What is something within your area of focus you are particularly paying attention to heading into 2021? Why?
As a legislator, I have been focused on education. Covid has consumed much of my attention in 2020. It has also only highlighted the issues within education in SC. The states that are able to capitalize off the disruption will improve relative to other states. The states that cannot will suffer. – Neal Collins
Pundits and consultants are now saying that mid-size communities like Greenville will actually benefit from the ‘de-urbanization’ trend initiated by COVID 19. We were already growing at an historic rate and these projections may create an even greater demand from folks fleeing the density of bigger cities in favor of places like the Upstate. The need for consistent and sustainable land use planning is critical. If we do not develop more reasonable land use patterns, we will jeopardize the very quality of life that we now enjoy and others find attractive. – Mark Farris
I am curious about various organization’s return to office space and what changes may occur with floorplans going forward. Adoption of at-home work, in part or 100%, how does open space change, furniture needs change, wellness minded improvements at the office, focus on cleanliness and all the cost associated with these changes are all very interesting to me. – David Feild
For obvious reasons, we are paying attention to what is happening with the virus spread and the intensity of the cases. This impacts our business from many avenues including a claims standpoint, providers ability to treat our members, as well as our groups ability to continue to grow and remain a viable business. Throughout the pandemic it has become apparent that the need to have access to telehealth will remain and this could be an area of growth for our providers, as patients and providers find the convenience of this method of care distribution to be easier and allows the access to be greater. – Angie Gossett
Headed into 2021 our organization will be focused on the 2021 South Carolina Legislative Session, which begins in January. Legislative advocacy is the primary focus of SCMA, and there are a number of issues we will be engaged on ranging from workforce and education to economic development and regulatory issues. We need to ensure that South Carolina’s competitive business climate remains strong, that we are cultivating and supporting our future and current workforce, and that we are always thinking one step ahead on behalf of our state’s manufacturing industry. – Sara Hazzard
We are eyeing the speed at which a vaccine is available to the public at-large. In most audience surveys conducted by arts organizations, many individuals stated that they will feel comfortable returning to arts events at the level they did prior to COVID-19 when a vaccine is available. While we of course are paying attention to further monetary and policy COVID relief for the arts industry, the vaccine is the one item that gets arts groups back to “normal”. – G.P. McLeer
In 2021, I will be paying close attention to small businesses and entrepreneurial support. 2020 has been a very challenging year for local, small businesses and has required many adjustments in the way they operate. Although many have been successful at staying afloat, I know there are educational opportunities and resources we can offer to help them better prepare for their future as a small business owner. I understand the importance of these businesses to the character and unique offerings in our communities. – Amanda Munyan
Education/public secondary – virtual opportunities for secondary education students is an area of interest that I am particularly paying attention to as we move forward. – Mamie Nicholson
Product Development. The recent wave of economic activity in the southeast remains an oracle of what is to come, with residential, commercial and industrial development. The Upstate needs to remain mindful of key industrial properties that will need to be preserved in and among other sectors. Without the ability to recruit quality jobs and investment in our future, our overall growth will be limited. – Katherine O’Neill
The Piedmont Health Foundation has long been focused on improving transit in Greenville County. The pandemic reminded us that transit is essential for essential workers. Greenlink’s ridership didn’t drop nearly as much as many larger communities because its riders are so much more dependent on bus service. At the same time, Greenville’s population has continued to grow – even in 2020 as people moved here from larger cities. So we believe that the work Greenlink staff have done to improve services and plan for the future will be even more vital going forward. – Katy Smith
Business operations and construction growth in the market. – Chuck Saylors
Overall business recovery, employment rates, eviction rates because these factors will impact our ability to raise funds and the level of need in our community. – Paige Stephenson
Has the raised awareness and discussions around racial equity and social justice impacted your business or area of interest? If so, how and what is the ongoing result?
This is a journey Prisma Health has been on for years. However, the raised awareness has really created the opportunity for more open conversation. It is a great culture to instill and get people out of their comfort zone to be able to talk and more importantly…LISTEN AND HEAR! The journey has been one of education. However, the raised awareness has allowed for not just education, but practice. I am very pleased with our progress of learning, understanding and curiosity to continue working toward the full appreciation of one another coming from different backgrounds, situations and circumstances. What a wonderful thing as we can all learn from one another to ultimately get to our common goals and achieve the missions and purposes of our organizations. We all have a lot of healing to do, but we can do this together…as one people, one nation, but it HAS to be done with intentionality and purpose. Again, I am very pleased with progress within Prisma Health thus far, but as with any improvement, we have work to do…TOGETHER! – Justin Benfield
The raised awareness regarding racial equity and social justice has definitely impacted the factors which I consider when approaching a policy decision. For instance, we created a permanent position within the Sheriff’s office to manage cultural diversity issues. In the past, I have been focused on those who were the loudest (i.e. “squeaky wheels”), but I now understand that some groups in our community are so marginalized that they do not even have the energy to speak up; it is the marginalized and the downtrodden that need our attention the most. – Paul Cain
Racial Justice and Equity took center stage for several weeks early in the summer as Clemson Football Players organized a peaceful march, in which we participated, after the deaths of George Floyd and Briana Taylor. It was also the catalyst for the formation of a community group called CURE – Clemson United for Race Equity – which has continued to meet and is laying the groundwork for a series of community wide discussions on racial justice and equity. – Susan Cohen
Yes, in the political world, I would think one has to have blinders on to not be thinking about racial equity and social justice. I hope to do my part in continuing to raise awareness and hopefully having some legislative impact in this area. – Neal Collins
Yes – the awareness and discussions around racial equity and social justice have greatly affected the work in which I am involved in both private foundations and non-profits. This will be an ongoing conversation and will result in the way entities in which I am involved allocate funds. – Minor Shaw
Yes, it has been a component of our work. It has now being approached in a much more intentional manner. We are having different conversations within our team and at our board meetings and are developing a plan to operate as a more equitable organization. We have instituted an annual race equity training for our board and team members. Equity measures will be a stated measure in our investment decisions. By July 2021, we will have a formal anti-racism statement that will be publicly posted and guide how we operate. – Paige Stephenson
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