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Discovering South Carolina Champions

Nurturing world-class collaborative leaders

Liberty Fellowship is an incubator for exemplary leadership in South Carolina. The program started in 2004 and is a collaboration of co-founders Anna Kate and Hayne Hipp, Wofford College and The Aspen Institute with offices in Spartanburg and Greenville, South Carolina. Liberty Fellowship’s goal is to move South Carolina forward through its greatest asset – its leaders.

The core of Liberty Fellowship is a seminar series for 20 leaders who are selected each year from a pool of nominations. Over two years, these Fellows meet together during 4 seminars where they discuss readings using the Socratic method of questioning. Discussions are text based, and Fellows read an eclectic mix of material – from Aristotle and Plato to current day events – all reflecting on the just society and leadership.

Each class reflects the rich diversity of South Carolinians and is carefully pieced together to create a unique mosaic of perspectives and experiences.  When selected, Fellows range in age from 30 to 45 years old.  Each one is successful, active in his or her community and at a point of inflection in their life as they contemplate moving from success to significance. Most importantly, they all have a passion for progress in South Carolina.

Fellows view Liberty Fellowship as a lifelong commitment, and today there is a strong network of almost 230 Fellows representing all corners of South Carolina


S.C. pays off nearly $1B federal loan to cover jobless benefits

The state Department of Employment and Workforce made the final $120 million payment today, well before the November deadline. State officials estimate that paying off the loan early will save S.C. businesses about $12 million in interest payments.


Five Points Rotarian Jimmy Chao

Columbia engineering consulting firm Chao & Associates has been named a Fast 100 Asian American company by the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce.

Professional services provider Ernst & Young, which examined all applications, said the Columbia company “demonstrated resilience and performance with excellence,” according to a release.

“It is quite an honor to be recognized alongside reputable companies that are making great strides in their respective fields and having a positive economic and societal impact on the local and national communities,” said Jimmy Chao, President and CEO.

This latest honor continues a string of recent success for the company. It was named last year as the minority business of the year by the South Carolina Minority Business Development Agency, while Chao was honored in December by the City of Columbia and Mayor Steve Benjamin as part of Minority Business Recognition Day.

“I am ecstatic that our client, Chao and Associates, has been recognized by such an esteemed organization that is dedicated to the success of Asian American businesses,” said Diane Sumpter, director of the MBDA Business Center. “Through Jimmy Chao’s leadership, the organization is proving to have a positive influence on, not only Columbia and South Carolina, but the national minority business community, as well.

This year’s Fast 100 companies combined to generate $2.7 billion in annual revenue. The companies will be honored next week in Bethesda, Md.

Columbia Regional Business Report _____________________________________________________________________________

Five Points Rotarian Cheryl Stanton 

Columbia Regional Business Report | Columbia, SC

S.C. jobless rate up slightly in March as more people enter workforce

Staff Report
Published April 21, 2015

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.7% in March, up slightly from 6.6% in February, as the state’s labor force grew for the 14th consecutive month, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said today.

stanton headshotStanton

In March, the state’s labor force totaled 2,245,987 people, an increase of 7,536 over February.

Meanwhile, the number of South Carolinians on the job in March increased 5,838 and reached a high of 2,096,110 people. March was the 64th consecutive month of employment growth in South Carolina.

“I’m excited about today’s jobs numbers because South Carolina’s economy continues to expand,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “The state has the most South Carolinians working ever, 64 consecutive months of employment growth and 14 consecutive months of labor force expansion.”

During the first quarter of 2015, the number of people entering the labor force marked an all-time high, the workforce agency said.

The estimated number of unemployed people was 149,877 in March, up an estimated 1,698 from February.

While South Carolina’s jobless rate rose in March, the national unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5%. Sectors with the largest increase in nonfarm employment at the end of March were construction, up 1,100; education and health services, up 700; and government, up 100.

Industries reporting declines were leisure and hospitality, down 2,400; trade, transportation and utilities, down 1,500; professional and business services, down 700; financial activities, down 500; and manufacturing, down 200. Compared with March 2014, seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs rose by 49,300.

Among South Carolina’s metro regions, the Charleston-North Charleston area recorded the lowest jobless rate at 5.4% in March, followed by Greenville-Maudlin at 5.5%; Columbia, 5.7%; and Florence, 7.2%.  Allendale’s 12.5% jobless rate was the highest among the state’s 46 counties, while Lexington had the lowest at 5.1%.


Five Points Rotarian Lisa Hostetler Awarded The State’s “20 Under 40”

Lisa M. Hostetler, Esquire

Age: 32

Occupation: Managing attorney at LawyerLisa, LLC

Family: Two sisters in Greenville; two dogs, Pearl and Bella

Education: Bethany College (Bethany, W.Va.), B.A., Political Science summa cum laude; USC School of Law, J.D.

Community and professional highlights: Member, S.C. Women Lawyers Association; member and president-elect, Palmetto Land Title Association; social media chairwoman, Rotary Club of Five Points; board, Cooperative Ministries; Leadership Columbia 2010; Leadership Lexington in 2012; NAMI Walk supporter; special assistant attorney general serving the Criminal Domestic Violence Pro Bono Prosecution Program to prosecute domestic violence offenders.

In my own words: So many people just go through life, checking the box and moving forward. Try to live with purpose and intention. If something isn’t going well, make a change. Don’t just check the boxes. Find something you love, go places, see people, grow your mind and enjoy the moment you are in right now.

My life changed when: I realized I was in control of it. I realized at a pretty young age that if I wanted anything in life, I would need to go after it. Good things don’t get handed down; you have to be ambitious, hard-working, and most of all, you have to have a plan to get what you want. I have always used difficult times in my life as motivation.

What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I pursued it with every choice I made. I never had another plan. I just knew what I wanted and did everything I could to achieve it. When determination and passion come together, it’s an unstoppable combination. The best people in any field have a passion for what they do. I also think it makes me a better lawyer because I really love my work.

You left the security of a large law firm to branch out on your own. What drove that decision? And what kind of firm have you created? I learned and grew so much while working at my prior firm. I give credit to the many mentors I had along the way. I learned so much that I felt confident I could effectively run a law firm of my own. Starting my own firm wasn’t always the plan, but the timing and circumstances were right, so I seized the opportunity. I am so glad I did. I have been able to create a firm that is unlike many of the traditional law firms in South Carolina. From the firm name, “LawyerLisa,” to the atmosphere we create for our clients, this is a firm where clients aren’t intimidated. When our clients feel good about the legal experience, they are more likely to ask questions that allow us to provide them better service, they are more likely to deal with issues that they may be avoiding, and we can be more effective when helping them.

You volunteer with various organizations, including the Cinderella Project to provide prom dresses to girls who need them. Why is it important to help them have that prom experience where they can feel special and confident? It is important for young women to develop self-confidence. Certain experiences in life will shape who a person becomes. Our goal with the Cinderella Project is to provide high school girls with prom dresses, shoes and jewelry so they can participate in this important milestone in their lives. I don’t want their family’s economic situation to affect them because they can’t afford to buy a dress for prom. Last year, we helped over 400 girls in the Midlands find dresses and the gratitude they expressed was worth more than they could have ever paid.