Women Making History in Greenville County

Our community was built on the accomplishments of strong, philanthropic women. Today, we recognize the women making history right now in Greenville County. Representing all fields in our community, these women are giving back and leading the charge for a stronger, more equitable Greenville County for all.

Annette Allen is Senior Vice President Global Execution & Greenville General Manager at Fluor. Allen has been with Fluor for over 33 years, serving in various operations, project management and business development roles. Today, she is responsible for Fluor’s Advanced Technologies and Life Sciences execution platform which includes Fluor’s offices in Gliwice, Poland; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Dublin, Ireland, San Francisco, California and Raleigh, North Carolina. Annette has served on a number of boards in the Upstate, including time as Chair of the United Way Board of Directors, as well as Campaign Chair, and on the Clemson University Board of Visitors.

Tina Belge serves as Advocacy and Community Engagement Manager for the Greenville Housing Fund where she works on advocating for policy change and fostering community engagement around affordable housing to remove barriers and increase commitment to this scarce resource. She currently oversees the Greenville Affordable Housing Coalition. As a former planner at both Greenville County and Greenville County Redevelopment Authority, Tina has developed neighborhood plans and ran programs for those experiencing homelessness or living in substandard housing. She also served as the Executive Director of Keep Greenville County Beautiful and ran for State Senate in 2019. Her volunteerism includes heading up the Young Voter Coalition and serving on United Way’s Young Leaders Society. Tina is an alum of UNC Chapel Hill’s MPA program, where she focused on Community and Economic Development. 

Jolley Bruce Christman is a Greenville native and Trustee of the Jolley Foundation, a major funding partner of United Way of Greenville County. Now living in Philadelphia, she has worked as a high school teacher, teacher educator, and school district administrator. In 1992, with her good friend Eva Gold, Jolley founded Research for Action, a nonprofit organization that, through its research, seeks to improve the life chances of underserved youth by strengthening public schools and enriching the civic dialogue about public education. In her retirement, she has served on the boards of higher education institutions and community arts organizations and campaigned for fair funding for Philadelphia public schools. She also continues to serve her community here in Greenville County through the work of the Jolley Foundation for a just, compassionate, and vibrant community

Elizabeth Davis, Furman University’s 12th president, is a member of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges Council of Presidents as well as the Council of Independent Colleges Board of Directors. She also serves as a member of the United Way Board of Directors and the Greenville County Racial Equity and Economic Mobility (REEM) Commission, where she is co-chair of the education sub-committee. In 2018, she received the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education for implementing The Furman Advantage, a distinctive vision for higher education that has received national attention. Before coming to Furman, Dr. Davis served as Executive Vice President and Provost at Baylor University in Texas.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, mixed media artist Patricia DeLeon has lived in cities like Seattle, Santa Barbara, Chattanooga, Miami and now here in Greenville. Her art is powered by “fierce discipline, a dedication to representing the unseen and transcendent aspects of living, and a healthy dose of obsession with the natural world.” DeLeon holds a BFA in Fine Art Photography, Fibres and Art History from Western Washington University. Her work is widely collected nationally and abroad in Canada and Latin America.

The Honorable Chandra Dillard is a State Representative serving District 23. She is also Director of Community Relations at Furman University. Prior to joining the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2009, Dillard was a member of Greenville City Council from 1999–2008 — the first woman elected to the District 3 seat. A member of various boards in Greenville County over the last two decades, Dillard has served mutliple terms on the United Way Board of Directors since 2005. She has received a number of recognitions and awards for her work in early childhood education, healthcare, affordable housing, environmental justice and economic development.

Jessica Donan is the first female to serve as the Office Managing Partner for EY Greenville. In this role she is responsible for EY’s growth across the state of South Carolina. Additionally, Jessica serves as EY’s US-Central Region Mobility Sector Assurance Leader, responsible for growing and developing the firm’s transportation client base across the multi-state region. Jessica’s public accounting career has extended over 21 years, serving clients in the Advanced Manufacturing and Mobility (AM&M) sector, as well as healthcare, media and technology companies. She is engaged in the community through her role on the Racial Equity and Economic Mobility (REEM) Commission, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Peace Center Board of Trustees and Clemson University’s Advisory Board for the School of Accountancy. Jessica earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Memphis and her Master’s in Accountancy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is certified in Strategic Foresight from The Futures School and has completed Harvard University’s Leadership Program.

Anne Elefson recently retired as VP – Deputy General Counsel for Prisma Health. Prior to joining Prisma Health in February of 2014, she was a shareholder at Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. where she practiced commercial real estate law for many years and served as the managing shareholder for 6 years. She is a Past President of the South Carolina Bar and Immediate Past President of ETV Endowment of SC and is the current Chair of SCTAC and Hollingsworth Funds. She currently serves on numerous boards, including Southern First Bank, Greenville Local Development Corporation, SC TAC, and Verdae Development, Inc. Anne has served on many boards, including time as Chair of United Way’s Board of Directors, Chair of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and President of the Junior League of Greenville.

Betty Farr, CEO of Greenco Beverage Company, is a statewide community leader with an overflowing passion for children. Farr has given more than 50 years of her time as a storyteller to hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries, and museums throughout the state. Farr has received many awards, including South Carolina’s prestigious award, The Order of the Palmetto. Throughout her life, she has supported dozens of nonprofits and programs in Greenville County, including major gifts to United Way of Greenville County. The Ramsey Family Branch of the Greenville Library System has a Children’s Area given in her honor. The Grandma Betty’s Farm area at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate was also given in her honor by her children.

Hudson serves with EY as a Client Executive and Information Security lead for clients in the Media & Entertainment, Manufacturing, Consumer Goods and Financial Services industries. She is passionate about building proactive and business aligned security functions within business, and building strategic and generous contributors in the community. Hudson completed her undergraduate studies at Georgia Institute of Technology and her MBA at Duke University. Hudson has served as a member of the United Way Board of Directors. She is also a Forbes contributing writer.

Since 2001, Velda Hughes has grown Hughes Agency into one of the most recognized public relations, marketing, advertising and events firms in South Carolina. Velda started her career at The Greenville News. She later became a partner in a public relations and event firm for the next 15 years before starting Hughes Agency. An outstanding community leader, Velda brings her vast public relations experience to companies and organizations in Greenville County and beyond.

Melinda Lehman is the Founding Partner at GIG.inc, a North American Strategic Innovation Firm based in Greenville. Prior to that she was a Founding Partner with Happen, a global innovation firm.  As one of North America’s leaders in catalyzing innovation, Melinda’s background includes senior roles in marketing, research, and innovation with Procter & Gamble, Warner Lambert (now Johnson & Johnson), Kraft Foods and Sklar Wilton & Associates. She has designed and facilitated hundreds of innovation programs, is a certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and is trained in timeline therapy and hypnotherapy. She is on the Ivey Council for Entrepreneurship, the Peace Center Board of Trustees and the Upstate Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team.  Her passion for innovation is matched only by her passion for cycling — completing her third Ironman and recently winning the Zwift Racing League World Championships.

Jil Littlejohn Bostick has held many leadership roles in Greenville County. A product of inner-city Atlanta, Jil studied abroad in Spain before moving to the Upstate to work at Milliken & Company as a plant accountant and plant controller. Making her home in Greenville, Jil began volunteering and eventually changed careers to become the Executive Director of the YWCA of Greenville, where she worked to develop the leadership skills of women and girls in our community. In 2009, Littlejohn became the youngest member of the Greenville City Council and served as Mayor Pro Tem; serving for 10+ years. Ever evolving and breaking barriers, she became the first female President and CEO of the Urban League of the Upstate in 2013 through 2019. She currently serves as the first Director of Inclusion & Diversity for Hubbell Incorporated.

Deborah McKetty is Chief Impact Officer at United Way of Greenville County. Prior to joining United Way in 2019, Deborah served as President and CEO of CommunityWorks. A Greenville native, Deborah is a long-time United Way partner through her work with the former Greenville Housing Fund and CommunityWorks, which she helped establish in 2008. Deborah serves on the board of directors for the S.C. Community Capital Alliance, SCACED, the Greenville Professional Women’s Forum, Self Help Credit Union, Greenville Housing Fund, and the Greenville Chamber Board of Advisors. She is an alumna of Furman University’s Diversity Leadership Institute, a recipient of the Greenville Women Making History Award, and was recognized by the SC Association of Community Development Corporations (SCACED) with the Eagle Award of Excellence in Community Economic Development and the Athena Womens Leadership Award. Deborah holds a Master’s in Urban Planning from Texas Southern University.

Tami McKnew is an award-winning attorney and Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP specializing in the areas of franchising, dealerships, antitrust and intellectual property. A long-time United Way volunteer, Tami has served in a variety of positions with United Way, including as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2012. She holds a number of local, state and national honors and awards. Over the last several years, she has been named a “Legal Eagle” by Franchise Times and recognized among the “Legal Elite” by Greenville Business Magazine for Antitrust Law, Consumer Products & Retail, and Business Litigation. She received the “Diversity Award” from the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising in 2019.

Adela Mendoza is Executive Director of the Hispanic Alliance, a nonprofit driving systemic change to catalyze economic opportunity for the emerging Hispanic community and build a thriving community for everyone. Adela is an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, a Liberty Fellow, and an active member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  In 2018 Adela was one of six fellows around the world awarded the McNulty Catalyst Award by the McNulty Foundation and the Aspen Institute for her Student Dreamers Alliance venture (sc.dreamers.org). She is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville and Furman University’s Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Institute, which in 2018 honored her with their “Outstanding Contribution to International Diversity Award”.  She serves on the boards of Ten at the Top, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Legacy Charter School, the Duke Energy SC Upstate Advisory Board, and on Clemson University’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion. Adela’s dream for South Carolina is that we, collectively, build an ecosystem of opportunity where every person has access to the conditions and resources to achieve his or her self-defined success.

Gina Petti, Co-Owner of ASADA, was born in San Diego to an Italian father and Japanese mother who imbued her with a love of food and cooking. With a BA in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University, Gina began her professional career working with autistic children. Gina and her partner, Roberto Cortez, launched Greenville’s first food truck in 2012 and ultimately opened the brick and mortar ASADA restaurant on Wade Hampton Blvd. in 2015. In addition to their Mission-style menu, Gina and Roberto sell original artwork out of the restaurant with proceeds benefitting local charities.

Sue Priester is a native of St. Louis, Mo., holds a Master’s Degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh, and has lived in Greenville since 1976. She is a co-founder and past co-chair of Greenville Women Giving, and has chaired the Community Foundation of Greenville, the Greer Chamber of Commerce, and the Greenville Symphony. In addition to joining the United Way Board of Directors earlier this year, Sue’s board service has also included the Metropolitan Arts Council, Alliance for Quality Education, the Furman University Advisory Council, and Upstate Forever Advisory Council. In 2005 she was inducted into the Entrepreneurs Forum of Greenville Technical College.

Megan Riegel is the President and CEO of the Peace Center, a role she has held since 1997. Under Megan’s leadership, the not-for-profit performing arts organization has become the cultural hub of the Upstate, with an estimated economic impact of $42 million annually. Megan joined the Peace Center in 1994 as Director of Development and served as General Manager until her promotion to President and CEO in 1997. During Megan’s 26-year tenure, the Peace Center’s annual operations have grown from $4 million to just under $27 million. More than 360,000 patrons attend 700 events at the Peace Center each year, and the organization’s community-centric gifts of roughly $3 million annually support free programs and partnerships, outreach in local schools, opportunities for emerging artists and services for Greenville-based arts partners. In 2013, Megan was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in South Carolina.

Jane Robelot DeCarvalho, nationally acclaimed network news anchor and correspondent, joined WYFF News 4 in January 2007 as a contributing reporter and anchor of the news magazine Chronicle. In 2017, she was named full-time co-anchor of WYFF News 4 at 4. After beginning her career in radio, Jane moved into television with WSPA before moving on to WCAU-TV in Philadelphia and then to CBS News in New York where she worked as a national anchor on both “CBS Morning News” and, later, “CBS This Morning” from 1995-1999. While in New York, Jane covered some of the most important events of that time, including The Oklahoma City Bombing, The Death of Princess Diana and the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Jane has received many awards and recognitions for her exemplary work in broadcasting, including two National Emmy Awards for journalistic excellence.

Dr. Saria Saccocio serves as Ambulatory Chief Medical Officer and Department Chair of Family Medicine for Prisma Health-Upstate. She is also co-lead of Prisma Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Saria’s leadership supports clinical integration, population health, business health, outpatient quality and patient safety, and resident and medical student education. Her expertise in population health, leadership, including advancement of women leaders, has allowed her to serve as a keynote speaker at multiple national forums. She currently serves as Community Impact Committee Chair on the United Way Board of Directors.

Dorothy Shain is a Greenville-based artist and creative entrepreneur with a dynamic portfolio. Her work is an exploration of mediums reflective of the colors, textures, and patterns drawn from travels and adventures, revealing inspiration and influence from countless people, places, and cultures. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 2012 with a B.A. in Studio Art, Dorothy launched her brand in September of 2014. The business has continued to grow ever since, now encompassing a number of collaborations, licensing, print sales, and most recently, textiles and wallpapers. From a line of swimwear with Anthropologie to custom-designed products for SPANX, Dorothy is passionate about partnering with companies that share similar values, most importantly, value philanthropy.

Minor Shaw is president of Micco LLC, a private investment company. Her extensive community involvement includes chairing the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Commission and serving as a board member of the Foundation and Corporate Boards of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the Columbia Funds Board of Trustees, International African American Museum, Piedmont Natural Gas and the Duke Energy Advisory Board. Minor has been chairman of the Community Foundation of Greenville, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, the Junior League of Greenville, the Urban League of the Upstate, the YMCA of Greenville, the South Carolina ETV Endowment, and Hollingsworth Funds where she currently serves as a trustee. She serves as chair of The Daniel-Mickel Foundation and The Duke Endowment. She was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2012. She served as chair of United Way’s Board of Directors in 1995 and has been a strong proponent of the importance of collaboration among the funders in our community, developing a shared vision and aligning resources to maximize impact.

Diane Smock is a lawyer and mediator who served as Greenville County Probate Judge from 1991 through 1999. After leaving the bench, she spent two terms on Greenville City Council and as the executive director of a non-profit. She now focuses her time on efforts to improve the lives of women and girls both in South Carolina and around the world and leading local initiatives on vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Housing Fund, the Women’s Rights & Empowerment Network, and the Triune Mercy Center Endowment Fund. She joined the United Way Board of Directors earlier this year.

Kate Weaver Patterson serves as Deputy Director of National Programs at Root & Rebound (R&R) where she leads national programs and initiatives advocating for the rights of people who have been harmed and marginalized by mass incarceration, seeking to increase access to justice and opportunity for people with records, and to fight poverty and create second chances across the country. Her work also includes overseeing the South Carolina Second Chance Justice Collaborative, which is a partnership between Soteria Community Development Corporation and R&R. Kate grew up in Greenville and attended Duke University for her undergraduate and law degrees. She also holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the University of Hong Kong. After working in New York, Charlotte and Miami, she returned home to the city and state she loves, looking to be a force for positive change.

Dr. Nika White is a national authority and fearless advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity. As an award-winning management and leadership consultant, keynote speaker, published author, and executive practitioner for D&I efforts across business, government, non-profit and education, Dr. White helps organizations break barriers and integrate diversity into their business frameworks. Over her 20+ years of leadership, Dr. White has worked with over 100 brands, managed over $200 million in business assets for her clients, and written two books on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has presented over 150 keynote speeches and presentations across the country. Nika earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and PR from the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism, a Masters of Education with a focus on Adult Learning and Corporate Training, and her Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership.

Making a difference starts here


Making a Difference Starts Here

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