Small Business Expanding

When I ran for office, I promised to focus on economic development and downtown revitalization. Success stories from small business owners like Ms. Hall show the results of those efforts–the results of your vote for me and my colleagues who pledged the same.

As this article explains, “The small batch operation has been running smoothly and Simpsonville has embraced it with open arms. The only challenges so far, Hall said, have been related to pandemic-driven supply chain issues, making it difficult to find the kind of bottles she needs or certain ingredients. But she’s found ways to overcome those obstacles.”

Business is good in Simpsonville. And that’s good for our economy, for our citizens, and for our city.

MEO Advanced Graduation

Today I graduated from the Advanced Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government. My coursework included Advanced Advocacy and Intergovernmental Relations, Advanced Leadership and Governance, Advanced Municipal Economic Development, Advanced Budgeting and Finance, and Public Safety Policy and Administration. This ongoing professional development helps me effectively serve our city and its residents. I look forward to learning more and applying those lessons to my work in Simpsonville.

Honor Roll

The few, the proud: out of 271 municipalities in SC, only 18 are on the Municipal Association honor roll. And we’re one of them! That represents our Council’s commitment to continuous learning, so we can best serve our city. Here today to keep learning! #HLAD2023

We’re Better Together!

We’re better together! That’s my philosophy–one that’s shared by my friends at Greater Good Greenville . Tonight we gathered to celebrate the partnerships between elected officials and nonprofits, funders, and community. I am proud to have been an early guest with Katy Pugh Smith and Mark Steenback on the Simple Civics: Greenville County podcast. With 47,000 downloads, the podcast has been a great way to help people be more engaged with their local government. That’s a win in my book! But partnerships always are. When I ran for office in 2015, I called for improved partnerships and better collaboration. And here we are–working together, not just for a better Simpsonville, but for a better Greenville County. Here we are, working together for the greater good.

It’s always good to see my friends and partners from Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County (Noel Brooks & Gail Peay). We’re planning the Woodside Park neighborhood block party together to celebrate that successful partnership, which resulted in 13 new affordable homes in Simpsonville. We’re better together.

Raising the Wall on the last home in Woodside Mills

“To give much is to receive much.” Tri-Sigma (my sorority)

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV)

“I like to think of us as givers, so I know that when we receive a blessing, we’ll be able to pass it on.” Denny Salgado (future homeowner)

I have no doubt that’s true. All of it. In this case, the Salgado Family isn’t given a home, though. They earned it. What they were given was…

🏡 Opportunity.
🏡 Hope.
🏡 Support.

I talk about what we, Simpsonville, receive as a result of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County that brought the Salgado family to our city. Watch my full remarks at the Salgado family wall-raising here:

Honored to speak at the wall-raising for the Salgado family
With Noel Brooks of Habitat for Humanity Greenville

Simple Civics: Greenville County

Bright and early this morning, Mark Steenback of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County and I joined Nathaniel and Katy to record an episode of the Simple Civics: Greenville County podcast. We talked about mutually beneficial partnerships between local governments and non-profits. We’re better together! Through collaboration, we create positive change that supports the social and economic well-being of our community. This is exactly the kind of partnership I was talking about when I campaigned for #OneSimpsonville back in 2015. Now that vision is reality as evidenced by our partnership with Habitat. And we really are better together. Stay tuned for details on when our episode goes live!

CEO Build

It was an honor to speak at the Habitat for Humanity CEO Build, where we celebrated ten years of Greenville County leaders coming together to support families seeking strength and stability through homeownership.  Leaders from every sector were present: higher education, non-profits, community organizations, foundations, and big businesses. It was an amazing collection of leaders. So what did I talk about in front of this group of CEOs? Leadership, of course. Here, in part, is what I said: You can read books on leadership, do webinars, take classes…even get a doctorate in leadership. But none of that makes someone a good leader. You see good leaders through their actions. And we saw a lot of good leaders this week—people committed to improving our community. I talked about what I think are some of the most important traits of good leaders: 1) They have vision. They see what is and see how it could be better; 2) they are willing to take [calculated] risks, to go out on a limb, try something different or scary or a little crazy; 3) they know that to make the vision a reality they need to rally the troops, to put together a team of the right people to make it happen. I suggested everyone there had, at some point, displayed these qualities—after all, this was a group of Greenville’s best leaders.  But then I also told them that I think the two strongest leaders there were Aziz Abdelmalak and Demetria Sherman, the future homeowners. Both have a vision for their futures. Aziz’s vision is “new life,” And Demetria’s is “peace.”  They took risks to make that vision reality: Demetria went back to college, and Aziz and his family left their home in Egypt in search of asylum in America. And they both recognized that they couldn’t achieve their vision alone—they needed the right team to make it reality. They turned to their churches, friends, and eventually Habitat. And with the right team in place, they’re almost there. Almost—which brings me to a fourth trait of good leaders: they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty. And that’s what this group of CEOs and Aziz and Demetria are about to do as they have now raised the walls on their future homes and begin the build process.  Soon, we will have two new amazing leaders in our Ward 3 community. How lucky we are to have these families call our city “Simply Home.” 


Stay #SimplyHome This Weekend!

“In Simpsonville, South Carolina, folks have a valid reason to stay in town. What is that reason, you ask?”

In his recent article, Jamie Sanderson says it’s Warehouse at Vaughn’s . And that’s a good one, for sure! But I’d argue that’s just one of many reasons to stay #SimplyHome rather than taking your weekend spending money elsewhere! In my 2015 campaign launch speech, I told you my vision for downtown. In part, I said, I wanted it to be “a place where people say hey, it’s the weekend! Let’s go down to Simpsonville and spend the day… there’s a lot to do; it’s a great place to be.” Mission accomplished?

Read Jamie’s full article here (try not to drool on the amazing food photos! 😋):

Highlights from the campaign speech by a younger, blonder me:

Habitat Women Build

It was an honor to speak at the dedication of this year’s Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County Women Build home right here in Simpsonville! This is the house that women built! 156 women came together to complete over 800 hours of work to build this home for Lorraine, Nathan, and Alex. Proud to be one of them. Women build. They build houses and homes and families…they build the world. They build the future. But women don’t just build. We know you have to nurture and support what you’ve built if you want it to not just survive but thrive. Women nurture and support. Women don’t just build. Women sustain. Women sustain in the face of adversity and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They do it with hard work, strength, and bravery. And so shall Lorraine, who has already demonstrated she’s hard-working, strong, and brave. See the video for my full remarks: