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The Great Conversation




The Great Conversation seeks to connect young professionals with influential community leaders and United Way advocates. Through these conversations, we hope to foster powerful dialogue around philanthropy and civic engagement—and how giving back to our community can positively influence your career. Dinner will include a three-course meal and two drinks.


Thursday, April 18, 2019
The Westin Poinsett
120 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601
Networking: 5:00–6:00 p.m.
Dinner: 6:00–8:15 p.m.



Gold Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

               Realtor Associate Linda O'Brien


Table Hosts

Yobany Banks-McKay, UPS Inside Sales

Yobany Banks-McKay has been with UPS since 1992. A graduate from Iona College in New York, Yobany majored in International Studies and was the first in her family to graduate from college. She has held many different positions with UPS over the last 27 years, including a role in an International Special Assignment focusing on how to increase trade between Mexico and the United States. Yobany was President of the National Hispanic Business Woman Association Association in Southern California from 2010 to 2012, and she is currently the Vice Campaign Chair for United Way of Greenville County. Born in the Dominican Republic, Yobany is one of nine children. She is a strong advocate for United Way of Greenville County and is heavily involved in the community.

Chandra Dillard, Furman University

Representative Chandra Dillard began her public service career in 1999 as a member of Greenville City Council and the first woman to represent District 3. After a distinguished service record of nine years on City Council, Rep. Dillard was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2008. In the House, she serves on the House Legislative Oversite Committee and the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, as well as several special committee assignments. Rep. Dillard has held leadership positions in the House Democratic Caucus, the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and the South Carolina General Assembly Women's Caucus. She has secured millions of dollars to address human development, community development and infrastructure needs. When not in Columbia, Rep. Dillard is the Director of Community Relations for Furman University.

Ken Harper, CountyBank

Ken Harper is Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Countybank, where he oversees all strategic development, sales and operations management for Countybank, Countybank Trust and Investments, Countybank Insurance and Countybank Mortgage. Ken received a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Duke University, and he is a graduate of Louisiana State Unversity's Graduate School of Banking. He has been in the banking world since 1986, and is actively involved in the Greenville community. Ken serves as Executive Committee Member and Finance Committee Chair for the United Way of Greenville County Board of Directors, and he is involved in a variety of organizations including the Greenville County Schools Foundation and the Greer Partnership for Tomorrow.

Ryan McLaughlin, UBS Wealth Management

Ryan McLaughlin joined UBS in 2009 and currently serves as Branch Office Manager, where she helps teams deepen relationships and attract new clients. Ryan is also responsible for building the UBS brand in the local marketplace through client events, employee engagement and community involvement. Ryan resides in Greenville with her husband, Barrett. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for United Way of Greenville County. Ryan enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants and giving back to the local community.

Linda O'Brien, Wilson Associates

Linda O'Brien is a native of Greenville with 25 years of sales experience. She is currently a realtor with Wilson Associates. In the past, Linda served on the boards of Hopsice House of Greenville, as Chairman of the Board at the Cancer Society of Greenville County, and the Red Door Campaign at St. Joseph Catholic School. Linda is now Treasurer of the YMCA Advisory Board for the Verdae YMCA and a member of the Hospice House of Greenville Board.

Carl Sobocinski, Table 301 Restaurant Group

Carl Sobocinski is Founder and President of Table 301 Restuarant Group, where he has spearheaded the company's growth and development over the last 20 years. A native of Durham, New Hampshire, Carl moved to Greenville to attend Clemson University. In the mid-90s, Carl opened his first restaurant, The 858, in Greenville. Soby's New South Cuisine followed in 1997, and the rest is history. Today, Carl is an active contributor to the Upstate's business and charitable communities. He serves on numerous national and local boards and committees, including the Board of Trustees for United Way of Greenville County. He has been honored for his many contributions to South Carolina and Greenville County. Carl is a busy father of two daughters and remains active in developing the future of our community.

David Sudduth, Prisma Health

David Sudduth is Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Prisma Health-Upstate Health Sciences Center (HSC). He also has management responsibilities for the Office of Philanthropy, the Office of Innovation, Graduate Medical Education and the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy. David is a graduate of Clemson University, where he received both a BS degree in Financial Management and a Masters in Business Administration. As District 4 Representative on Greenville City Council from 2005–2017, David sought to ensure public safety, protect and invest in neighborhoods, and promote financial transparency and accountability. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels, Greenville Technical College Foundation, Greenville Chamber of Commerce and NEXT. David is a proud husband and father of three children.

Sarah West, ITW Hartness International

Sarah West is the Division Director, Human Resources for ITW Hartness International, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW).  As a key member of the leadership team, Sarah is responsible for a wide range of HR functions including:  HR strategy, organizational culture, talent management, employee development, employee relations, and organization design and effectiveness.  Sarah has a deep passion and record for service in the communities she resides.  She has served on the United Way Board of Directors of Franklin County, March of Dimes, Junior Achievement, and Anderson Interfaith Ministries to name a few. Sarah is a native of Lexington, Kentucky.  She graduated from Appalachian State with both a BSBA in Management and a BSBA in Computer Information Systems.

Dr. Nika White, Nika White Consulting

Dr. Nika White’s career spans 20 years, ranging from serving as a diversity and inclusion practitioner, an accomplished marketing communications executive, economic development leader and community advocate. Dr. White found inspiration through the intersection of business, diversity and leadership, and has made this her niche. As Founder and CEO of Nika White Consulting, she is a nationally sought after consultant, thought leader and speaker to countless organizations and executives on issues of team engagement, organizational leadership, strategic diversity and intentional inclusion. White serves as the Senior Advisor to the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and is responsible for creating and implementing an overarching diversity strategy for the organization as an extension of the executive team.

Valerie Williams, Michelin North America

Valerie Williams serves as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Michelin North America, Inc. She holds degrees from the University of South Carolina School of Business and School of Law. Prior to joining Michelin, she worked as a litigator in private practice in both Charleston and Greenville. Valerie has now spent nearly two decades working in the Michelin legal department as a member of the litigation and business law teams.