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Opportunity of a Lifetime, to Make a Difference in My Lifetime

Posted by: Greenville Chamber on Friday, September 27, 2013
Growing up in Greenville has afforded me the firsthand experience of what economic development looks like. The Greenville I knew 10 years ago has transformed into destination that I love telling my friends about. Now as a recent college graduate from USC Upstate, I am in the ongoing process of planting myself in the professional community of Greenville. Some major themes that I have observed are the significance of your network and importance of volunteering. Volunteerism and relationship building run in my blood because of my past experiences and growing passion for serving others. At the end of May, I was made aware of an awesome opportunity. That opportunity led me to pursue my current appointment as the AmeriCorps VISTA here at the Greenville Chamber. The purpose of AmeriCorps VISTA is to “supplement efforts to fight poverty in low-income communities by engaging Americans from all walks of life in a full-time service.” At the Chamber, I serve as the Manager of Diversity Programs. The position aligns indirectly with AmeriCorps VISTA but complements the mission well. The Chamber’s CAPACITY initiative advances diversity and inclusion which helps develop the economy by creating jobs and opportunities for minorities. I started my role at the Chamber on the 3rd of June. The following week, I was serving as the Volunteer Coordinator at NETnight, our quarterly networking opportunity for diverse professionals. In my role that night, I managed the efforts of the volunteers and Connectors to help ensure our guests had an effective networking experience. I’d never participated in an event of its kind, but I immediately understood the importance of this type of gathering in our community. That night I was able to meet people I may have never had access to. Also I was able to meet people new to the area looking to get connected. The Connector’s role is to engage all of the attendees so that they meet new people and fulfill their networking goal for the evening. A couple of my day to day tasks include managing the Diversity Leadership Pipeline (DLP) and writing grants for the Minority Business Accelerator (MBA). The DLP exists to advance women and minorities in leadership roles throughout the Greenville community. In short, this program connects approximately 700 qualified diverse professionals to over 50 organizations who are looking to fill volunteer leadership positions and board seats. The MBA accelerates the development of high potential minority business enterprises (MBEs) to strengthen and expand the regional entrepreneurial community. It grows the success of disadvantaged organizations through business development services, mentoring, and access to large corporations for partnership opportunities. It is a privilege to be able to submit grant applications to raise funds for such a great program. When I first started, Nika White, the Chamber’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion told me that this work is a journey and not a destination. As I have absorbed all that I’ve been exposed to so far, I have come to see how important that statement is. Of course you want to benchmark, track and measure, but you also want to be sure that you’re not only metrics-driven but people-driven. This experience has afforded me many opportunities and I’m grateful to be a part of efforts that have such high potential to make significant community impact. Because of this opportunity with the Chamber, I see myself as a lifelong connector to drive success in my life and in the lives of others, for the sake of inclusion. Learn more about CAPACITY, Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Follow CAPACITY on Twitter Like CAPACITY on Facebook Check out the CAPACITY YouTube Channel

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