The Greenville Chamber presented its 2019 awards and unveiled plans for this year during its 131st annual meeting at the Greenville Convention Center on Thursday.
During the presentation and awards ceremony, Carlos Phillips, chamber president and CEO, highlighted the Accelerate Greenville initiative’s role in stimulating economic growth in the region, additional leadership development programs and continued involvement in infrastructure improvement.
“As we look ahead to 2020, it’s abundantly clear that change has never happened this fast before, and it will never be this slow again,” Phillips said.
Noting expected population growth of 220,000 in Greenville over the next 20 years, Phillips said the Greenville Chamber will work toward supporting high-impact and minority-owned businesses and advocating the advancement of road, sewer and broadband infrastructure. New leadership development programs will not replace existing programs but will target emerging professionals and veteran leaders, including graduates of current initiatives like Leadership Greenville.
Deborah McKetty, vice president of community investment at United Way of Greenville County, was presented the 2019 Athena Leadership Award which “honors individuals who assist women in reaching their full leadership potential; demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; and provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.”
Toby Stansell, managing director of Cherry Bekaert Technology Solutions Group, was honored with the Buck Mickel Leadership Award for his role as co-chair of the chamber’s Accelerate Greenville program and commitment to the Minority Business Accelerator program. The award “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.”
Nancy Whitworth, the city of Greenville’s recently retired economic development director and deputy city manager, was awarded the Chairman’s Award for her service to the chamber’s board and involvement with other chamber initiatives.
Greenville County Schools was honored with the F. Ben Haskew Collaboration Award, which “recognizes Upstate leaders who display progressive visions and a partnership approach to responsible growth in the Upstate.” The school system has partnered with the chamber through LaunchGVL to offer high school internships and career preparation.
Adela Mendoza, executive director of the Hispanic Alliance, was recognized for her work as the vice chair of leadership development on the chamber board and support of its “Reimagining Leadership” program with the Leadership Greenville Distinguished Alumni award.
Sans Souci Neighborhood Alliance was honored with the Max Heller Neighborhood Improvement Award which “is given annually to an organization that has shown exemplary efforts toward neighborhood improvement and empowerment.” The alliance serves a 5,000-resident neighborhood north of downtown Greenville.
Nalisha Henry, director of community relations at United Way of Greenville County, was honored for her philanthropic engagement and leadership of the chamber’s young professional program with the Young Professional of the Year award.
Former board members Leesa Owens, Keith Miller, Nancy Whitworth, Kelley Cornish, Craig McCoy, Chris Neely, Kevin Poyck and David Sudduth were also honored for their service.