Jenny Dennis
President & Chief Creative Officer at TRIO
Jenny Dennis is the president and chief creative officer at TRIO, a marketing communications agency in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The former publisher of skirt! Magazine, Jenny has over 20 years of marketing, advertising and publishing experience.
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Ruth Jordan
Manager of the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program
Ruth Jordan is the Manager of the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program with the City of Charleston. She has held several executive positions with over 25 years on business experiences including working with federal, state and local government agencies. Serves on many boards and committees including I-Hope Women Business Center, a Graduate of Charleston Southern University of Charleston, wife and mother.
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Grace Butler
Lead Community Development Loan Officer
Grace has over 10 years’ experience working in the banking industry with institutions like Wells Fargo, BB&T, and Synovous. In her time working in the traditional banking world Grace worked as a teller, personal banker, and lender. Grace’s current role as Lead Community Development Loan officer at CLIMB Fund is coordinating with the Lending Team to underwrite and assist potential borrowers with getting loan approval ready. Essentially, Grace operates as a coach for clients throughout their application process by managing expectations and coaching them through what needs to be changed or adjusted to better ensure their approval odds.
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LB Adams
Practical Dramatics
LB Adams teaches women to show up and speak up for themselves. As someone who came into this world an introvert, LB recognizes how challenging communication and speaking well about yourself can be for some people, particularly women. It's LB's mission to help you craft a fun, unforgettable skill-building experience, that inspires and provides women with the tools to have more confident, profitable conversations.
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BE ConnectED
Educational Consulting
Bridgette & Ericka are the co-founders of The TeacHER Empowerment Network, a network of women educators that are committed to creating girls empowerment groups for black girls in schools & communities. The duo known as BE ConnectED started a girls empowerment group 6 years ago for girls in a marginalized school community that has positively impacted over 100 girls from ages 9-16. Their vision is to grow empowerment groups worldwide that foster courage, creativity, confidence, and collaboration!
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Shennice Cleckley
Professional Business Coach & Author
Shennice Cleckley is a trailblazer in the business world, known for her innovative coaching strategies and ability to empower others to reach their full potential. As the winner of the 2021 South Carolina Women in Business award and the 2021 and 2022 South Carolina Best in Business award for coaching, Shennice has proven her expertise in the field. She is a true leader, making a positive impact in the business world, her community, and the lives of those around her with her dedication, passion, and expertise. As the former CEO of Smart Cookie Coaching, LLC, Shennice led the company to great success, helping countless individuals and businesses reach their business goals. She has used her skills and expertise to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed and grow in South Carolina as the former SC Grow with Google Digital Coach, Richland Library Systems Entrepreneur in Residence and Co-organizer for 1Million Cups Columbia (A Kauffman Foundation Initiative).
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Breakfast Keynote Speaker – Carolyn Hunter

Restaurant owner and operator Carolyn Hunter was born on October 3, 1956 in Kinsale, Virginia to John and Rachel Hunter Thompson. She graduated as the salutatorian from Washington and Lee High School in 1975 and received her A.A. degree in business administration from Rappahannock Community College in 1977.

After graduating from Rappahannock in 1977, Hunter went to work as a grill cook at a local McDonald’s restaurant. She later moved to New York City where she joined the McDonald’s grill team and was accepted into its training program. By 1981, she was a supervisor at four McDonald’s locations in the City of New York. In 1989, Hunter moved with her family to South Carolina and purchased a store in Moncks Corner. In 1996, she founded the company C & A Unlimited Inc., where she served as president and CEO. By 2012, Hunter owned three McDonald’s franchises in South Carolina, including locations in Moncks Corner, Ladson, and Summerville.

Hunter has been active in many causes. In 2011, she donated $1 million to Trident Technical College in Charleston, South Carolina and established the Rachel Hunter Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund. In 2017, Hunter pledged $500,000 towards the construction of the International African American Museum on Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina; and, the following year, she pledged $250,000 to the Cane Bay Family YMCA, in Charleston, South Carolina. The YMCA honored Hunter by naming the second grade-swimming program in her honor.

Hunter also served as member of the Charleston Southern University Board of Visitors, Trident United Way, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston. In 2006, Hunter was elected to the Trident Technical College Foundation Board where she was named chair in 2015.

Lunch Keynote Speaker – Dr. Shireda Howard

Dr. Howard has more than 30 years of experience providing tax consulting and compliance services to clients throughout the United States and on an International Platform. She is responsible for managing all of the tax consulting and financial compliance in the Atlanta, Georgia, office .Dr. Howard has significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Her many accomplishments include structuring strong innovative programs and business paradigms that produce sustainable results. Dr. Howard has also administered intricacies of government-regulated programs that motivate teams to excellence.

Dr. Howard began her for-profit career with a multi-million dollar publicly traded corporation named SIG, a subsidiary of Siemens International AGI. After ten years of service with SIG, ending in the position of Corporate Controller over SIG, Inc.’s Asian Market, Dr. Howard made a strategic shift to the non-profit. Dr. Howard’s non-profit career spans eight years in various key management positions as Controller for Georgia Community Support & Solutions, Vice President of Fiscal and Business Services for The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., and as a U.S. Federal Grants Compliance Auditor.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Whitney Brown at Whitney@increasinghope.org