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Greenville Business Magazine

Greenville Best and Brightest

Sep 12, 2022 05:28PM ● By David Dykes

Welcome to Greenville Business Magazine’s 2022 Best & Brightest 35 and Under! This is our 28th year of recognizing the business and community leaders who are making an impact in our state.

These men and women are young, but they’re committed to making a difference in their communities and the business world. They are attorneys, medical professionals, architects, CEOs, nonprofit leaders, artists, bankers, and more.

We salute these young leaders, and we look forward to seeing the contributions they will make in the years to come. Each person is unique, and it is our privilege to tell their stories.

We will be celebrating these honorees at an event in Greenville during the month of September. Congratulations to all!

 






Debbra Alvarado - age 30

Programs and Network Manager 

Hispanic Alliance 

As the programs and network manager of the Hispanic Alliance, I focus on facilitating and leading the organization’s network and community teams as well as keeping the organization running smoothly. My goal is to build a collaborative partnership to help thriving communities grow.

With over a decade of experience managing sales teams and working with customers, I have learned to cultivate a strong voice and analytical skills to solve problems and keep projects and meetings advancing. I make sure that the Hispanic Alliance’s Network, which has nearly 4,000 members, finds ways to stay engaged in our organization and serves our community in the Upstate of South Carolina. Throughout the year, the Community Teams develop programs to identify the gaps between needs and resources, avoid duplication of services and build a collective capacity to serve the community.

Born in Puerto Rico, I have lived on mainland U.S. for 14 years, completing a B.A. in Communications at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill.

I first read this quote in 2017. I printed it out and put it on the board at my desk to hold myself accountable to always prioritize serving my community and doing my part to make Greenville a better place for everyone.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

My definition of a successful leader is someone that has a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished and can pour trust into people in order for them to follow the lead. A successful leader has the ability to listen to others, make changes and adapt in order to make positive change. Someone that is compassionate and believes each individual can bring a unique perspective.

 






Brianna Berry - age 27

Supervisor, Talent Acquisition and University Engagement 

TD SYNNEX

I am the supervisor of talent acquisition and university engagement at TD SYNNEX. Over the last three years, my goal has been to build an effective university strategy with the completion of my M.Ed. In 2021, this area has seen a remarkable increase in the recruitment and retention of early talent, with a specific focus in DEI initiatives. Those initiatives led to my position as the recruiting chair for the Black employee resource group, Beacon, whose focus is in ensuring that hiring practices at TD SYNNEX are equitable and inclusive.

Outside of work, I serve on the board of directors for a local nonprofit known as GirlUp GVL which partners with middle- and high-school girls to enrich their lives with positive, formative experiences that replace obstacles with opportunities. Through the pillars of enrichment, empowerment, and experience, they participate in a weekly summer program designed to give the girls a place to connect, grow, learn, and flourish with their peers and mentors, to build their confidence and affirm their worth and value.

I have a deep love for building, creating, and being part of a community. I believe that true community is choosing to see and acknowledge the people around you in a way that is intentional, engaging and empowering. Ultimately, we are stronger together.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

I believe that in the face of injustice, change is within arms’ reach, if we will only choose to become aware.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

I believe an effective leader is someone who leads by action, in humility. A good leader is one who can step up to drive a vision forward, while never losing sight of other great ideas in the room. Leadership is learning how to see failure as a valuable asset, as it directs us to finding our sense of purpose-- the very thing that makes us passionate, courageous and legendary.

 






Crystal Brown - age 35

Executive Communications Manager

Cisco 

I am an executive communications manager with Cisco, leading the day-to-day communications program for the senior vice president of America’s Service Provider. I am remote based in Greenville and have lived here since 2014.

Previously, I was with Amazon for two years as a global internal communications manager for their Worldwide Customer Service. Prior to that, I worked at 3D Systems in an internal communications management role. And I spent a decade at Fluor, progressing from intern to manager.

I started volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of South Carolina in 2018. I was inspired to give more to this community for my sibling who was born with CF. Today, I serve on the board as the advocacy chair for the South Carolina chapter. 

Passionate about supporting women, I am also a dedicated mentor, and I have written nationally published articles that elevate the conversation around inclusivity and representation for women in the workplace. Additionally, in 2021, I served as vice president of communications on the board for the PRSA South Carolina chapter.

Outside of work, my husband, Brad, and I have two children who both aspire to be a dragon or the next American Ninja Warrior.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“We are all out here just trying to survive.” From my kindergartner. Children have a wonderful ability to bring levity and perspective, especially on those days when life gets hectic.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

You have more time than you think. While I believe it is important to recognize when you are at capacity, I believe it is equally important to recognize when you have more to give and learn.

 






Catie Buckingham - AGE 35 

Upstate Medical Legal Partnership Director

Furman University

I am a member of Furman University’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health and the director of the Upstate Medical Legal Partnership (MLP).

When not saying that very long sentence, I can be found listening to ‘90s boy bands while working to improve the processes and systems of the Upstate Medical Legal Partnership so my team and clients can thrive.

With a bachelor’s Degree in social work from Winthrop University, I work to ensure every person who engages with the MLP walks away having experienced unconditional empathy and radical competence. As a Bloomberg Fellow and MPH Candidate at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, I study ways to understand the impacts of the social environment on health and justice equity.

I am determined to cut through red tape with a pair of oversized, sparkly scissors, and reconstruct public health systems to be more effective in removing barriers for marginalized populations.

In my spare time, I send “Arrested Development” memes to my siblings, smooch my daughter’s adorable cheeks, and play nerdy board games with my husband, while occasionally yelling at my dogs to please get out of the trash.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is someone who can connect personally with people. Amassing a cadre of followers shouldn’t be the goal of leadership. Small, positive, person-to-person impacts are the true mark of a great leader.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Do the thing. Take the chance. Take up space. The world is much bigger than what your heart and mind currently understand.

 






Anthony Colancecco - AGE 34 

Wealth Adviser and COO

Ballentine Capital Advisors

I am grateful to call Greenville home! I am originally from Philadelphia and moved here to pursue a career in financial planning with Ballentine Capital Advisors. As a certified financial planner and Chartered Retirement Planning counselor, my passion is to guide my clients through the myriad decisions and issues they face regarding their financial future. There is nothing better than helping clients achieve financial peace of mind and freedom.

I am the host of a podcast called “Connected by Community.” It has been an incredible experience to learn so many things about our wonderful community. The goal of the podcast is to connect small businesses, nonprofits, personal endeavors, and hobbies for the betterment of the community.

My wife Jaclyn and I live in Greer. We have two wonderful daughters, Vienna and Selena. I enjoy spending time with them and playing golf. I’m also a member of Knights of Columbus Council 10819 and Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce. Of course, I still root for Philadelphia sports teams! Go Eagles!

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is an influencer who can inspire, motivate and get the best out of their team. A leader’s primary responsibility is to lead, and the foundation for great leadership is trust.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Embrace the Journey! Realize and accept that you’re not perfect and you’re going to make mistakes along the way – and that’s OK.

 






Chandler Cox - AGE 31

Project Manager

Hughes Development Corporation 

I have always enjoyed architecture, design and city planning, and seeing how the built environment impacts our everyday lives. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University, I stayed to pursue my Master of Real Estate Development and joined Hughes Development Corporation as a project manager. I have been fortunate to work on the BullStreet District, a 181-acre redevelopment project in downtown Columbia, SC, for the past eight years. I love the challenge and creativity of helping to create a new downtown neighborhood and the fact that every day is a little different! Being able to play a small role in places that so many people enjoy is incredibly fulfilling.

Outside of the office, I serve as the chairperson for the Upstate South Carolina Urban Land Institute and on the executive committees for the Clemson University Advancement Board for real estate development and the March of Dimes Real Estate & Economic Development Award.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

I love this reminder that sharing our passions and talents with others enriches our lives and betters the world around us.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

To me, a successful leader is someone who lifts up those around them to encourage and enable them to be the best they can be. I have been fortunate to know many leaders and mentors who have been incredibly influential in my life, and hope to do the same for others.

 






TJ Deluccia - AGE 34

Chief Operating Officer

Engenius

I am the chief operating officer at Engenius, where I oversee all daily operations and responsibilities of production, accounts, and leadership teams. Having had the opportunity to have worked on blue-chip brands early in my career, to really helping the small business community thrive in Greenville, I realize that no matter the size of the company, the bar is and should be the same. 

In the community, I support many local charities like Rebuild Upstate, the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and other nonprofits by leading Engenius’ long-running Website Grant Program and by personally volunteering outside of work. I am deeply committed to and actively working to make Greenville a better place to live. The Upstate is where I was raised and where I plan on raising my two young children with my wonderful wife. It has been a great stretch for Greenville business, and I hope to be a part of continuing that trend.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“We can do hard things.” 

This is a quote I use all the time with my kids. I think people give themselves a cop-out when things are difficult to find the path of least resistance. Most growth and sense of achievement comes through dealing with adversity and learning how to respond to it better the next time it presents itself.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Define what your personal values are, prioritize those values, and then you will have a roadmap to what you want your life to revolve around. Dream big, map out the steps to get there, but know that the path will change and flex. If you have those guiding values, you can make sure whatever the dream morphs into, that you are still true to what you are trying to accomplish with your life.

 






Lindsay Dorrity - AGE 34

Project Manager 

Sulzer 

I am a proud native of Greenville and 12-year corporate professional. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from North Greenville University, my career began in 2010 supporting projects in Fluor’s Government Group. My positions in project management have broadened my knowledge in the technical, financial, and execution aspects of projects.

In my current role as project manager at Sulzer, I focus on clear and transparent communication with our customers to develop long-term business relationships and foster future opportunities to meet their needs. This year, I was able to achieve my greatest accomplishment of completing my PMP certification. My long-term goal is to implement what I have learned in my career to help influence and improve future company and strategic initiatives.

In giving back to my community, I serve as a board member of the Greenville Young Republicans. The future of Greenville is the responsibility of my generation, and local government involvement is the basis for change in our state. I am a former member of Brushy Creek Baptist Young Professionals and meet regularly with my lady prayer group for encouragement and spiritual growth. In my free time, you will find me walking the Swamp Rabbit trail or perfecting my poses in the occasional yoga class.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people” – Colossians 3:23

This verse is meaningful to me because my faith is what guides me in both the workplace and my daily life.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

Adhering to a philosophy that a good leader leads by example, showing respect to colleagues, and supporting the development of the people working for you is essential to good leadership. Because you’re only as successful as the people that make up your team.

 






Doug Erwin - AGE 34

Vice Chairman and Chief Brand Officer

Greenville Triumph Soccer Club

Greenville Liberty Soccer Club

I am the vice chairman and chief brand officer of Greenville Triumph Soccer Club –a men’s professional soccer franchise that began play in the United Soccer League’s League One in 2019, and Greenville Liberty Soccer Club, a women’s pre-professional franchise that began play in United Soccer League’s W League in 2022. As vice chairman, I serve as a voice of the club’s ownership group on day-to-day operations. In my CBO role, I oversee the club’s branding, marketing, and merchandising, as well as digital and social communications as part of the organization’s senior leadership team. During our four years, I’ve been able to help the club earn multiple league awards in marketing and communications.

Starting the Triumph and Liberty soccer clubs has been such a humbling experience. I’m still in awe of the community’s overwhelming response to the teams, and I’m proud we’ve been able to help create something that has helped our community rally together to lift the profile of Greenville and the Upstate.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti

I love this quote for a few reasons. First, I’m a huge racing fan, and Mario is such an inspirational and legendary figure. More importantly, I love this quote because it relates so much to working in the sports industry. The work environment is so fast paced and you’re constantly juggling tons of tasks. There is a lot of positive pressure to get a litany of things done, all while balancing with full efforts towards the next home game on the schedule. If you take your foot off the gas or get comfortable, even for a minute, you realize you’re letting stuff fall through the cracks.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

To me, a successful leader is someone who’s great at identifying the natural talents of those working under and around them, and great at empowering others to use those talents to help a group achieve success.

 






Chris Fedalei - AGE 32

Founding Partner

TF Law LLC

Though I was born in Hawaii to a military family, I was raised in Spartanburg. I attended Spartanburg High School before double majoring in political science and philosophy at the University of South Carolina, and graduated from USC School of Law. While in law school, I found ways to fill my summer by working as a law clerk and conducting legal research to advocate for policy change for low-income South Carolina residents.

Following college, I looked for a way to protect individual rights and freedoms, but also for the chance to represent the people of Greenville and Spartanburg counties as I ran for the U.S. House of Representatives. After my campaign, I realized that I would be able to effect more immediate change and create a more direct impact as a lawyer rather than a politician. Now, I am a partner at TF Law, LLC, where I focus on criminal law to help defend people in Greenville County and throughout Upstate South Carolina.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge nor knowledge without love can produce a good life” –Bertrand Russell.

This quote illustrates how being “good” requires one to be both rational and empathetic. For example, I may rationally analyze and advise a client about their case, but if I can’t empathize and connect with them emotionally, I’ll never be able to offer the complete service they need. We must use our empirical knowledge about the world around us to guide and direct our desire to help others.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

Leadership is all about putting the interests of others before your own. This can apply to individuals or organizations, but nobody wants to follow someone who is only out for themselves. You need to empower others to achieve their full potential, and when you do, you get the best, most productive, and happiest employees. A favorite quote of mine about this: “Good leaders lead followers. Great leaders make other great leaders.”

 






Joshua Folks - AGE 28

Software Engineer 

Kopis

As a Greenville transplant, I have been lucky enough to call Greenville my home for seven years. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in computer engineering, I had the opportunity to join a professional development rotational program. I moved across the country learning different business units, and gained an invaluable skill set as an engineer. During my rotational program, I was located in Germany for six months, where I was given the opportunity to travel to almost 30 countries before making my way back to Greenville.

Currently, I am a software developer at Kopis, where we create simple software solutions for businesses through innovation. Whether it is interfacing with clients, defining requirements, or leading a project to production, I am always looking to improve my technical skills, grow professionally and as a leader. This year I will receive my master’s degree in engineering management from the University of South Carolina.

Within the Greenville community, I have been an active member of the annual iMAGINE STEAM Festival, where I sat on the iMAPACT board. I also serve on the community engagement committee at Kopis, where we are able to participate and facilitate various volunteering events. Out of the office, I love to travel, go on adventures, and spend time with friends, family, and my dogs.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This reminds me how important education and learning through experiences are; however, it is equally important to be a kind person and build meaningful relationships with others around you.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t allow external situations or negative ideas keep you from truly being yourself. You’re great and truly destined for greatness.

 






Andrea Graham - AGE 29

Director of Membership Services 

Upper State Apartment Association 

I’m a Greenville native and a 2015 graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Parks Recreation Tourism Management. Growing up in this area did so much for me, and I’m fortunate enough to be able to service and give back to the community that helped shape me. I am currently the director of membership services for the Upper State Apartment Association (USAA), a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of the multifamily industry through advocacy, education, and partnerships. Through my work, I am able to help members grow their businesses and professional careers.

My passion is driven by people. Whether it is mentoring the next generation of leaders, teaching and helping others grow in their professional and personal lives, or volunteering throughout Greenville, my excitement stems from serving others.

When I am not working, I enjoys going to Clemson football games with my family, visiting new spots as Greenville continues to grow, and making memories with my husband, Ryan, and 4-year-old daughter.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of my life, I want to say I contributed more than I criticized.” – Brene Brown, “Dare to Lead.”

A huge phrase I live by is, “comfort don’t criticize,” and this quote embraces that phrase. We as leaders need to make sure that we are contributing to the next generation of leaders and strive for them to grow. I don’t want to be seen as a leader that was known for always criticizing. I want to be seen as someone that contributed to the growth of my friends, teams, mentees, and the next group of leaders.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Don’t try to fit into the “box” everyone else is trying to stand in. Stand out and be different. You don’t grow as a person or professional by striving to fit in.

 






Emily Harper - AGE 28

Social Media Coordinator

Cargo

I was born and raised in the Upstate (Pickens and Walhalla), and have lived in Greenville for seven years. I spent the first six years of my career in nonprofit development and marketing, which included three years as the development and marketing manager at A Child’s Haven. Working for an organization that serves such a unique population helped me become a huge advocate of their mission. In August, I made a big decision to transition to “the agency life” and began working for Cargo as their social media coordinator.

As I began my career, I knew it was important to continue to make connections. The Greenville Chamber Young Professionals (GCYP) programs gave me that opportunity. I was honored to be selected as the vice chair of the GCYP Pacesetters program in 2021 and serve as the chair of the program. 

A long-term goal of mine is to continue to strengthen and diversify my marketing talents in order to help small businesses and local organizations build their brands.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

I believe a leader is someone who can look past their own dreams or goals and see what goals are best for the company or organization they are serving. I have also admired those who are willing to “get their hands dirty” in order to meet those goals.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

I would tell 18-year-old Emily to redefine success and to stop comparing your path to others’. I spent my early 20s comparing myself to others and rushing through life, and it only slowed down my success. Thankful to have an incredible family and community support system who modeled that for me.

 






Bill Hathaway - AGE 29

Chief Customer Officer 

Noregon Systems 

Furman brought me to Greenville in 2011, but my love for the city and the outdoors made it home. I worked for Michelin in the commercial tire division immediately following graduation before joining my current company, Noregon Systems, in late 2016. I have been fortunate to head several departments at Noregon, and in my current role as chief customer officer, I get to do what I love most: interact with people and build relationships. I consider it a privilege to work in the trucking industry, sitting on two American Trucking Association policy boards as well as the HD sales and marketing Forum at the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association. 

Outside of work, I am vice president of a local family charitable foundation that supports the needy in our community, a role that has been so fulfilling and taught me so many lessons in gratitude. In the future, I hope to continue to develop and grow as a leader and learn from the lessons around me. I spend most of my free time outdoors and I am an avid motorsports fan.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“We become the things we do.” As simple as it sounds, there is so much truth in these six words. Our lives are a collection of the choices we make and we can choose nearly every aspect of our being, from emotions to actions. We can choose to be happy or to work a little harder or take a needed day off, but regardless, our choices shape who we are and who we become.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

There are so many ways to define success. In my opinion, truly great leaders do two things: they define what success means for both themselves and the people they lead, and they execute a plan to reach that result. Without a solid understanding of what success means for an individual, a company, a family, etc. a plan cannot be formed, and a leader without a plan is destined to repeat the past.

 






Clinton L. Holden - AGE 32

Community Engagement Senior Strategist 

Prisma Health

Growing up in Upstate SC, I was taught to work hard, help others, and, as Mom always said: “If anything is worth, doing, it’s worth doing right.” I’ve carried that passion for excellence, collaborative spirit, and desire to serve others into my career. As a Community Engagement Senior Strategist, I support Prisma Health’s role in creating a better state of health. I am responsible for setting and implementing strategy for community partnerships, fostering relationships with nonprofit partner organizations, and bringing corporate excellence to life.

In the fall of 2020, I was thrilled to collaborate with White House staff to host Vice President Mike Pence’s Covid-19 Vaccine Roundtable event at UofSC School of Medicine Greenville. In addition to my role at Prisma Health, for seven years I had the pleasure of helping students build confidence, while teaching public speaking skills at Tri-County and Greenville Technical colleges. 

I have been incredibly blessed with family, friends and mentors who have given much to help me succeed. Giving back and investing in my local community is not just a responsibility, but a joy. I’ve grown so much while serving in youth ministry at my local church. I’m also proud to have served the local arts community as the vice president of the board of directors at Centre Stage, as well as acting in productions at Bob Jones University.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens.

Sometimes small gestures or menial tasks may seem trivial, and the fruits of our labors may go unseen. This quote, like most of Dickens’ works, reminds us that lives in service to others do make a difference. I’m convinced the only kind of life worth living is one lived in service to something or someone greater than ourselves.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Stop worrying about what everyone thinks. Be yourself, work hard and pursue things that bring you joy and give God glory.

 






John Lawrence (J.L.) Holliday - AGE 34

Doctor

Holliday Dental

After finishing dental school at MUSC in 2014 and commissioning in the Navy as a lieutenant, I moved to San Diego to complete a residency program focusing on advanced dentistry and surgery. From there I deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet as ship’s dentist aboard the USS Harpers Ferry, caring for 800 sailors and Marines among many other leadership responsibilities. I finished my time in the Navy at a multidisciplinary clinic serving 49,000 service members, honing my skills by working with specialists. 

Upon returning home to Greenville, I joined my dad in private practice at Holliday Dental, shortly thereafter purchasing the practice with 12 team members and 1,600 patients. I’ve since been able to employ every ounce of leadership skills that I picked up in the Navy. My desire is to grow Holliday Dental, developing it into a group of service-oriented team members who put people above profit, obsess over excellence, and model integrity to our patients and community. 

My heart for missions and service shows in my 14 international dental mission trips and the local services that we donate to those who can’t afford it otherwise.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” – C.S. Lewis. 

None of us can take any credit for what we have in life, even our abilities. It’s all a gift from a gracious God.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

Someone who sees where to go and can get others to follow them there.

 






David Jolson - AGE 34

Founder and Clinical Director 

Upstate Spine & Sport

As a Greenville transplant, I love this city that I now call home. My wife, Fran, is an Upstate native and we moved back to be close to family. We founded Upstate Spine & Sport and are grateful for the support we’ve received from this community.

At Upstate Spine & Sport, our team of chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and physical therapists help patients get back to what they love as quickly as possible. I am proud to be the team chiropractor for the Greenville Triumph, Furman Paladins, Hincapie Racing, and local PGA Tour pros.

I’m a co-founder of Basecamp, a health- and community-oriented property coming to Laurens Road later this year. Upstate Spine & Sport will team up with Spruce MD, and move to Basecamp. We’re also opening Alloy Personal Training, a personal training system that can help people of all ages and abilities.

I’ve enjoyed volunteering at Greenville Free Medical clinic and giving back to our underserved community. My greatest sources of inspiration and pride are my wife and our boys, Miles, and Max.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is someone who asks a lot of questions and continues to grow. Someone who is solution-focused and listens more than they speak.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Invest as much time as you can in your most important relationships. Work hard and focus on what you can control.

 






Cameo Joseph - AGE 30

Attorney

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.

I became a licensed attorney in 2016 at which time I began my career with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. My practice focuses on the defense of healthcare providers in both professional negligence and licensing matters. 

Giving back to the community means helping others in a way that would make my younger self proud. I currently serve on the board of Special Olympics South Carolina and am active in the Greenville County Bar Association, where I serve as chair of the Young Lawyer Committee. I serve as co-chair of the membership events committee of the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division, and I am a past board member of the Christ Church Episcopal School Alumni Association. I am also a member of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.

Long-term, I would like to be recognized by my peers as a capable and competent lawyer such that I will be afforded opportunities to be involved in firm management and other activities integral to advancing my firm and the legal profession.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

This directive encourages me to show myself grace but also challenges me to be my best self.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Do not let fear of the unknown dictate your next steps.

 






Thomas Kuckhoff - AGE 31

Global Production Manager

Dodge Industrial Inc. 

While starting a career of creative commercial and technical problem-solving, I unearthed my passion for fostering opportunities to allow others to determine their own destiny. Greenville has been my home for the past eight years. Currently serving as Dodge Industrial’s shaft coupling business leader, I had the opportunity to bring multiple products to market, creating new revenue streams for the firm, and solving some tough problems for the industries which Dodge Industrial supports. Greenville’s growth has been such an inspiration, as the city’s culture has been pivotal in sustaining the growth.

To support the city, and the Greenville community at large, I serve through board leadership and hands-on volunteering alike. You can find me teaching career development in Greenville County classrooms with Junior Achievement, promoting disability awareness at the Center for Developmental Services, advocating for Greenville Chamber programs such as Leadership Greenville and Propel Greenville, as well as fostering higher-level education through Dodge Industrial’s private foundation and Clemson University’s Business or Engineering colleges alike.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

All leaders have followers. Successful leaders act through those they serve to achieve greater results by elevating the strengths of each individual contributor. Of course, the methodologies of achieving this are as numerous as there are combinations of the science and the art of leadership.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Go where the action is and get in the game. Regardless of age or experience, taking that first step puts you on the path to success even if the definition of success is not fully formed in the mind’s eye. By placing yourself in the environment where you want to be, even if the role isn’t your ideal role, and an opportunity arises, you will be ready to capitalize on it.

 






Jeanne Morrison - AGE 29

Director of Digital Strategy

Infinity Marketing

Like so many others that were born and raised in Greenville, I always knew there was something special about this place. After earning my bachelor’s in advertising from the University of South Carolina, I made the easy decision to come home and start my career. I jumped right into agency life at Infinity Marketing, and it was here that I discovered my passion for developing digital strategies within the ever-changing media landscape. Today, I’m thrilled to be leading our team as we continue down a path of digital advancement.

Infinity has always been known for building longstanding relationships with clients, vendors, and partners alike. Early in my career, I was fortunate to connect with one such partner — Cancer Survivors Park. Working alongside this nonprofit, I witnessed the project grow from its inception to its grand opening. It’s truly amazing to see how they’re touching the lives of so many in Greenville. To put it simply, I’m blessed with a career that allows me to impact my clients, team members, and the community.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’” – Grace Hopper

It’s so easy to go through the motions, especially in a fast-paced environment. But to maximize potential, we must embrace a culture of change, and not be afraid to fail along the way.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

Successful leaders know they will not always be the smartest people in the room. They are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and excel at identifying, cultivating, and motivating talented teams to drive incredible results.

 






Kamber Parker - AGE 26

Founder and CEO 

The YoPro Know, LLC

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, I moved to Greenville after attending Furman University. After four years in the nonprofit sector as a development director for the Greenville Area Parkinson Society, I launched The YoPro Know, a consulting group with a core focus of increasing businesses’ retention efforts of young professional employees to prepare our workforce’s future leaders and the companies that employ them.

In my free time, I volunteer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Board, Meals on Wheels, and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals group, where I was honored to have been named the Young Professional of the year for 2021. I am embarking on a yearlong journey in Leadership Greenville this year and can’t wait for the experiences I will gain. You can find me at The Commons, on the Swamp Rabbit Trail running, or at Soul Yoga.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” I love this quote because while we can’t control everything life throws at us; life is about how we react to everything that comes our way – even when the wind is too much to handle.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Hard work is important, but time outside of the office is equally important, if not more. In today’s world, we need to put our phones and laptops down and just think without all of the noise. I’d also tell myself that taking care of yourself is more important than that late-night email or call. 

 






Kunal Patel - AGE 29

Associate and Higher Education Leader

DP3 Architects, Ltd. 

From an early age, I was inspired by the idea of place-making; how buildings define a place, how people use a space, and how each is unique and adaptable. The gateway to defining the environment around me was a career in architecture.

I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but have spent the last 16 years living here in the Upstate. During my time at Clemson, I was a graduate teaching assistant, teaching a first-year design studio, where I really fell in love with mentoring and working together with others towards a common goal. Those are qualities I try to apply in my role at DP3 Architects. Working with our team members and our clients to create spaces that are functional, forward-thinking, and stand the test of time.

Outside of the office, I enjoy traveling with my wife, spending time with family and friends, and keeping golf ball companies in business at our local golf courses.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“A great man (or woman) is always willing to be little.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like this quote because it helps remind me that my job is not to be the biggest voice in the room, but is to empower our team to be the best version of themselves. A leader is only as strong as the team they surround themselves with.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Be a sponge. Absorb the experiences, lessons, knowledge, and people around you. Embrace the daily grind but keep in mind the big picture. Soaking it all in will help you one day in the future.

 






Alanda Posey - age 34

Chief Engagement Officer 

Soulful Beginnings LLC

I am a native of Greenville and the owner of the Soulful Beginning Academy. I am also the author of two published series. I built my company in 2010, using music and engagement to strengthen the academic abilities of students across the Upstate and beyond through tutoring sessions, courses and workshops. Moreover, I want to ensure students are engaged in powerful educational experiences.

Becoming an author originated through my encounters with literature in second grade. As a result, the book “Naomi Visits Letter City” was birthed and published in 2018. The desire to expose children to a broad vocabulary and initiate the conversation about traveling through the city is the premise of this text. “Naomi Visits Letter City” has reached hundreds of homes and classrooms across the United States.

As an advocate for early literacy, I created “The Soulful Alphabet” in 2017. Each letter is represented by a symbol of black culture and heritage, which presents the opportunity for powerful conversation while learning the alphabet.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

This quote is important to me because I believe that I am the person who takes action, provides solutions to others, and empowers people to be the best version of themselves.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

Successful leaders have the courage to take action while others hesitate. To be the ultimate risk taker – this type of leader makes strategic choices to help others reach their next level. Essentially, a true successful leader creates more leaders instead of more followers.

 






Deanna Rogers - AGE 35

Owner 

Classy Kids 

I was born and raised in Palm Beach, Florida, before making my way to the Upstate. I am the co-owner of Classy Kids and an advocate for quality childcare. It has been my life’s work thus far to motivate and encourage other women to chase dreams while juggling multiple things. I am a wife and mom to three young children. My biggest motivation is the determination to provide a great life for them. We have proudly owned and operated three preschools in the Upstate for the last decade and love the community that we have built surrounding our three schools, the families, teachers, and children who fill the walls of our centers. I stay on a constant mission to create and do big things. In the short term, I want to soak up the special season we are in. In the long term, my intent is to stay focused on community involvement and do everything I can do to make Greenville a wonderful place to raise children.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

Looking back over my journey to leadership, I was learning from the people who worked for us and alongside me. I found early on it was best to lead by empowering others as opposed to being micromanaged. I believe this style of leadership promotes creativity and a successful environment for everyone.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

I would tell my younger self it will all be OK. The tough times will lead to brightness and knowledge down the road. Take all the risks in your young 20s. The stakes get higher with age. Everything does not have to be perfectly planned out. It is OK not knowing what life will look like. Life has a funny way of everything falling into place the way it is supposed to be. God is good!

 






Kayce Sams - AGE 33

Senior Project Manager 

b.well Connected Health

As senior project manager at b.well, I direct multiple new client implementations which contribute to over $3 million in annual revenue. As b.well shifts from a startup to a scaling company, I have the opportunity to lead efforts that streamline our implementation processes to support our clients in their efforts and push forward digital transformation to make healthcare more accessible. 

Throughout my career, I have had success partnering across business operations and technology functions to go from strategy to project delivery and drive positive business and patient outcomes. My goal is to build upon that foundation to be an executive level leader in the healthcare and technology field.

I have passion for the Greenville community, as well as excitement that my husband and I can raise our two sons in such a beautiful place. I believe it is important to be involved in shaping how Greenville grows, and that is why I have spent the past two years working with community leaders to ensure that land near my neighborhood is developed for optimal use while maintaining its character and safety.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” -- George Washington Carver

It’s easy to focus on chasing uncommon things – those big or significant moments. Living life means doing common things, and the way you approach those everyday tasks are what people will remember. This quote has been my favorite since discovering it over a decade ago, but means even more to me now in raising my two sons. I have found they feel most loved in the simple moments, like snuggling on the sofa or playing in the backyard.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is someone who clearly communicates the vision and what success looks like and then gives the team freedom on how to achieve the goal. They show respect for their team, lead by example, and make tough decisions. They celebrate victories and recognize hard work.

 






EliSabeth Schatke - AGE 27

Development Program Manager 

Upstate Warrior Solution

I was born and raised in Marietta, Georgia. I attended Furman University and graduated in 2017 with a B.S. in Sustainability Science and Urban Studies, with a minor in Poverty Studies. When I graduated, I knew two things: I wanted to make Greenville my home, and I wanted to give back to the community.

I was interested in the social sector and chose to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA through United Way of Greenville County to gain experience working at a nonprofit. By chance, I was placed at Upstate Warrior Solution (UWS). The staff’s commitment to serving local veterans was contagious, and I soon wholeheartedly adopted UWS’s mission and knew I wanted to be a permanent member of this team. I was hired after my VISTA year and have worked on the development team for the last four years.

Serving veterans is not my only passion. I am a board member of Friends of the Reedy River, and I enjoy volunteering as a dog foster with Greenville County Animal Care. I am also pursuing an M.S. in Nonprofit Administration through Louisiana State University’s online program. In my free time, I love gardening, reading, and hiking with my dog, Daisy.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.” — Lillian Dickson

This is a good reminder that how you choose to use your time is up to you. I think it is important to have a job that you’re passionate about and find fulfilling, but it is also important to make time for yourself, family, and friends.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Stop doubting yourself — your ideas and opinions have value.

 






Hughes Schwartz - AGE 34

Wealth Management Adviser

Northwestern Mutual 

I am a wealth management adviser at Northwestern Mutual. Northwestern Mutual is a national brand and my clients spread across the southeast with the majority being in the Upstate of South Carolina. I have obtained my Certified Financial Planner designation. My role as an adviser is to provide comprehensive planning services for clients tailored to their individual needs and goals.

I am married to my wife Jessica and we had our first daughter Ellis in June of 2021. I enjoy playing golf, and I am an avid Clemson Tigers fan across all sports.

I am involved with various groups in our community. I currently serve on the board for both Senior Action and the Family Effect. I am a mentor to a middle-school student through Mentor Upstate, and I support the United Way of Greenville. Jessica and I attend Buncombe Street United Methodist Church, where we were married in 2019!

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A leader that leads by example while building up those around them. 

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Prepare for everything and don’t be afraid to take risks!

 






Thomas Simmons - AGE 31

Private Wealth Adviser 

Muncaster Financial Group

After beginning my career as a CPA with Elliott Davis, I now lead the private wealth division of Muncaster Financial Group, where we take a hands-on, planning-first approach to wealth management.  During my time as a three-year letterman wide receiver at Wofford College, I learned the importance of teamwork, respect, and dedication. I continue to use these skills daily, as my team and I work closely with our clients to create and manage customized comprehensive financial plans.

Since beginning my career with Muncaster Financial Group, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside our founder, Richard Muncaster, to learn invaluable business and relationship building skills. I am blessed with the opportunity to help build a thriving wealth management practice that allows me to serve my clients’ needs on a daily basis.

I am fortunate to be in a position to serve my community through my roles as endowment trustee for Meals on Wheels of Greenville and chair of Memorial United Methodist Church’s long-range planning committee. These organizations, among others, are deeply important to me and it is an honor to serve them.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Smart people simplify things” – Albert Einstein.

I’ve been fortunate to learn from a number of very smart people throughout my career. Life can be complicated, so it is important to keep things simple.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

My advice to my 18-year-old self is to go forward with confidence, and do not be afraid to fail. Continue to do what is right at all times and absorb as much knowledge as you can from those around you.

 






Hayley Thrift - AGE 33

Director of Marketing

Spinx

My dream was to work in politics. I started campaigning when I was a teenager and ultimately landed my dream job, serving as the spokesperson for the S.C. Attorney General. After years in Columbia, I moved to Greenville to make it my home. Now, as the director of marketing for Spinx, I’m able to work for a company I love and serve my community at the same time.

I’m passionate about staying involved in my community because I believe it’s extremely important to give back. I serve on the board for Euphoria Greenville, a food, wine, and music festival and as a member of the Upstate Leadership Council for the American Cancer Society. Through ACS, I’m on the planning committee for the annual Shuck Cancer Oyster Roast.

I’ve learned that life is unpredictable. My goal is to focus on the now and strive to be the best version of myself that I can be. I’m an avid traveler and hope to see as many places as possible.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

At the end of the day, the only thing I can control is myself. It’s up to me to make the most of every situation and to be who I want to be and live a life I’m proud of.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Relax! Don’t take yourself so seriously. You are so young, and you have plenty of time to be successful. Just slow down and have fun. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Make mistakes, take risks. You are only young once.

 






Ryan Thorne  - AGE 35

Founder and CEO

Thorne Ambulance Service LLC

In 2010, at age 22, I founded Greenville based Thorne Ambulance Service with my father – delivering 24/7 care to patients across Greenville (now Myrtle Beach and Greenwood as well). Since our founding, our company has expanded to 140 team members, a fleet of 35 vehicles, and serves 28,000 patients annually across South Carolina.

The most rewarding part of my job is twofold: I love creating jobs and opportunities for people in our community and watching them grow as individuals and as professionals. Additionally, I enjoy receiving feedback about the exceptional care our team provides our patients. We are an organization that truly adds value in the community, and that impact continues to fuel my passion and personal mission.

My career has granted me the opportunity to speak at conferences around the country, and to have my work published in some of the most widely circulated industry journals. In 2021, I was fortunate to be named the South Carolina EMS Director of the year. I look forward to many more years of service to our community!

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is someone who loves what they do, aims to make a positive impact in the lives of those around them, and someone who operates with total integrity – not sometimes, but all the time.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Autograph your work with excellence and refuse to accept mediocrity. Always aim for exceptionalism and give everything in your life 100% effort. Don’t forget that there are only 24-hours in a day, and your family should always be your #1 priority. Families make and sustain great leaders, so their continued support is not only “nice to have”, it is an absolute requirement if you seek long-term success.

 






Scott Todd - AGE 32

Attorney

Sumner & Todd, LLC

I grew up in Laurens, South Carolina, just a quick trip down I-385 from Greenville. After graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law, I worked for several years as a criminal prosecutor in both Spartanburg and Pickens counties. During that time, I tried several cases against an attorney named Steve Sumner. In March of 2020, Steve asked me to come join him as an associate at his law firm in Greenville. In January 2022, I was named as a partner and the firm was renamed Sumner & Todd, LLC. I consider this role my greatest accomplishment in my legal career.

At Sumner & Todd, we practice criminal defense, with a specialty in DUI. Some of my responsibilities include client interviews, reviewing discovery, attending status conferences, and when necessary, trying the case in front of a jury. Our firm represents clients throughout Upstate South Carolina.

I believe that giving back to the community is vital in keeping communities moving forward. Being an avid runner, I created what has now become an annual spring event called the Moving on Main 5K in my hometown of Laurens. This annual 5K race raises funds for both the local YMCA as well as the Main Street Laurens organization.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Well done is better than well said” – Benjamin Franklin.

There is a great difference in what one says they are going to do, and what one actually does. I like when action is taken, not talked about.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A great leader requires great listening skills. If you are not listening to the room, then it proves very difficult to lead the room. Knowing your audience is just as important as leading them.

 






Alex Vitou - AGE 34

Application Engineering Manager 

Dodge Industrial Inc. 

I grew up on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest of six children. I came to South Carolina in 2006 to pursue a mechanical engineering degree at Clemson University. I later completed my MBA at Anderson University. In 2011, I moved to Greenville to work for Dodge Industrial in the engineering department. Dodge designs, manufactures, and supplies mechanical power transmission products to a wide range of global industries and markets.

While at Dodge, I have held several roles in engineering, have been named an inventor on four U.S. patents, and have been able to positively affect the organization. I currently lead the application engineering department, which is responsible for all customer facing technical support and post R&D design engineering.

Community service is a true passion of mine and is a critical piece of who I am. I currently serve as the chairman of the board for Loaves & Fishes Greenville, I’m on the advisory board for the South Carolina Coalition of Math and Science , and I help lead community outreach for Dodge.

What’s your favorite quote and why?

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

You should always give more than you take. I truly believe that life is about the relationships we develop and ultimately helping others succeed in their own lives.

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is someone who can effectively communicate their vision and can motivate and inspire others to follow them. They care deeply about the success of their team members and work hard to ensure they have the support and tools they need to do their job. A successful leader can empower others and can demonstrate empathy when needed.

 






Natalie Welanetz - AGE 34

Business Development Director 

Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital

of Greenville

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but it is in rising again each time we fall”

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is one who understands there is no one set way to motivate team members, but knows that understanding each individual and supporting their needs will result in motivation.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

If I had to give my 18-year-old self advice, it would be to trust the process and understand that the trip is full of ups and downs, but use the experiences good and bad to help shape your future.

 






Jeff White - 36
Project Manager
Brasfield & Gorrie
As project manager in Brasfield & Gorrie’s Greenville office, Jeff leads project teams in all phases of construction and helps guide the projects to timely completion. He also serves as Greenville office lead on the company’s Safety Committee.
Outside of work, he’s very involved in the community, taking roles in several local organizations, including GirlUp GVL, Soteria, Rebuild Upstate, and Poe Mill Achievement Center. 
He is also a graduate of Greenville Chamber’s Opportunity Greenville program.

 






Braxton Wilson - AGE 28

Founder/President

Palmetto Entertainment and Events

Born and raised in Greenville, I’ve been able to see this once-small city grow into one of the US’s Top 10 Cities to Live in. With the rapid growth of my city, I was able to identify a gap that needed to be filled: entertainment. While attending Clemson University, I was fortunate enough to begin my business journey just before my junior year when I founded Palmetto Entertainment and Events. I began as a 20-year-old producing 10 to 15 shows a year with some of the smallest acts in the music industry. Now I am fully promoting, producing, and operating 100 to 120 shows annually with those same artists, some of which are the biggest acts in the music industry today.

My goal has been and always will be to create an experience for people that nothing else compares to, and the reward is always in the smiles I see on people’s faces.

I have met so many people along the way that have extended my network throughout Greenville and across the country, allowing me to operate multiple music venues and work with talent agencies I once dreamed of. My dad told me a long time ago that it’s not about the money you make, but the hands you shake. I can confidently say that the relationships I’ve built in the music industry and beyond have positively impacted me in a way that can’t fully be explained. 

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Never let success get to your head; never let failure get to your heart.”

Don’t ever get comfortable and think your success is limited – continue to strive to be better than you were yesterday. If you get complacent, you won’t continue growing into your full potential. Similarly, failures aren’t the endgame; they are inevitable. Learning from failure is the only reason I am where I am today. 

What is your definition of a successful leader?

A successful leader is only as good as the team they have built around them. A leader motivates, inspires and encourages people to be their best selves. No one is successful overnight; putting in the time to listen, learn and achieve your goals takes time, patience, and determination.

 






Edward Wilson - AGE 34

Managing Partner

Wilson Kibler Commercial Real Estate

As a sophomore in college, I transferred from Appalachian State’s International Business program to University of South Carolina after one of my siblings passed away unexpectedly. I adjusted my course studies to real estate and business management and started working full-time in Wilson Kibler’s Columbia office, managing to finish in four years. I quickly identified two mentors, Julian Wilson and Ted Pitts, who were both members of the National Guard. After graduating from USC, I joined the Army as an engineer and completed basic, OCS, and engineer school then moved to Greenville to start a new office for Wilson Kibler.

Over the past 10 years, I have invested in the Greenville community and grown personal relationships through various volunteer opportunities, faith organizations, professional affiliations, and community activities. I’ve actively brokered and develop over $300 million of commercial real estate and focus predominantly on office brokerage as a CCIM, SIOR, MCR. I enjoy helping clients maximize their investments in real estate whether leasing, purchasing, developing or selling.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Don’t take any wooden nickels.” I was the youngest of five boys, and our family had to carpool for efficiency. Any time my father dropped me off, he would tell me, “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” It’s a little thing a dad does that sticks with his children. At the time it was fatherly rubbish, but there were multiple lessons reinforced in the daily routine of that quote.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Enjoy being 18, life is short. Respect your elders. Surround yourself by friends and professional colleagues that make you a better person.