by Cindy Dorn
It’s 11AM on a Friday morning in early June and a noisy commotion is stirring outside our training room. A dozen law enforcement officers – some Sheriff’s deputies, some Greenville City police – are gathering, talking, laughing – and packing some serious heat. Was there a disruption in our normally staid CPA firm? No, it is our annual IGNITE program.
Our firm has been headquartered in Greenville for more than 90 years. During that time, we have developed some traditions and active participation in Greenville Chamber leadership programs is one of those traditions. Opportunity Greenville is a wonderful segue program for our staff and seniors, as well as for team members who join us from outside the Greenville area. But the schedule of a CPA is based on client needs, and a commitment to a five-week program is not always feasible.
Four years ago, we explored the possibility of a one-day program to accommodate our summer interns and new team members. IGNITE was the perfect solution – our own personalized condensed version of Opportunity Greenville.
To date, more than 100 of our employees and interns have experienced IGNITE – and the feedback is tremendous. When we recruit top talent to our firm, it is important for them to understand all that living in Greenville has to offer. Opportunity Greenville provides a thorough overview of the inner workings of our city. We want them to understand they have chosen to work in a city with a vibrant arts community, an approachable local government, strategic plans for economic development and an abundance of avenues for performing community service. We want them to know they haven’t chosen simply a job, but a firm that enjoys a solid partnership with the local business community.
Launching the program with a presentation on the history of our city provides a broad base on which to build the day. Even those born and raised in Greenville are amazed at how many new things they learn about their native city. It can be quite humbling to discover our roots as a textile town and how we reinvented ourselves.
The innovative topics, combined with the caliber of speakers, makes for an incredibly informative event. Speakers from community theatres, non-profit organizations and local government provide up-to-date overviews of what is happening in our city – and how we can become personally engaged.
The fan-favorite session every year is the interaction with law enforcement. We intentionally schedule their panel discussion right before the lunch break and we invite the officers to stay and share the meal with the attendees. The camaraderie that occurs during this time forges positive relationships on both sides of the thin blue line.
IGNITE is a perfect option for us for those who cannot enroll in Opportunity Greenville, but it is in no way a replacement. On average, 3 to 4 team members enroll each year for the full-sized version and their reviews of the program are always positive. The added benefit is the opportunity to network with like-minded business people from a variety of companies located in our community.
Both Opportunity Greenville and IGNITE are excellent programs for any Greenville business looking to be more fully engaged with our city and our chamber. It’s the one time each year that having a group of rowdy police officers on site is a positive experience for all.
Cindy Dorn is the Community Relationship Manager at Elliott Davis Decosimo. Learn more about them at: http://www.elliottdavis.com/