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Charleston Business

Charleston Business Magazine's 2020 Best & Brightest 35 and Under

Now in its 3rd year, our annual Best & Brightest 35 and Under issue celebrates the women and men who are rising stars in the business community.

Even though they have many more years in the workplace, these Best & Brightest have made an impact at their businesses and in our community.

In the following pages, discover those we consider to be the most influential young leaders of the year.   

The 2020 Best & Brightest 35 and Under is sponsored by BB&T (now Truist) and Synovus.

Please join us in saluting these future leaders. 





Jen Ashley

Founder

Jen Ashley Creative, LLC

Age: 28

Bio: If I had waited for the right time to leave my job and start working for myself, it probably would have never happened. Instead, this summer - amidst the chaos that is 2020 - I chose to lean into all of the uncertainty and do just that.

I started my career as a TV news producer - first at WCSC in Charleston - then WSOC in Charlotte. That experience led me to an Emmy nomination, a penchant for covering breaking news and a deep appreciation for the newsroom coffeemaker (overnight shifts are tough). Following that, I spent over two years at CHStoday, where I helped launch a daily newsletter and grow its following to reach a combined audience of 100,000+ subscribers and social media followers.

Today, as the founder of Jen Ashley Creative, I work directly with clients like the International African American Museum (opening in Charleston in 2022), Vantage Point Foundation (a South Carolina-based nonprofit serving post-9/11 veterans), artist Susan Irish and more to shape their digital voice and form deeper connections within the communities they serve.


What is your favorite quote?

It’s a Greek proverb that translates to “make haste, slowly.” Hard work pays off, sure - but it means nothing if you’re too focused on the hustle to enjoy the journey.


Who was your most influential mentor?

YiaYia, my grandmother - she’s the matriarch of our family and taught me to never settle for less than what I want. She instilled in me the value of education, family and cooking with olive oil.


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Don’t worry so much about the future and having a “five-year plan.” Living for your present self and taking life day by day is far more important than worrying about a tomorrow that you, ultimately, have very little control over. Also, stop cutting your own bangs.





Juwan Ayers

Commercial Banking Relationship Manager

Synovus Bank

Age: 24

 Bio: As a native of Columbia, I have dedicated my life to the service of others, specifically in underserved communities. Since graduating from South Carolina State University in 2017, I have served as a commercial underwriter and now commercial banker at Synovus Bank. 

Since 2018, I have had the opportunity to serve in various community organizations such as Columbia Urban League Young Professionals and Columbia Opportunity Resource. In 2019, I joined the board at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs, Midlands Business Leadership Group Board Diversity Task Force and Education Council for United Way of the Midlands. In 2020, I graduated from Leadership South Carolina and became a cofounder of the African American Employee Resource Group with Synovus. In each position, I’ve learned the importance of servant-leadership and purpose for community involvement. In the future, I would like to hold an executive leadership role that will position me to continue to serve the community. With the help of God, my wife and family, I believe that these things are possible.


Who was your most influential mentor?

My dad, John F. Ayers.


What advice would you give your 

18-year-old self?

Where you are will position you for where you are going.





Jacob Berton

CEO

Rheos Nautical Eyewear

Age: 34

 Bio: I’ve always believed the best of us comes to life outdoors. And for me, that is never truer than on the water. So it’s no surprise that I’ve been drawn toward the water and outdoors in my career. 

I started a digital marketing company in 2008 and led the organization for seven years through to acquisition by Havas Media, working with small and regional business clients as well as global brands like Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, and the Olympic Athlete’s Village. I served on the board of Extra Special People in Watkinsville, Ga., where I witnessed the true meaning of selfless servant leadership from the board and executive team.

Most recently, my wife Becca and I launched Rheos Nautical Eyewear after losing countless sunglasses to a watery grave while traveling the country in a 1981 Airstream. In solving this problem through floatable eyewear, we’ve also had the opportunity to give back as members of 1% for the Planet. We regularly host beach sweeps and cleanups, and we’re proud to give back to the coast we call home.


What is your favorite quote? 

Focus on the habits; enjoy the results.


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? 

Everyone you meet knows something you don’t. Keep learning!


Who was your most influential mentor? 

Forgive the cliche but when it’s true, it’s true: my parents.





Tarah Boyleston

Marketing Director

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit

Age: 29

 Bio: I have always had a passion for creating–whether it’s bright and beautiful packaging, the perfectly styled photo or letterpress stationery. After graduating with my B.F.A. from Winthrop University, I started my Charleston career as a graphic designer at The Lettered Olive, a boutique letterpress company by Tara Guérard Soirée. After four years, I decided to start freelancing as a designer and photo stylist full-time. I was lucky to have built relationships with small businesses in the community, many of them female-owned. Seeing them grow is one of the reasons I continue to love Charleston and its influential community of creators.

Today, I am the marketing director at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, and I continue to practice design and photo styling, rebranding the 15-year-old handmade biscuit company this past March. I look forward to continuing to lead Callie’s marketing efforts while enjoying life in the Lowcountry with my husband. When the pandemic is over, I hope to continue to host monthly networking happy hours (started in 2017) with women in the workforce. It’s an honor to receive this recognition as one of the Best & Brightest 35 and Under from Charleston Business Magazine.

 

What is your favorite quote?

“Find people who will make you better.” 

  - Michelle Obama


Who was your most 

influential mentor?

I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by talented female creators my entire life, from my mom, to my aunts, friends and past and present bosses.

 

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Stay humble and hungry. If it intimidates you, it will make you stronger.







Amber Brown

Program Officer

Coastal Community Foundation of S.C.

Age: 25

 Bio: People’s transformation and healing are my passion. I graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in psychology and from The Citadel with a master’s degree in school psychology. 

I bring research skills, empathy, critical thinking and passion for people’s thriving to work every day. With a myriad of responsibilities including equitable evaluation of the foundation’s initiatives, leading the work of our public policy agenda, and managing a small grant-making portfolio, I continue to challenge the status quo daily. That “good trouble” has placed me on stages in our region to talk about my work and allowed me to produce a nationally published article on bringing equity into practice in the nonprofit sector.

Born and reared in South Carolina, I have a deep-seated love of all things Southern with a keen eye towards the ways the South needs to change. That’s what giving back to my community is all about. It’s appreciating what already exists and the history that created it, while finding creative solutions to make our lives more vibrant and meaningful.


What is your favorite quote?

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

 - James Baldwin


Who was your most influential mentor? 

At the risk of sounding cliche, my mother is my most influential mentor. Overcoming poverty, abandonment, abuse, and the lack of a formal college education, she has amassed a successful business career, raised four children and made a lasting impact on all she encounters. Her tenacity and wisdom continue to serve as a guiding light for me.





Austin Burris

Director of Acquisitions

Burroughs & Chapin Co.

Age: 29

Bio: As director of acquisitions at Burroughs & Chapin Co., my main responsibility is to study emerging markets and source retail and multifamily opportunities that fit our investment profile. Having been in business for over 100 years, our primary goals consist of owning and managing a best-in-class portfolio of experiential retail and multifamily properties in selected markets throughout the Southeast.

Prior to Burroughs & Chapin, I worked with Twin Rivers Capital in Charleston specializing in the development of single tenant retail for national brands like Family Dollar, AutoZone, and Dunkin Donuts. I finished my undergraduate degree in 2013 and added an MBA in 2016, both from Clemson University. While at Clemson, I worked as an undergraduate assistant on the football team for three seasons.

Outside of my professional career in real estate, I am entering my sixth season as a high school football official with the SCHSL. As an official, I love being able to help give the students in our area an opportunity to compete and build character at the highest level. I am currently working on my own aspirations of advancing this career to the college level and ultimately the NFL. Additionally, I am a volunteer firefighter with the Sullivan’s Island Fire Department. Being able to help members of the community in their most dire moments of need is one of the most gratifying roles I can imagine.


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Always have goals, large and small, and never lose focus on them. Don’t be afraid to take a risk or go down a route that may scare you  — it’s in these experiences where you will grow the most as an individual.






Brooks Courtney

Associate

Bridge Commercial

Age: 26

 

Bio: Graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2017, I made a move to Charleston to continue my career in real estate. Having previously worked in the residential field, with Bridge I found my passion for commercial real estate.

As a commercial real estate broker, I focus on identifying and solving the greatest issues our clients face in their interaction and use of their space. Recently I obtained the SIOR Member Associate designation, a professional designation of the highest level of knowledge, production, and ethics in the industrial and office real estate industry. I have been fortunate to work with such a great team on exciting and noteworthy projects that have gained us the recognition as a Costar Powerbroker for both Q1 and Q2 of 2020.

In 2019 I started the Charleston Young Brokers network which is an informal networking group for those young brokers in our market getting started to meet and voice questions to their peers who have had similar experiences. We focus on fostering an early and continuing sense of integrity in the market as we grow our careers together.

When I am not in the office, I spend my time sharing my love of sporting clays through my role as an assistant coach for the Porter Gaud High School sporting clays team. Additionally, I serve on the advisory board for the Storm Eye Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina.


What is your favorite quote?

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”     

  - Randy Pausch


Who was your most influential mentor?

Jeff Moore (Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s)


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Life is short and there is little time to gladden the hearts of those who go the journey with us, so be quick to love and make haste to be kind.





Thomas Dippold

Hotel Manager

Emeline

Age: 27

 Bio: My hospitality career started at the age of 15 when I was accepted into the Culinary Arts Program at Tollgate Career & Technical Center of Warwick, R.I. I was privileged to spend the next three years learning the fundamentals of cooking and baking, along with the choreographed finesse required to create a seamless dining room experience for guests. With the support of two amazing chefs, I placed in a culinary competition at Monroe College in New Rochelle, N.Y., where I received not only a scholarship, but also an invitation to compete for their culinary team.

Several years after my acceptance, I graduated with a bachelor’s in hospitality management accompanied by a minor in culinary management, and ultimately, a world filled with opportunity. I was honored to start my career at the Pierre Hotel in New York City where we attained the coveted Five-Star accolade from Forbes Travel. This led me to the legendary Ritz-Carlton Boston overlooking the Public Garden where I was impassioned to enliven the “Gold Standard” of hospitality.

I traded my winter coat for flip flops as I moved to Florida and joined the operations team of the Miami Beach Edition hotel under the tutelage of the notorious Ian Schrager (father of boutique hotels). Palm Trees turned to honky-tonks when I accepted a role at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. - a historic landmark that embodies the true meaning of luxury. If these travels were not enough, two plane rides and a four-hour drive to a staggering 8,000-foot elevation later, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to open the first North American Alpine W Escape on the top of Aspen Mountain, where the affluent came to play.

All the training and experiences, along with the personal connections I made throughout my early career, led me to Charleston with what has been my proudest moment, opening Emeline as the hotel manager. We have the opportunity to let in a little light during these unusually dark times by providing guests and locals alike the warmth of true genuine Southern hospitality. Creating enchanting memories for our guests engenders a feeling of hope, which leads to continued community outreach and support for local charitable organizations; simply put, our purpose is to empower those around us. We are proud to be Charleston and look forward to the positive change set before us.

 

Who was your most influential mentor?

Frank Constantino, Bill Spinner, John Sullivan and Brad Harvey


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Be vulnerable and always be open to feedback.





Liam Duffy

Trial Lawyer

Yarborough Applegate

Age: 30

 Bio: As a natural-born competitor, being a trial lawyer was the perfect calling. Every day I wake up with a relentless drive to improve the lives of my clients and others by championing the ideals of justice in courtrooms across South Carolina and beyond.

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., to parents who devoted much of their lives to public service and advocating for those without a voice. They taught me the importance of working tirelessly, uplifting others and fighting for what is right — no matter the circumstances.

Today, I represent people from all walks of life in some of their darkest hours of need. Usually they (or a family member) have been seriously injured or killed by no fault of their own and are often facing powerful and well-connected forces. I strive to level the playing field by providing elite-level representation and never resting until I’ve done all I can to help.

Being a lawyer has also afforded me countless opportunities to give back to the community. Through my involvement with the SC Bar Young Lawyers Division, I’ve had the pleasure of serving alongside wonderful organizations like Cocky’s Reading Express, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish®, and many others. I am currently the chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the South Carolina Association for Justice,  a member of the James L. Petigru Inn of Court, and president of the Charleston Lawyers Club.

I am a proud product of the College of Charleston and a summa cum laude graduate of the Charleston School of Law. Away from work, my fiance Adelie and I love traveling and exploring all things culinary.


Who was your most influential mentor?

My father, Stephen Duffy.


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Practice patience. Focus on the process and things within your control. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Forgive yourself and others. And remember that success is “the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.”





Nicole Sain Flemming

Criminal Justice Counsel Manager 

and Certified Medical Assistant

American Civil Liberties Union

Age: 36

Bio: The ONE word that best defines who Nicole Sain Flemming is: UNSTOPPABLE!

Volunteering is and has always been my life. My advocacy and work within the healthcare industry are not just professions to me; they are way more than that. I am a Certified Medical Assistant, working to receive my master’s degree in criminal justice.

I amplify my voice by speaking up for those who cannot be heard. All of my hard work and dedication is put into helping those in our community get the justice, civil liberties and rights that they deserve, which are also guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

My voice for criminal justice reform has given me HONORABLE positions with the American Civil Liberties Union and Families Against Mandatory Minimum. I will not stop until my voice creates change within the justice system! 

It takes a while to realize what advocacy adds to living — to have someone like me on your side who is especially good at giving; but those who share this blessing know what I am worth and wouldn’t trade my compassion and care for anything on Earth!


What is your favorite quote?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

  - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


When justice isn’t served for one individual it will forever be a pattern that will continue and injustice will always remain. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.


Who was your most influential mentor?

The Lord! He gives me the strength, courage, bravery and integrity that I need every day that He awakens me! He puts the IMMENSE love and compassion in my heart on a daily basis to help fight for what is right, what is just and without....I wouldn’t be here! Without God my voice would just be a whisper!


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”

  - Proverbs 31:8 NLT

I would tell myself to be brave and not worry about what others think of me! To stop worrying about the popularity contest and JUST BE WHO I AM! Don’t try to fake my existence or what I believe! Don’t be embarrassed about my love for the Lord or for being different from everyone else at my age. I would take it one day at a time and not rush through life! ENJOY AND LOVE OTHERS LIKE IT IS YOUR LAST DAY OF LIFE ON THIS EARTH!

I have stage 3 breast cancer and I’m fighting for my life right now. No matter how resilient I am, some days it’s a struggle to get out of the bed...but my passion for my advocacy, which is God’s calling, is what drives me and gives me strength to survive every day and fight for the rights of those who cannot be heard!






Mike Gagliardi

Principal 

DHR International

Age: 34

Bio: At DHR International, I specialize in the hospitality, consumer retail and private equity practices. I bring more than 11 years of executive search experience working with public and private equity-backed companies across several sectors, including restaurants, consumer retail and hospitality and leisure. I focus on placing C-suite and senior executives across multiple functions including finance, marketing, human resources, operations, development and technology. 

My ability to understand and assess the underlying businesses, industries and unique culture in each search assignment, coupled with my track record of uncovering hidden talent, has earned me a reputation as a trusted advisor to clients and candidates. My experience has allowed me to partner with and successfully place candidates in businesses that range from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 companies.  

I hold a bachelor of arts degree from the College of Charleston and reside in Mount Pleasant with my wife Kristina. In my spare time, you can find me coaching middle school lacrosse, playing golf or fishing.

 

What is your favorite quote? 

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’” 

  - Stephen R. Covey


Who was your most influential mentor? 

Kenneth Schwenke, managing partner, DHR International and former CHRO, Aramark.





Troy Gandee

Broker-in-Charge & President

Maven Realty

Age: 31

Bio: I grew up in southern West Virginia. I was raised by a single mother who worked tirelessly to provide for my sisters and me. We relocated to Charleston, where I attended College of Charleston and studied philosophy.

Today, I’m the broker-in-charge and president of Maven Realty. The company is only three years old; however, we’ve built an amazing team, and revenues increase by over 50 percent from year to year. Our focus is not the revenues — but the relationships. We specialize in investment properties. All of our personnel are real estate investors and intimately understand these assets. We do no marketing, and yet some agents are in the top 10 percent for the Charleston market. I feel this is a testament to our customer service and expertise. I try to make myself a presence in my community. I’m the vice president of my neighborhood association (Park Circle) and help the City of North Charleston with a landlord/police alliance. I believe business leaders have a huge impact on communities. I meet frequently with elected officials and administrators to offer what I have to improve our community.

What is your favorite quote?

“Well done is better than well said.” —Ben Franklin, “Poor Richard’s Almanack”


Who was your most influential mentor?

Hugh Boggs, my step-grandfather, an educator and an intellectual


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Relax a little. Hard work and good intentions will always get you where you’re going.





Ryan Goer

Associate

K&L Gates LLP

Age: 30

Bio: I’m a proud multigenerational Charlestonian. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt Law, I accepted a position at an international law firm within their finance practice in Charlotte. It was a fortunate opportunity with exceptional mentors that launched my career. After a little time, I received an offer to join another global firm, K&L Gates, and to sit in their Charleston office — a dream opportunity for me.

In my current role, I get to continue representing the most sophisticated clients and work on large, complex transactions, all while being here at home, surrounded by friends and family. My long-term career goals are intertwined with my goals of giving back to the Charleston community. I’ve had experience working with local organizations in the legal world, such as Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services, as well as in the non-legal world with organizations such as HEART, a holistic program for special needs adults. As my career progresses, my goal is to find a fulfilling balance between my increasing responsibility with my firm and my increasing responsibility to give back to the community that I love.

 

Who was your most influential mentor?

Elizabeth Goer, my mother

 

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

It’s largely irrelevant what anyone else thinks you can achieve. You know what you’re capable of. Stick to the plan.





Reverend Samuel L. Green, Jr

Director of Christian Education

Seventh Episcopal District of 

the African Methodist 

Episcopal Church

Age: 34

Bio: I am the Reverend Samuel L. Green, Jr., and I currently serve as the director of Christian education for the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I have devoted my life to serving all people as an extension of how I understand what it means to be in a beloved community. My career journey has afforded me the opportunity to serve in many spaces, including being an educator in public schools, conference/meeting planner, organizational strategist and event producer. I consider myself to be a creative at heart and cannot stop dreaming big.

As a committed professional, I continue to develop my toolbox so that I can be an impact not only for the church, but the world. My broad experiences have expanded my worldview, allowing me to understand complex issues that undergird communities in South Carolina and other places so that I can be a relevant leader. My long-term goal is to leave a legacy that helps God’s people transform their dreams into realities by understanding their God-given purpose.


Who was your most influential mentor?

My parents, Bishop Samuel and Dr. Ava Green, are my most influential mentors. From an early age, they instilled within me and my brothers the values of education, resilience, determination, creativity and advocacy. While I have been impacted by many men and women from various aspects of life, my parents continue to provide priceless wisdom that continues to guide me as a leader and man.





Brooks Hearn

Director of Advancement

Pinewood Preparatory School

Age: 35

 

Bio: Growing up in the Lowcountry and completing my undergraduate and graduate studies in-state has given me a strong desire to see our region and state succeed. I bring this mindset to work as I tell the stories of students striving for excellence each day. Watching and celebrating these students’ successes gives me confidence in our collective future.

My enthusiasm for communications and development has led to numerous volunteer engagement opportunities, including the Junior Service League of Summerville, for which I served as president; Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center and The ARK. I stay connected with my field as a member and vice president of membership for the state chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. As a proud graduate of the UofSC Honors College, I am thrilled to serve as the Charleston-area representative for the University’s Young Alumni Council. Last January, I received the inaugural Emerging Leader of the Year award from the Greater Summerville-Dorchester Chamber of Commerce. I view all of these experiences as a catalyst to continue giving back in any way possible.


Who was your most influential mentor?

Dr. Augie Grant, my mass media research professor at the UofSC School of Journalism, not only taught me about research, but also prepared me for professional life. Dr. Grant assigned our class a real-world focus group project, which seemed terrifying at the time. The project challenged us to think and act like PR practitioners. Looking back, I can honestly say Dr. Grant’s high expectations, as well as the way he believed in us, taught me more about the communications field than any other experience in my undergraduate career.





Trent Holland

S.C. Middle Market Banking Leader

BB&T, now Truist

Age: 35

 

Bio: I have the pleasure of leading the Middle Market & Nonprofit Banking Team for BB&T/SunTrust now Truist in South Carolina; to me that means driving our efforts in the state to provide customized banking and capital markets solutions to some of our largest companies and organizations. I have always had a passion for relationship building and problem solving; coming up with a creative solution for a team member or meeting a strategic client need through a unique idea or timely introduction is exciting for me and gives me a creative outlet. The best career decision I made was starting the journey with a company anchored by a purpose with which I identify. I am grateful to have had many productive years as a banker in Charleston and to have the opportunity to lead a successful team across the state, but I am driven by playing a role in helping companies thrive through transformational events so that they can take care of their employees and customers.

I firmly believe in being active in the business community and devoting time to community building and charitable work. I represent Truist on the Charleston Southern Board of Visitors, I am a member of the M&A Advisory Council for the CRDA and I enjoy being an active resource representative for the Charleston CFO Council. Over the years I have been a United Way Loaned Executive and an American Heart Association Team Lead - and I have taken part in elementary school teaching engagements through Junior Achievement. I am most interested in increasing access to technology and financial literacy education for lower income families and children.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter and our extended families. We enjoy traveling, going to the beach, boating, cooking together and watching Gamecock sports. I am honored and humbled to be included in this group of driven professionals who are dedicated to our collective success as a region.    





Matthew Lew

Area General Manager

Tara Investments

Age: 35

Bio: I graduated with honors, earning a B.S. in tourism management with a minor in business administration from Clemson University. Having participated in sports throughout my life, I wanted to find a team-based work environment where I could thrive, which is how I fell in love with the hospitality industry. I currently serve as the area GM for Tara Investments, overseeing the award-winning Homewood Suites and Holiday Inn in Historic Downtown Charleston. I have received several accolades throughout my career, but none has been more rewarding than partnering with Project Search while serving as GM at the Embassy Suites Columbia. Project Search offers students with disabilities the opportunity to gain real life work experience during their senior years, in hopes of gaining employment upon graduation. Each year we had a 100 percent success rate, with the majority being hired within our very own hotel.

I am a South Carolina native, and I have spent my entire hospitality career here - spanning from Greenville to Columbia - and now, beautiful Charleston. I have a wonderful wife, Joyelle Lew, and two amazing kids, Tyler and Olivia. I am honored to be on Charleston Business Magazine’s Best and Brightest 35 & Under list!


Who was your most influential mentor?

Peter Komar

 

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Work hard now — play hard later; play hard now — work hard later.





Cori Nuttall

Associate

Lee & Associates Charleston

Age: 25

Bio: I began my real estate career at Lee & Associates in 2018 as a market researcher. Now, in my brokerage role, I work with a variety of clients in different sectors, representing landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers in the office, retail and investment markets. I also oversee a portfolio of 140 franchise locations in seven states. In my time at Lee & Associates, I have worked hard to establish myself in an industry that traditionally has high barriers to entry. I am a candidate member of SIOR and am actively working toward my CCIM designation. In 2019, I was named Rookie of the Year at my firm and received the Rising Star award from the Charleston Association of Realtors.

As a Charleston native, I love the way that through real estate I can be a part of the changing landscape of our city. I believe in community engagement and am actively involved in the Urban Land Institute, for which I serve on the Young Leaders Council. Additionally, I serve on the Charleston Leadership Foundation Charity Golf Committee. I have been very blessed in my career by my mentors, colleagues, clients and community. I am proud to work at a company that enables me with such excellent resources and has a national network of successful professionals with whom I can engage. I believe the entrepreneurial model of our firm has contributed immensely to my career development.

 

What is your favorite quote?

(Super long, I know.) “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  —Theodore Roosevelt

 

Who was your most influential mentor?

David Howard, president of Lee & Associates Atlanta





Priscilla Rochelle

Middle Market Relationship Manager

BB&T now Truist 

Age: 29

Bio: As a relationship manager for BB&T now Truist, I work with middle market companies along the coast of South Carolina. I have the opportunity to partner with companies to develop strategies to fuel growth, enhance cash flows, manage risk and invest for the future. My mission is to help our local companies continue to thrive by delivering solutions to help achieve their business goals.

Originally from Tennessee, I graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics. After spending time in the Midwest and Colorado, and only recently relocating to the Holy City, the city of Charleston won me over as soon as I arrived, and I look forward to contributing to our growing community for many years to come. In my free time, I enjoy spending time at our beautiful beaches and enjoying fresh oysters.

It’s an honor and privilege to be nominated as one of the Best & Brightest 35 and Under. Thank you, Charleston Business Magazine, for including me in such a group of hardworking young professionals.


Who was your most influential mentor?

My grandfather, Lynn Calton. He has an incredible work ethic and drive, and taught me to always work hard and put my best foot forward.





Jennifer Small

Senior Solutions Consultant

Adobe

Age: 30

Bio: During my career, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best companies in the technology space and have been able to assist clients in various stages of technology adoption from pre-sales activities to implementation. Currently I work at Adobe as a senior solution consultant, directly interacting with prospective clients to help them find the right digital commerce solution for their businesses. One of my favorite parts of my work is being able to interact with companies both large and small, spanning one-on-one conversations and Las Vegas arenas. I’ve had the honor of speaking at a number of industry conferences like Adobe Symposium and Adobe Summit on the importance of customer journey orchestration and omni-channel fulfillment.

While at home in Charleston, I do what I can to help the Lowcountry community through various nonprofits including the Junior League of Charleston and the Roper St. Francis Foundation. I hope to be able to encourage more young women to pursue careers in technical fields and to embrace their potential as powerful leaders.

 

Who was your most influential mentor?

I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without my parents. They helped me learn to set lofty goals and gave me the tools to achieve them.






Candace Spann

CEO, Interior Designer, Realtor

Abundant Life Restore

Age: 29

Bio: I am a Charleston native, creative, designer, and I love my Geechee Gullah culture. I’m an alumna of Lander University, 2013, where I earned a B.A. in business management and marketing. I began working with a local new home construction builder five years ago and I was promoted every year since the first day of employment. I am a new homes sales agent, certified interior designer (Charleston School of Interior Design), president of The Black Girl Social Club and also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

In 2016, I started my business called Abundant Life Restore, which is an interior design company that specializes in affordable and fresh design styles. I also have a home accessory line of natural soy hand-poured candles called The Charleston Experience. The business name came from the Bible verse John 10:10; where the same abundant life I was given, I give to each space I redesign. I love everything about the real estate industry. From building relationships with new clients and finding their dream home to designing their homes after it closes, it all really warms my heart.

Giving back to the community to me is about educating people where they lack knowledge. I aspire to give back to the community through empowering and educating others on the importance of real estate, ownership, wealth and relational equity. My goal is to own a single-family home development and offer classes for financial literacy for future homeowners.


Who was your most influential mentor?

Sylvia Evans





Victoria Spearman

Legal Associate, Risk 

Management and Compliance

Greystar

Age: 30

Bio: I am a legal associate in Greystar’s risk management and compliance department. Greystar is the global leader in rental housing with expertise in real estate sectors across multiple geographies. As a legal associate I provide support to the risk management and compliance department with respect to regulatory, securities, registered investment advisor and other corporate compliance matters that support the services performed by the business group. I have also taught as an adjunct professor at Charleston School of Law, which still remains one of my most rewarding experiences. 

I currently serve as the chair of the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry. I am also an active member of the Junior League of Charleston and recently served as recording secretary for the board of directors. This spring I was honored by the Junior League of Charleston with the Community Impact award. I strive to be an active member of the community because I believe that I have the opportunity to empower others.


What is your favorite quote?

“If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it.” —Ruthie Lindsey


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? 

You will fail. Your failures will not define you, but your ability to get up and try again will.


Who was your most influential mentor? 

College: Dr. Becky Olive Taylor, who made sure I reached my fullest potential. Law School: Charlie Goldberg, who taught me that reputation was everything and how being kind could be the most powerful tool. First year practicing law: Beth Bailey, who believed in my ability to be a leader and pushed me to continue to strive for more.






Michael Stettner-Palacios

Marketing Manager

Obviouslee Marketing

Age: 30

Bio: I am a master storyteller, and I tell your stories to those who need to hear them. My career in public relations and social media has provided me the platform to connect with communities.

As a proud native Texan, I attended The University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em), where I grabbed professional storytelling through PR by the horns. Since moving to Charleston, I have filled the pages of my career with experience in various industries and clients, including national events, nonprofits, travel and hospitality, infrastructure and government and electric mobility. The newest chapter in my career is my role at Obviouslee, a company of innovative thinkers focused on strategic marketing and design.

When not working, I’m still telling stories. In 2018, my partner and I felt a diverse perspective was missing on social media in Charleston, so we created the Holy City’s first and only LGBTQ+ blog, “@ilovethatforyou.” Through humor and heart, we passionately share our love for local businesses while providing a welcoming space for all.


Who was your most influential mentor?

My mother. She is a leader in her industry, built while overcoming many obstacles throughout life and doing so with care and compassion. She has taught me the importance of creating genuine connections with others and the example I set for my work ethic.


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

It’s okay to be gay.





Bobby Teachey II

Senior Project Manager

Brownstone Construction Group

Age: 35

Bio: I recently joined Brownstone Group as a project manager in the Charleston area. I have over 11 years of construction management experience, and received my bachelors of science degree in civil engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and my master’s degree in project management from Keller Graduate School of Management. I served as a staff sergeant for eight years in the United States Army Reserve. I’m a proud 2003 - 2004 Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran and National Defense Medal recipient. 

As a public servant, I have been a member and volunteer for the National Society of Black Engineers over 17 years, and have served in multiple leadership roles regionally and nationally, upholding the torch of the society and fulfilling the mission every day. While serving as a corporate recruiter and in other professional organizations, I have promoted the partnerships and development of the pre-college and college students. I currently serve on the Charleston professionals board as the College Initiative Chair. I plan to continue the mission of the National Society of Black Engineers with an understanding that the mission is not a resting place but the endless path forward. 

Additionally, I serve on the Charleston Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Steering Committee. In this role, I work with other industry leaders to help develop programming and engagement of the Charleston community, businesses and leaders. I am also a volunteer mentor with Be A Mentor, where I help my mentee develop positive relationships by empowering him to reach his full potential, make a difference in the world and continue to strive for excellence. My commitment to service and my personal mandate to solve problems and create opportunities is woven into every facet of my life. 


What is your favorite quote?

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” 

  - Shirley Chisholm 


Who was your most influential mentor?

My fifth grade teacher. She believed in the potential for my success, and helped nurture those dreams.


What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Trust more, believe in the process, be malleable, and prepare for failure … let it be the fertilizer to help you grow.





Sean Wilson

Owner/Attorney

Law Office of 

Sean M. Wilson, LLC

Age: 33

Bio: I was born and raised in Columbia. After high school I relocated to Charleston to attend the College of Charleston, where I majored in political science and minored in business administration, finishing up in May of 2008. After my time at CofC, I attended law school at Charleston School of Law, where I finished in 2011. 

I am now the owner of the Law Office of Sean M. Wilson, LLC, where I assist people who have been injured or wrongfully killed. I naturally gravitated to this particular area of law early on in my practice and find it fulfilling seeking justice for  my clients. I am also an adjunct professor at Charleston School of Law where I teach a class called The Elements of Pretrial Litigation. I enjoy giving back to the school where I learned many valuable lessons by teaching students the civil litigation process. 

Community involvement is important to me. I always stand by the principle ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ I recently joined the board for COBRA Human Services, which spreads awareness of sickle cell anemia. In addition, I have been active in local and national politics as former chair of the Dorchester County Democratic Party. 

I hope to continue to strive for excellence, give back as much as possible, and encourage those around me to be greater all while remaining humble and keeping God first. As long as I have the ability to do so, I will continue to be a vessel of hope for others.


What is your favorite quote?

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” 

  - Muhammad Ali


Who was your most influential mentor?  

My parents