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.


Thursday, April 18, 2019
The Westin Poinsett
120 S Main St, Greenville, SC 29601
Networking: 5:30–6:00 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.

Velda Hughes, Hughes Agency

Velda Hughes has more than 35 years of experience in public relations, marketing, advertising and event services. She hails from a newspaper family that once owned four publications in the Carolinas. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Journalism, Velda started her career at the Greenville News. She then spent the next 15 years as a partner in a public relations and event firm before founding Hughes Agency in 2001. Since then, Velda has grown the business to a staff of 22 and helped make it one of the most recognized firms in the state. Velda brings to the team her unmatched networking capabilities and vast public relations experience.

John Humphries, WYFF 4

John Humphries, President and General Manager of WYFF 4, has been with Hearst Television and news broadcasting for many years. Prior to returning to the Upstate in 2016, John led the team at WGAL-TV in Pennsylvania. He has helped his stations launch a number of award-winning programs and series, and was named General Manager of the Year for mid-size television markets in 2018 by national publication Broadcasting & Cable. John serves on the boards of United Way of Greenville County, the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is recognized by The Riley Institute at Furman University as a Riley Institute Diversity Fellow.

Cal Hurst, TD Bank

Cal Hurst is the Regional Vice President for Upstate, SC at TD Bank. Cal manages TD Bank's Commercial and Small Business Banking groups, as well as the bank's community partnerships. Cal has been in the commercial banking business for 13 years, working throughout the state of South Carolina. He is a 2004 Furman University graduate where he was a member of the baseball team. Cal now serves on Furman's Alumni Board of Directors, the United Way Strategic Investments Committee and Campaign Cabinet, Reach Out & Read Carolinas Board of Directors, and the First Presbyterian Church Ignite Worship Team. He is also a member of Leadership Greenville Class 42 and the United Way of Greenville County Palmetto Society. Most importantly, Cal is a proud husband to his wife, Casey, and father to his two children, Chandler (4) and Mary Ellen (2).

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.

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.