopis. Kopis is a 21-year-old Greenville-founded software development company that helps proactively grow organizations through technological consulting and implementation. They have received local, state and national recognition for their fast growth and operational excellence.

 The Young Professional of the Year Award, sponsored by Michelin North America, is designed to recognize an individual between the ages of 22 and 39 for his or her involvement in the community. The 2019 award was presented to Nalisha Henry, director of community and partner relations at United Way of Greenville County, noting especially her philanthropic engagement, as well as her commitment to supporting the Chamber’s Young Professionals initiative in several leadership capacities.

The Chamber event, presented by TD Bank, featured the Chamber’s reflection of 2019 successes, vision for the year ahead and a recognition of leaders in the region.

Greenville Chamber President/CEO Carlos Phillips shared the Chamber’s plans for 2020, including an emphasis on building an enriched leadership development portfolio, a renewed focus on growing the business community through the Accelerate initiative, making it easier to do business with the Chamber, and playing an active role in improving our community’s infrastructure.

The Greenville Chamber, now in its 132nd year of operation, is the largest business organization in the Upstate, with more than 2100 Investors supporting the vision of a globally competitive Upstate economy. For information, go to