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The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the community serving more than 1,000 member businesses through programming designed to help them succeed and grow. A partner in the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance, the Chamber also serves as Greensboro primary economic development organization, with special emphasis placed on community and entrepreneurial advancement through Action Greensboro and Launch Greensboro.



september 2017

a greensboro chamber of commerce publication

Publisher Brent Christensen

Growing Greensboro’s Next Generation of Leaders

Editor/Graphic Designer Megan Mabry

Leadership Greensboro celebrates its 40th anniversary with the class of 2018

Cover and Table of Contents Photography by VanderVeen Photographers Advertising Kathleen Donohue


Minority Buinsess Accelerator opens new doors

grow is published quarterly by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce for the distribution to its investors, members, and other interested parties. The publication is written and edited by the Chamber and editorial decisions are made by its staff. The views expressed in grow should not be interpreted as the official policy of the Chamber. The publisher reserves the right to decline advertising considered unsuitable for publication.

Sometimes lack of access is the biggest barrier to business. The Minority Business Accelerator is working to break down those walls.


growing greensboro’s next generation of leaders By Eddie Huffman Other Voices is a communitybuilding experience designed to examine the roots of prejudice. It started as a Leadership Greensboro project. Same goes for the Greensboro Children’s Museum and Guilford County Schools’ Teacher Supply Warehouse. Leadership Greensboro celebrates its 40th anniversary this year as its latest group prepares to start classes in September. Once again, participants will work together to make the community better. “The main goal is to create a

leader-rich community from a broad and diverse group of people,” said Niketa Greene, who became program director of Leadership Greensboro in June. “In addition to that, there’s a goal for those people to continue to lead, to fulfill leadership roles throughout the community.” The nine-month program begins each year by selecting up to 45 participants from local applicants. Key components of Leadership Greensboro include development programs at the Center for Creative Leadership and teams that work on community projects. The first Leadership Greensboro class finished in 1977. Recent


grads and veteran participants agree the program expands horizons and creates lasting bonds.

Reid Phillips, a member of Leadership Greensboro’s Class of 1989, is a managing partner of Brooks Pierce, a law firm with offices in Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington. “What it did for me that I don’t think could have happened any other way were those trips where we got to see the landfill, the hospital, the university, an elementary school,” he said. “They really, really opened my eyes to so much of what goes on in our community that’s

important, but you don’t see and you don’t think about everyday.” The Leadership Greensboro experience inspired one of his classmates, Robbie Perkins, to run for City Council, Phillips said. Perkins later became mayor. Kristin Sanecki, an executive assistant with VF Corporation, is a member of the Class of 2016 who served as a program chair for this year’s class. She is a Texas native who moved to Greensboro from Boston, and she wanted to meet new people after a decade here. “We kind of stay in our lanes,” she said. “We know the people at work, at our kids schools, at church or wherever we are, but I wanted to do something that would put me in front of people I wouldn’t otherwise have crossed paths with.” Manuel Dudley of the Class of 2011, dean of the Greensboro campus of Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC), values the networking connections he made through Leadership Greensboro. His group worked with the United Way on recruiting youth volunteers for the Red Cross. “I think what makes Leadership Greensboro so unique is that Greensboro has a legacy of activism leadership, and the non-profit community is thriving here,” Dudley said. “I think that improves the types of activities that are done, because when you talk about leadership, it’s nice to be in a city where there’s leadership experience and things you can pull from like the Greensboro Four or the Quaker community. Or the non-profit

organizations that are here and thriving: The Community Foundation, Action Greensboro.” Peter Pappas, an attorney with Nexsen Pruet, is a Class of 1993 alumnus and a member of the Leadership Greensboro advisory board. “It’s a really good learning experience,” he said. “The things you learn about the city you continue to use, even all these many years after you graduated.”

“I met a lot of different people in the city that are interested in contributing to the greater good moving forward, and learning how the city operates,” he said. “How decisions are made in the government here, and getting a behind-the-scenes look at a lot of different businesses and services offered in Greensboro.”

Nate Boler, a senior financial analyst with the VF Foundation, is a member of this year’s class. Like Sanecki, he decided to continue as a program chair. Boler’s team worked on a feasibility study for Reading Connections, an adult literacy program.

Want to learn more? Leadership Greensboro accepts applications in the Spring for classes begining in the Fall. Email Program Director, Niketa Greene for more information about the application process. Pictured : Leadership Greensboro Class of 2017 enjoying Diversity Day (left) and Entrepreneurship Day (above). Photos by Greensboro Chamber.


If you attended August’s State of Our Community luncheon, you are already “in the know,” but if you didn’t, here are a few facts about our community that might be new to you. But these don’t tell the whole story... use #whyGSO to tell us why you “heart” Greensboro and we might feature you in an upcoming campaign.

• Greensboro and Guilford County are ranked #1 in North Carolina and #4 in the Southeast for advanced manufacturing. • There are 90 miles of trails and greenways throughout our city making Greensboro #4 on a list of hidden outdoor meccas in the US by • For female business owners, all cities are not created equal. Greensboro was ranked #9 on WalletHub’s list of the Top 100 cities in the US for women entrepreneurs. We also place in the Top 10 cities to start a business and the Top 10 with lowest startup costs. • It’s not surprising that a city steeped in Revolutionary War history would have an awesome 4th of July celebration. Ours places us in the Top 25 with cities like Philadelphia and D.C. • Watch too much HGTV and think it looks easy? Greensboro lands in the Top 10 for best places to flip a house. • Greensboro is the 5th most statisfying city in the world for drivers - only beat by 4 mid-sized French cities. • We are as diverse as we are passionate about our community. Greensboro is #9 out of Metro Areas that Most Resemble the US. Our students in Guilford County Schools speak more than 100 languages and dialects from around the globe.



Put our problem solvers to work for your business with student project and recruiting opportunities. Bramley Crisco, Employer Relations 336.334.4159 or


CC Lamberth, President (right) and Mitchell Donnell, Superintendent (left) of C2 Contractors, LLC.

access granted:

Minority Business Accelerator opens new doors By Eddie Huffman

Sometimes lack of access is the biggest barrier to business. The Minority Business Accelerator created by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce is working to break down that barrier and open up access. Minority-owned businesses may have a hard time getting

access to another company because they have no history of working together, says Joyce Gorham-Worsley, the Chamber’s vice president for diversity and inclusion. “You do businesses with the familiar,” she says. “If you’ve got a project that needs to be done, then you’re going to go with a company you’ve done business


with in the past. With the Minority Business Accelerator, we’re like a liaison.”

The Minority Business Accelerator, or MBA for short, was established two years ago. The aim was to pair companies with high demand for goods and services, such as Cone Health and VF Corporation (dubbed Goal Setter Companies), with

minority-owned businesses ready to supply certain needs (dubbed Portfolio Companies). GP Supply Company is one of those Portfolio Companies. It distributes mechanical, industrial and plumbing PVF supplies. Since becoming part of the MBA program, GP Supply has made important new connections, according to the company’s owner and CEO, Antonio Wallace. “One, I think it has done a great job of helping me develop a network of other small and minority-owned companies,” he said. “Two, we’re beginning to get traction with the demandside companies. We were able to get a significant sale from VF Corporation.” The establishment of the MBA in Greensboro was inspired by the Chamber’s InterCity Visit to Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2015, according to Kathi Lester, the Chamber’s Executive Vice President for Member Engagement. A task force was assembled that studied the minority business development programs in Chattanooga and two other cities: Cincinnati, Ohio, and Greenville, S.C. The Cincinnati model was chosen as one to try in Greensboro. “They had more of the demand side and the supply side, and they had a specific effort to help match companies that could support it,” Lester said. “They got some of the largest employers in Cincinnati to participate, such as Procter and Gamble.” The task force was led by Frankie T. Jones Jr., a partner with the Greensboro law firm Smith

Moore Leatherwood, and Joe Bryant II, a human resources generalist with VF Corporation. “The real focus of group was figuring out what we could do and what that would look like,” Jones says. Ultimately the task force settled on a vision (“To make Greensboro the nation’s No. 1 destination for minority entrepreneurs to grow and develop their business”) and purpose for the MBA (“to foster the growth of local, ethnic minority-owned businesses and to expand the region’s minority entrepreneurial business sector”). Four companies were chosen as Goal Setters: BB&T, Cone Health, Duke Energy and VF. Twelve companies were chosen as Portfolio companies:

C2 Contractors, Century Products, Core Technology Molding Corporation, Corporate Distribution Services, Critek Engineering Group, GP Supply Company, NorAg Technology, R&R Transportation, Reyes Supply Company, Southeast Fuels, SRS Inc., and United Maintenance Group. For Wallace, the MBA is about more than just boosting his business or any other individual business. “I always look for the mutually beneficial type situations,” he says. “It’s not just what was good for my company, but what was good for the city and what’s good for the community. Everybody knows that small businesses drive a lot of local economies – and the U.S. Economy overall.”

Want to learn more? Check out our website for more information on our twelve Portfolio companies. Interested in joining the list? Email Joyce Gorham-Worsley to find out how. Pictured above: Mayor Nancy Vaughan, Geoff Foster, CEO/President of Core Technology Molding Corp., and Councilwoman Sharon Hightower at the groundbreaking for Core Technology Molding Corp’s expansion at Gateway University Research Park.




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grow Magazine - September 2017  

Check out our latest issue featuring Leadership Greensboro and the Minority Business Accelerator