Meet the Mentors: Fall 2020 Leadership Discovery

Leadership Discovery is an innovative and skills-based leadership program that will allow emergent business and community leaders to learn from experienced regional leaders. The Fall 2020 class features six mentors with a variety of experience and diverse backgrounds. Learn more about the lineup.

Applications are currently open for the Fall 2020 class!

Mike Carter

Founder & CEO, eGroup

Mike Carter is founder and CEO of eGroup, a technology consulting firm based in Mount Pleasant. Carter started eGroup in 1999, and since then, the firm has delivered speed and certainty with cloud and data center initiatives for some of the most sophisticated clients throughout the nation.

Mike has led eGroup to be continually listed as one of the fastest growing businesses at the state, regional and national level and they have appeared on the Inc. 5000 multiple times over.

In 2020, the firm was named to CRN’s 2020 Tech Elite 250 list for the 10th consecutive year. This annual list honors an exclusive group of IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology vendors. eGroup was also named to CRN’s 2020 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the “Elite 150” category for the fourth consecutive year. This list recognizes solution providers with innovative approaches to managed services that deliver operational efficiencies, IT system improvements, and a higher rate of return on investments for their customers.

Anton Gunn

Chief Diversity Officer and Executive Director of Community Health Innovation, Medical University of South Carolina

Anton J. Gunn is a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama and the world’s leading authority on Socially Conscious Leadership. He has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina and was a Resident Fellow at Harvard University.

He is the bestselling author of The Presidential Principles and has been featured in TIME magazine, Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, BBC News, NPR and on Good Morning America. As an international speaker and consultant, he has worked with organizations like Microsoft, KPMG, Verizon Wireless, ACHE, Aetna, American College of Surgeons, the Financial Regulatory Authority, and the Boeing Company.

From playing SEC Football and being the first African American in history elected to the South Carolina legislature from his district early in his career, to now working as the Executive Director of Community Health Innovation & Chief Diversity Officer of MUSC Health and serving on multiple boards, he has spent his life helping people build diverse high performing teams and world-class leadership culture.

Greg Parker

Founder & CEO, Parker’s Kitchen

One of the nation’s leading business innovators, Parker’s Founder and CEO Greg Parker has earned acclaim for his commitment to high-quality foodservice, technology, consumer rights and charitable giving. Parker has been recognized as the Convenience Foodservice Leader of the Year, the Convenience Store News Tech Executive of the Year, the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club Citizen of the Year, the Savannah Morning News Entrepreneur of the Year and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year.

Under his leadership, Parker’s has grown from a one-store operation in Midway, Georgia to an award-winning, 66-store company with state-of-the-art convenience stores located throughout Georgia and South Carolina.

A dedicated community member, Parker founded the company’s award-winning Fueling the Community charitable initiative, which gives back to each community where Parker’s does business. Parker endowed the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University and the Parker’s Emergency and Trauma Center at Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Ga.  Over the years, Parker has served as the chairman of the Savannah Master Plan Task Force and the Savannah Mayor’s Business Roundtable and on the board of directors for the Savannah Economic Development Authority, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Memorial Health Foundation.

Ericka Plater

Executive Director, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach

Ericka is a mission-driven nonprofit leader with over 25 years’ experience in the areas of organizational development, business and strategic planning, diversity, equity and inclusion, leadership development, program development, and training and conferences. Ericka has utilized her skills in the fields of public education, healthcare, public health, philanthropy and community development.

Ericka served on the board of the D5 Coalition focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy as well as the Hemophilia Association of the Capital Area and Amethyst & Indigo Community Action Support. She currently serves on the board of the Carolina Catholic Professional Network and MUSC Health Partners and the Executive Committee of Trident United Way’s Healthy Tri-County Initiative in Charleston, SC.

Committed to improving the lives of women and children as well as underserved communities, Ericka has lead workshops in the DC metro area for women and girls in collaboration with Whitman-Walker Clinic, and DC Rape Crisis Center. She also coaches women along their life and career journeys.

Dr. Alan Shao

Interim Vice President, Corporate Partnerships; Dean, School of Business, College of Charleston

Alan T. Shao has served as the Dean of the College of Charleston’s School of Business since March 2009. Since then, he has established an MBA degree program, led the effort to obtain AACSB reaccreditation for the school (three times), developed highly employable new majors and programs, significantly elevated fundraising, created the School of Business “Wall of Honor” to recognize philanthropy and long-term impact, and increased globalization throughout the School of Business.

The Journal of Advertising named Shao one of the most prolific contributors to advertising research. In his career, he has published more than 50 articles in leading journals, made more than 100 presentations on a variety of international business topics and has authored three books, most recently Marketing Research: An Aid to Decision Making. As a Pacific Cultural Foundation fellow, he has studied foreign culture influences on advertising worldwide.

In addition to teaching and research, Shao has worked as an executive director of marketing research and a manager of computer operations, and has developed import businesses that manufactured furniture, motorcycles and crystals in China. He is a frequent traveler, having visited China more than 100 times and lectured in more than 30 countries.

Dr. Mary Thornley

President, Trident Technical College

Dr. Mary Thornley has been president of Trident Technical College since 1991. She truly believes in the transformational power of education and is passionate about the community college’s role in making our communities and our nation stronger, more adaptable, and better able to face the challenges of the future.

Dr. Thornley holds a doctorate of education in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Carolina; a master of arts in teaching English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a bachelor of arts in English and French from Mars Hill College, North Carolina.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Joseph P. Riley Leadership Award from the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction from Phi Theta Kappa, the Southeast Region Chief Executive Officer Award from the Association of Community College Trustees, Martha Kime Piper Female Executive Award, Trident United Way Women’s Leadership Award, The Free Enterprise Foundation Ethics and Civics Responsibility Award, ThinkTEC Outstanding Leadership in Advancing the Knowledge Based Industry in the Region Award, Special Award Recognizing 10 years of Economic Development Leadership from the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, the Service and Leadership Award for Promoting Access and Equity in Higher Education from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, Honorary Doctorate of Public Administration from The Citadel, Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from College of Charleston, the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Influential Women in Business Award, The Citadel School of Business Leader of Principal Award and Hall of Fame Induction, the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Vision Award, the Septima P. Clark Charleston Branch NAACP Education Award, and the Trident Technical College’s 2017 MLK Humanitarian Award, Charleston Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential (2016 and 2017), South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners Equity Award, Association of Community College Trustees Southern Region Equity Award, Association of Community College Trustees Charles Kennedy National Equity Award (2017), Trident Literacy Association Founder’s Day Award (2018).

Applications are currently open for the Fall 2020 class!

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