Mario Brown

Mario Brown: Co-Founder of Affordable Upstate

Mario Brown, a Greenville native and co-founder of Affordable Upstate, has been pivotal in reimagining affordable housing. Through N.O.A.H. Property Management, an Affordable Upstate initiative, Brown has launched groundbreaking economic mobility-focused programs that ease economic burdens and enhance accessibility. Among these, the “Flex Pay” Program stands out, allowing residents to align rent payments with their pay schedules.

This program, together with Deposit Alternatives, Positive Credit Reporting, and effective tracking, underscores Brown’s dedication to empowering tenants and fostering economic mobility. His innovative approach not only uplifts the Greenville community but also sets a new benchmark for dignified and accessible housing solutions.

Mario serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Homes of Hope and is a member of the Metropolitan Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greenville.

Award-Winning Author Karin Freeland

Karin Freeland is an award-winning author, Podcast Host, and certified Life Reinvention Coach focused on helping professional women transform their lives by overcoming fears and achieving their dreams without sacrificing time with family and friends, health, or self-care. Her signature program EDIT Your Life™ combines the lessons she learned during her 15 years in corporate with her signature coaching methodology, which she’s developed and refined over the past 5 years.  Karin resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two boys and dog, Kobe. In her free time she enjoys hiking, fitness, and dancing.

Read 6 Secrets To Get Unstuck Today

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topsoil restaurant

Adam Cooke: Topsoil Kitchen & Market

Our mission at Topsoil Restaurant is to serve our guests with healthy, local food grown in our community in a more meaningful way. Our classroom is our 16-acre farm 2.5 miles down the road in Greenville, SC, and our mentors are a handful of passionate neighboring farmers. This endeavor has given us a valuable perspective and respect for the hard work that small farms do daily to put food on our tables. We have gained a sincere reverence for the local ingredients we choose and we believe locally grown food just tastes better!

Every month our team tours an Upstate SC farm and we walk the fields with the farmer to see what’s growing and what’s coming up.  That farm is then featured in our monthly plant based supper club and on our menu.  

Topsoil Restaurant is something much more than a restaurant, it is a love letter to long growing seasons here in South Carolina and hard-working small farmers.  Our guests can look forward to memorable meals, worth the drive.  We look forward to sharing this with you every time you visit.  We hope you dig it!

Integral Leaders in Health

Spence Taylor: Integral Leaders in Health

Founder, CEO of Integral Leaders in Health

Spence M. Taylor, M.D. is a nationally recognized academic physician leader with 30 years of  experience as a senior executive, surgeon, full professor and researcher.

Most recently, Dr. Taylor served as president of the Greenville Health System (GHS) — now a  part of Prisma Health. He was the first physician to be named president in the 107-year history  of GHS — a health system with nearly $3 billion in annual operating revenue, eight hospitals,  1,600 beds, 2,000 employed providers, 16,000 employees and an emerging academic health  center.  

During his career, Dr. Taylor helped drive the advancement of Academic Medicine in a variety of  roles. In addition to serving as surgical residency program director, department chair, leader of  an employee medical group, Designated Institutional Official for Graduate Medical Education  and research, and chief academic officer, Dr. Taylor was the principal developer and Planning  Dean for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville – North America’s 136th  medical school. He also was instrumental in bringing the Clemson University School of Nursing  to Prisma Health’s Greenville Memorial Medical Campus which is located beside the medical  school to create the 100th recognized Academic Health Center in the world.  

As a nationally recognized physician leader, Dr. Taylor is a member of every significant  academic organization in surgery. He was elected as a director to the American Board of  Surgery (ABS) in 2011 and served as Chair of the ABS in 2018-2019. He also is a past president of  both the Southern Surgical Association and the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery.

Dr. Taylor is the recipient of multiple teaching awards and the author or co-author of more than  120 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. Additionally, Dr. Taylor often lectures across  the country on clinical outcomes as well as the role of physicians as leaders in medicine and  patient care. 

People Of Greenville – Kelli Ferguson

I am the owner of KC Ferguson Solutions, a social media management and bookkeeping services company aimed at helping small business owners and entrepreneurs. We run the Hello Greenville, Hello Simpsonville, and Hello Upstate SC pages on social media, connecting with businesses, restaurants, and local activities so we can share with our followers. I live in Simpsonville with my husband and kiddos, but prior to Simpsonville, I’ve lived in multiple parts of the country, including the Nashville, Seattle, Los Angeles, Orange County areas, and grew up in the central Valley of California. Greenville is by FAR my favorite place I have ever lived and we have no plans to ever leave.

I got my B.A. in Social Sciences from Washington State University and I have an MBA from LSU. My current business opened a year ago, but I have been a small business owner for over a dozen years.

I have clients around the country but definitely specialize in local businesses for social media because of the ability to capture photos and video for their content. We do short- and long-term social media packages and local promotions on our pages, Hello Greenville, Hello Simpsonville, and Hello Upstate SC.

A Conversation With Dr. Greg Brannon

Dr. Greg Brannon, Medical Director and Founder of Optimal Bio, a Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) center with seven locations across the Southeast. They just opened an office in Greenville last month, and would love to share their mission with your listeners.

Using all-natural hormones that are identical to those made by your body, BHRT helps ease the degenerative side effects of aging and other medical issues, including fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, depression, diabetes, headaches, osteoporosis and more. 

“I have seen those struggling with brain fog and fatigue from everyday life and past illnesses regain their clarity and energy, Veterans with PTSD begin treatment and reclaim their lives, and people dealing with anxiety and depression take back their wellbeing. Everyone truly is a candidate for BHRT, and I have seen it in action as one of the most effective, safe and reliable ways to improve your quality of life,” shares Brannon.

Everyone is truly a candidate for BHRT, and we think Dr. Brannon’s impressive background, outstanding drive and passion for the hormone industry would make him an excellent candidate for a future podcast episode to get involved in the Greenville community. His first book, “The Hormone Handbook(available on Amazon), provides readers with a great foundation outlining the importance of hormones, and his second book, debuting in 2024, will provide readers with the ability to truly understand the foundation of their own health. 

Thanks and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Mr. USA John DeFendis

A Conversation With John DeFendis

Weight Loss and Fitness Hall of Fame Inductee, John DeFendis is the Founder of the Ultra Fit nutrition and exercise program. In addition to international recognition as a weight loss and fitness expert, DeFendis has been a spiritual and motivational speaker, professional athlete, performance/lifestyle coach for over 34 years, and has guided thousands of Americans in the definition and achievement of their professional and personal objectives. His philosophy of “Relentless Pursuit” can best be illustrated by his defined objective of a Mr. USA title, committed to paper at age thirteen, and ultimately achieved in 1988 at age thirty. More than a generation of short-term emotion, DeFendis initiates sustained, quantifiable achievement with the individuals and organizations with which he works.

DeFendis developed Ultra Fit 28 years ago and executes the program through a national team of personal trainers. Ultra Fit is tweight loss, toning and shaping, and anti-aging program available and since its development, has produced tens of thousands of success stories. The program is responsible for results which include the loss of 100 pounds or more by hundreds of Americans in the last 2 years alone, and has been featured on a number of major television programs and networks including Hard Copy (4 times), ABC TV’s 20/20 with Barbara Walters, Fox News, CNN, CBS, & ABC News, ESPN, The Joan Rivers Show, and NBC Sports.

Mr. USA John DeFendis
~ Ultra Fit Founder & Director ~

  • Weight Loss & Fitness Expert
  • Fitness Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Trainer of the Year – 9 Years
  • Trainer of Champions
  • Celebrity Personal Trainer
  • Fitness Author & Speaker

John DeFendis Bio:

  • Weight Loss, Health & Fitness Expert
  • Fitness Hall of Fame (Inducted in 2007)
  • Life Coach
kamber parker

A Conversation With Kamber Parker

Kamber Parker started The YoPro Know in 2018, and went full time with the business in the Spring of 2022. Before that she was the interim Executive Director of the Greenville Area Parkinson Society after having served on staff for almost four years in fundraising.

In the community, The YoPro Know was named the 2023 Greenville Chamber Small Business of the Year, and Parker has been honored as one of Greenville’s Best and Brightest by Greenville Business Magazine and one of GSA Business Report’s 40 under 40. She also was part of the 2021 ChangeMakers Class.

A Furman University graduate, she has served as the Chair of the Pacesetter Program at the Greenville Chamber;  is a business mentor at Furman and then was the 2022 Greenville Chamber Young Professional of the Year. She is a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 49.

A Conversation with Greenville Mayor Knox White

Mayor White has served on City Council since 1983 and as mayor since December 1995. A native of Greenville, Mayor White is a graduate of Christ Church Episcopal School and Greenville High School and attended Wake Forest University and the University of South Carolina Law School. He was a partner in the law firm of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, where he led the firm’s immigration and customs practices.

We Talk Marketing and Gardening With Tiffany Deluccia 

Tiffany was born in Greenville and raised around Upstate South Carolina. She graduated from Clemson University, and started her career in marketing communications on Coffee Street at JDPR, before joining The Unstuck Group in 2014. 

She’s valued by her team for problem-solving and building systems, communications strategy, inbound marketing, and team leadership. She’s obsessed with The Six Types of Working Genius by Patrick Lencioni and talks about it way too much.

She’s also a self-taught gardening evangelist who aims to inspire others to grow more plants. She lives in Greenville with her husband and two children. You can find her online @gvlgardening and