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The Greenville Chamber and Community Visitors Opportunities to Build Commercial, Civic and Cultural Connections

Posted by: Hank Hyatt on Thursday, April 6, 2017

Greenville has a great story to tell. In fact, it has a number of great stories to tell. And those stories get told every day by Chamber Investors and by local residents as they go about their daily business and lives in our community. The pride of local Greenvillians is in the air.

In addition to the “natural storytelling” happening organically, the Greenville Chamber is striving to tell our stories in a more intentional way to visiting delegations. While the Greenville Chamber hosts a number of large delegations throughout the year, we recently had the pleasure of hosting two individuals who had never been in the Upstate of South Carolina before. It’s worth sharing.

Goele Strynck, Communications Officer for VOKA | West Flanders Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kotrijk, Belgium, visited last month as a result of last June’s visit by a dozen Greenville business, governmental and educational leaders to our Sister City of Kortrijk. Several partnerships and collaborations have been initiated as a result, including our first-ever Euro Chamber-to-US Chamber employee visit. Goele spent four days learning how Greenville and the Upstate region markets itself to the outside world, something the more traditionally humble Belgian Chambers are still working on.

In addition to this one employee’s visit, there will be a larger Kotrijk-to-Greenville delegation visit this May. Up to two dozen Belgian leaders will be here exploring opportunities to expand trade, develop new investments on both sides of the Atlantic, create educational and governmental partnerships and foster entrepreneurial linkages which will benefit both communities in the future.


Audrey Russo is the President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the nation’s oldest and largest technology trade association. We had the pleasure of meeting Audrey when the Greenville Chamber took a group of business and community leaders to Pittsburgh for our 2013 Intercommunity Leadership Visit. Exploring the intersection of economic development, higher education and technology ventures, we found a lot to discuss in Pittsburgh and the PTC was at the center of it all. We told Audrey that we wanted to get her to Greenville. It took us four years, but we found a way to get her here as a keynote speaker for the recent 2017 Leadership Summit. 

During Audrey’s visit, we were able to showcase, not only community’s brand marketing prowess as with Goele, but our collaborative partnerships between higher education, R&D and the entrepreneurial sector as represented by NEXT. Connections between our communities were made and opportunities for collaborations surfaced.

Audrey had this to say of her visit to Greenville: “I am Pittsburgh proud but spending 2 days in Greenville, South Carolina was pretty special. They are fearlessly building this town which to those in tech and innovation, are yielding impressive outcomes.”

Greenville is a very special place to call home. It has some great stories that we love to share with leaders from other communities. The outcome will be, in the long run, additional business opportunities. We are always on the lookout for additional leaders to engage with either large group delegation visits or with individual visits. If you are a Chamber Investor and would like an opportunity to let your Greenville pride shine during these visits, contact Hank Hyatt.


Hank Hyatt is the Greenville Chamber's
Vice President of Economic Competitiveness.




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