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The Best Way to Bring Good Business to Government Is to Get Good Business People in Government

Posted by: Katie Busbee on Friday, October 30, 2015
Last week, the Greenville Chamber finished its first class of the Upstate Political Leadership Institute, a program designed to teach business leaders about running for public office. A total of 27 business men and women from across the Upstate got a 10,000 foot view of what serving as an elected official is really like, and what it takes to run a successful campaign. Participants of this program ranged from a diverse pool of industries including restaurant and hospitality, insurance, law, banking, marketing and advertising, education, as well as others. The course was split into two Monday night sessions. In the first session, participants heard the real scoop of running for public office, from a panel with Mayor Pro Tem David Sudduth, Mauldin City Councilman Taft Matney, and S.C. Senator Ross Turner (District 8). All three of the panelists emphasized that serving in public office was a fulltime job, and that you must have a passion for serving your community. Other topics covered in the session were, “What makes you a Viable Candidate,” by Chip Felkel, founder of the Felkel Group, and a session on current business issues, by the Chamber’s V.P. of Business Advocacy, Jason Zacher. Session 2 focused more on the aspects of running a campaign. S.C. House Representative Phyllis Henderson (District 21) and Bill Coates, former chair of the S.C. State Ethics Commission, spoke on fundraising and ethics laws. Other topics for the night included advice on hiring a consultant, and a discussion on voting demographics in the county, led by Greenville County’s Election Commission director, Conway Belangia. The second session ended with a presentation on how to effectively use media in your campaign by John Boyanoski, founder and CEO of Complete PR. While some participants were interested in running for office, some were there to learn more about the election and campaign process.  Participants were able to take away tips and advice from those who had ran for office, and those who have many years of experience working campaigns. Graduates of this class will be eligible to attend an in-depth, full-day, “201” course in 2016 that will include workshops, and will delve more deeply into campaign nuts and bolts. Congratulations to our first class of participants! We are proud of you for taking the first step to becoming more involved in the political process and are inspired by your drive to make a difference in our community. If you’d like to learn more about the Upstate Political Leadership Institute, or any of the Chamber’s Business Advocacy programs, feel free to contact Jason Zacher at or Katie Busbee at


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