Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums is an annual series of educational workshops presented by DNA Creative Communications in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville, United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. These comprehensive seminars in nonprofit management include topics such as fundraising, strategic planning, branding, public relations and leadership development. Each session is designed exclusively for nonprofit professionals, executive directors and board members to provide insight and training in operating a successful nonprofit organization. Since launching Shine the Light in 2010, more than 1,000 participants and 350 nonprofit organizations have attended. Below you will find information on past sessions. To learn more about this year’s offerings and to register for workshops visit Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums.


“Transitioning From Coordination to Collaboration” November 15, 2016 8:00am-noon 

Collaborations don’t just happen. It is much easier, and perhaps faster, for organizations to continue working alone as they have done in the past. Today’s innovative leaders intentionally connect with collaborative partners to align organizational missions and achieve greater community impact…so they can go the distance. Join Shine the Light for thought-provoking presentations and conversations about effective collaborations. You will be inspired. Speakers and facilitators include:

Zachary Brewster, MAU Workforce Solutions

Sean Dogan, Long Branch Baptist Church

Darrin Goss, Coastal Community Foundation

Trey Ingram, Smith Moore Law

Kimbrelly Kegler, Michelin North America

Tony McDade, United Ministries

Curt McPhail, Wofford College

Heather Meadors, JHM Hotels

Ed Roman, Southside High School

Katy Smith, Piedmont Health Foundation

Lindsey Stemann, McMillion Consulting

Molly Talbot-Metz, Mary Black Foundation

Sharon Thomas, Nonprofit Leadership Consultant

Kimberly Witherspoon, Haynesworth Sinkler Boyd

“Accelerating Organizational Effectiveness With an Increasingly Diverse Team” September 27, 2016 8:00am-noon Information about diversity and inclusion is everywhere. Over the past two decades the benefits of having a diverse workforce have been thoroughly researched and highly publicized. Most nonprofit leaders, however, have not fully capitalized on its benefits, since they are not sure how to translate this knowledge into their staff development programs. This workshop will focus on the nuisances of diversity and how it impacts staff effectiveness. Facilitators included:

Michael Allen, McMillan Pazdan Smith

Josh Bell, Teach for America South Carolina

Steve Hall, Find Great People International

Whitney Hanna, Greenville County Schools

Guy Hempel, The Hayes Group International

Julio Hernandez, Greenville Technical College

Tish McCutchen, United Way of Greenville County (Retired)

Jennifer Oladipo, X Editorial

Tiffany Santagati, Southern First Bank

Tamela Spann, Hollingsworth Funds

Beverly Ward, Talent Management

Rochelle Williams, Gather Consulting

“Creating a Vibrant Organization That Fosters Forward Thinking” July 12, 2016 8:00am-noon Every organization has symbols, messages and behaviors that continually communicate who it is and what it does. These characteristics and actions may be hidden or they may be visible. Consider how they impact your organization’s day-to-day problem solving, interactions and capacity building. Use these insights to achieve a more vibrant culture. Facilitators included:

Meliah Bowers Jefferson, Wyche Law Firm

Evan Cramer, UCW Logistics

Megan Dodgens, The Riley Institute at Furman

Whitney Hanna, Greenville County Schools

Elizabeth Jende, MOVE Performance Consulting

Addy Matney, TM Public Relations

Carlos Quintero, Sales Effectiveness

Tamela Spann, Hollingsworth Funds

Tod Tappert, Greenville Health System

Beverly Ward, Talent Management

Dan Weidenbenner, Mill Village Farms

Sharon Whitney, United Community Bank

“Leading Forward: The Mindset of the Nonprofit Leader” May 10, 2016 8:00am-noon As nonprofit leaders operate in today’s world and plan for the future of their organizations, they face many significant challenges. How will they attract and retain the right people? How will they build effective collaborations to tackle complex community issues? How will they create nurturing environments to inspire creative solutions? Shine the Light’s 2016 four-part series will focus on the key elements of innovative leadership and how this approach is essential for high-impact organizations to lead into the future. Speakers and facilitators included:

Jovian Zayne, Jovian Zayne LLC

Michael Allen, McMillan Pazdan Smith

Billy Crank, Michelin North America (Retired)

Jo Watson Hackl, Wyche Law Firm

Carol Hamilton, Red Fox Road

Whitney Hanna, Greenville County Schools

Cal Hurst, TD Bank

Tobi Kinsell, United Way of Greenville County

Addy Matney, TM Public Relations

Magaly Penn

Cherington Shucker, Greenville Center for Creative Arts

Beverly Ward, Talent Management

Nika White, Greenville Chamber of Commerce


Thank you to our 2016 Series Sponsors:


“Leading With an Exceptional Board” September 30, 2015 8:30am-noon This workshop is designed exclusively for executive directors and board leaders. Does you board struggle to identify and recruit the right members?  Is today’s board really the board you will need for tomorrow? Consider bringing multiple board members to Shine the Light to start planning for your board’s future. Back by popular demand, Susan Meier returns to Shine the Light digging deep into board development strategies. Whether you were able to attend Susan’s session last year or this is your first time to hear from her, you won’t be disappointed with this brand, new board development workshop.

“Leading With an Exceptional Team” November 17, 2015 8:00am-noon This session, designed for executive directors and senior nonprofit leaders, will provide a clear and actionable framework for effectively engaging employees. Join Patrick Jinks – president of Jinks Perspective Group, certified leadership coach, professional speaker, facilitator, planner and trainer – as he shares proven leadership strategies for attracting, motivating and retaining your organization’s top talent. Patrick brings a 20-year track record in organizational leadership to Shine the Light.

Thank you to our 2015 Series Sponsors:


In 2014, DNA held four Shine the Light Nonprofit Forum workshops focused on building stronger board leadership, creating a culture within an organization, and addressing the importance of sustainability in the operation of a nonprofit organization. Panelists and keynote speakers include:

“Creating a Strong Organizational Culture” May 21, 2014 8:00am-noon Does your organization’s culture support your organization’s mission? Are employees being treated fairly in the workplace? How well does your organization respond to change? Let Patrichi Shah help your team answer these questions and more in the first session of this year’s Shine the Light series.

“Developing and Engaging a High Performing Board” July 16, 2014 8:00am-noon Join Susan Meier in the second session of this year’s Shine the Light series, where your team will determine qualities in potential recruits and discuss ways to ensure your board’s ability to handle business effectively.

“Expanding Leadership Beyond Your Walls” September 9, 2014 8:00am-noon This session will give attendees the tools necessary to expand their leadership by developing a shared vision and goals, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing funding.

“Leading For Sustainability” November 19, 2014 8:00am-noon Sustainability is becoming an important goal for nonprofit organizations. This workshop will help attendees understand the barriers that can keep staff from being successful at engaging board members in fundraising, gain a better understanding of board member needs and perspectives when it comes to fundraising, and learn the 5 keys for engaging board members in fundraising and how this relates to the type of information, support, training and opportunities you offer.

Thank you to our 2014 Series sponsors:


“Shine the Light on Your Nonprofit” Workshops: The Funder/Grantee Dynamic: A Candid Conversation June 13, 2013 8:30 am-noon Executive and Development Officers will benefit from topics that addressed clear communication between Funder and Grantee to avoid common misunderstandings and the pitfalls of power imbalance. Attendees will learn how to become better stewards of resources while fostering productive and results-driven business partnerships. Panelists and facilitators include:

Successful Public Relations: Telling and Selling Your Story August 7, 2013 8:30 am-noon An integral part of successful Public Relations is telling your story well. This workshop will address leveraging Public Relations to support fundraising and communication goals. Attendees will learn how to craft their story in order to develop effective Public Relations strategies and compelling donor relations campaigns. Investing in Non-Profit Infrastructure as an Engine to Effective Programming September 18, 2013 8:30 am-3:30 pm Intended for Executive and Operations Directors, topics to be discussed include employee recruitment and management, stewardship of resources and ways to build financial growth, technology acumen and proper information technology infrastructures, and how to ensure adequate office space and prepare for expansions. Reframing Your Organization’s Strategic Plan: Good Today, Great Tomorrow November 20, 2013 8:30 am-noon This workshop demonstrates how to reframe your strategic plan in order to fulfill your organization’s vision and meet your organization’s long-term goals.  Topics that may be discussed include Evaluating Practice and Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector, Aligning Your Organization’s Metrics with Your Organization’s Vision, and Roles in Strategic Analysis: the Executive Director’s Role vs. Boards.  Attendees will learn about outsourced solutions for a strategic analysis, how to link metrics with their organization’s vision, and will deepen their understanding of the Executive Director and Board roles.

Thank you to our 2013 Series Sponsors:


In 2012, DNA planned several seminars that continued to focus on the communication needs of local nonprofits. In addition they started a new initiative of executive briefings in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville and the Hollingsworth Funds. The executive briefings were specifically designed for Board Chairs and Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations and aimed to empower them with sustainable skills and tools to be successful leaders. In 2012, two of these executive briefings were offered that focused on fundraising and the importance of the Board Chair/Executive Director relationship. Other seminars offered focused on online communication, how to handle your organizations branding, and the best ways to tell as powerful story.    

2012 “Shine the Light on Your Nonprofit” workshops:

  • Leadership Synergy: Fundraising Fundamentals for Success

“Leadership Synergy: Fundraising Fundamentals for Success” was a half-day interactive workshop, planned as part of the executive briefing initiative designed exclusively for Board Chairs and Executive Directors. It focused on key functions of board leadership that fuel nonprofit success and covered various topics, such as defining fundraising goals, establishing lasting relationships with donors, and donor recognition. The session addressed the need for successful fundraising tools given the challenges that nonprofits face in the current economic situation, and provided Board Chairs and Executive Directors with effective skills that they can apply to their organizations’ fundraising campaigns. “Leadership Synergy” featured a special presentation by Carl Beard, an experienced fundraising professional from CCBeard & Associates, whose consulting practice has provided opportunities to serve a rich diversity of clients, from Clemson University to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, VA, and whose capital campaigns have ranged from $6 million to $500 million. The session also included a panel discussion led by the following:

  • Web Fusion 2.0: Finding Your Web Future

“Web Fusion 2.0: Finding Your Web Future” focused on social media tactics to help improve nonprofits’ online communications. The session addressed the many different ways to utilize social media platforms in order to maintain a successful online presence. “Web Fusion 2.0” featured special presentations by Melanie Mathos and Chad Norman, co-authors of the book, 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits and Anne Decabooter, owner at Booter, Inc.

  • Brand Handling: Expanding the Power of Your Message

“Brand Handling: Expanding the Power of Your Message” focused on the importance and power of good branding. The DNA team worked with attendees on how an effective brand can raise awareness for your organization and build trust while communicating your mission.

  • Power Surge: Maximizing the Board Chair/ED Relationship

“Power Surge: Maximizing the Board Chair/ED Relationship” was designed exclusively for Board Chairs and Executive Directors and focused on key functions of board leadership that fuel nonprofit success. Some of the topics that were covered included strategic planning and nonprofit Board Chair/ED partnership. The session featured two nationally recognized leaders in the nonprofit arena:

Cornelius is the principal of Blackfish Strategies, a consulting company headquartered in Alabama specializing in training government, community-based, and faith-based organizations in governance, charitable choice, board development, strategic thinking, fund development, leadership, and social marketing. Cornelius trains nonprofit, faith-based, and government groups on board development and private and public economic development initiatives. She has trained thousands of board members of both nonprofit and for-profit corporations and has assisted the policy offices of twenty-three U.S. Governors. Bradham is the president of Corporate DevelopMint, a strategic planning and fundraising consulting firm headquartered in Charleston. As CEO of Corporate DevelopMint, Bradham has helped guide over 130 nonprofit organizations from Virginia to Florida with goals that have ranged from $3 million to $100 million. In addition to providing counsel for nonprofits throughout the Southeast, Bradham has made over a hundred presentations and speeches to numerous associations and organizations around the globe. “Power Surge” also included a panel discussion on the importance of the Board Chair/ED relationship led by the following community leaders:

  • Power Pitch: Amplify Your PR through Storytelling

“Power Pitch: Amplify Your PR through Storytelling” was an interactive workshop that focused on the power of storytelling and gave nonprofits the skills to consistently tell their stories in new and interesting ways. The session featured two guest speakers, Sean Muserallo of WYFF and Robyn Zimmerman of Greeenville Health System, as well as an interactive activity on crafting a powerful story. Muserallo joined WYFF in 2008, but has held several other reporting jobs throughout the country being granted the opportunities to cover a wide array of stories from the Virginia Tech shooting to the Michael Vick case. Since moving to Greenville, he has been fully invested in serving the community, volunteering with Hands on Greenville, Greenville Humane Society, PULSE, the Ronald McDonald House, and many more. Zimmerman has served as the Director of Public and Community Relations for GHS for the past 12 years. She serves as the spokesperson and oversees news media relations, community relations, partnerships and outreach, and corporate communications. Zimmerman also worked on-air in broadcast for 12 years with South Carolina ETV, WSPA-TV Channel 7 in Spartanburg and KGUN-TV in Tucson, Arizona. Currently, Zimmerman teaches communication classes at Greenville Technical College, serves as a Senior Associate for Furman University’s Center for Corporate and Professional Development and serves on the boards of the March of Dimes and Centre Stage Theatre.


2011 “Shine the Light on Your Nonprofit” workshops:

  • Creative Therapy: Making Events Feel Special

“Creative Therapy: Making Events Feel Special” focused on helping attendees master the basics of event planning. Panelists with expertise in venues, themes, volunteer coordination, and logistics offered advice on what makes a great event, how to utilize and build volunteer support and how to budget for an event that is sure to be a success. Media specialists included: • Jacqui Bomar, JBM & Associates • Emily Kosa, DNA Creative Communications • A Representative of Zen Greenville, An Event Venue • Shane Clary, Good Life Catering • Mary Ellington Johnson, Mary E. Johnson Consulting

  • Web Fusion: Tracking & Training Your Visitors

“Web Fusion: Tracking & Training Your Visitors” was a half-day workshop that demonstrated essential online tools and how to use them to strengthen your online presence. The small group sessions connected people with experts, including Amy Wood, a news anchor from WSPA, to learn more about web traffic, e-communications, blogs, SEO optimization, and social media.

  • Brand Control: Harnessing the Power of Your Message

“Brand Control: Harnessing the Power of Your Message” was a workshop that was aimed to build confidence and consistency in one’s brand by arming board members, volunteers and anyone in between with the right tools and knowledge to do so. This seminar focused on building internal communications, strengthening social connections, creating informational packets, and trained potential brand ambassadors.

  • Power Surge: “Pitching Your PR” Boot Camp

“Power Surge: ‘Pitching Your PR’ Boot Camp” was an interactive workshop in which attendees learned how to build media relations, pitch their stories, and handle a communications crisis. The workshop was led by Greenville Hospital System’s Robyn Zimmerman, the Greenville Journal’s Lyn Riddle, and DNA’s Debbie Nelson.


2010 “Shine the Light on Your Nonprofit” workshops:

  • Ignite Your Marketing Imagination

“Ignite Your Marketing Imagination” focused on communications tips and topics to help Executive Directors and key staff improve creative marketing. Attendees were given the opportunity to “speed date” with nine local communications specialists to learn about printing, budgets, electronic communications, event promotions, brand promotions, media choices, fundraising and a little creative therapy. • Read In Between the Lines: Printing Tips from a Pro – Craig Ragsdale, Martin Printing • Budgets: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em, We all Need Them – Anna Locke, A.T. Locke • Turn Your e-chatter Into e-results – Emily Kosa, DNA Creative Communications • Boost Your Event Brand – Jacqui Bomar, JBM & Associates • Leave Your Customers with your Brand in Hand– Kamran Popkin, Swag Club • Pick a Purpose: the A, B, C’s of Media Buying – Dana Morgan, DNA Creative Communications • Need an Outlet for Your Woes? Let’s Talk Creative Therapy – Debbie Nelson & Whitney Howell, DNA Creative Communications • Raise the Bar on Your Fundraising – Corporate Development

  • Moving at the Speed of Light

“Moving at the Speed of Light” focused on social media strategies, the basic fundamentals of recommended social media sites and the best practices for promoting an organization through social media. Led by DNA’s own Dana Morgan, the interactive workshop centered on the importance of utilizing social media for nonprofits to promote their organization, reach new demographics and generate donations.

  • Finding the Spotlight

“Finding the Spotlight” featured a panel of media specialists and journalists who shared tips on how to give your nonprofit organization the spotlight it deserves in local media. The panelists, from some of Greenville’s major media outlets, offered advice on what makes a great story from their point of view. The panelists included: • Kristi Keenan, Editor, Greenville Business Magazine • Chris Weston, Editor, The Greenville News • Kim Hassold, Editor-in-Chief, Talk Magazine • Nigel Robertson, News Anchor, WYFF News4 • Marne Mason, Program Director, WMYI My 102.5

  • Be a Beacon for Your Brand

“Be a Beacon for Your Brand” focused on developing an appreciation for the art of presenting and learning how to become a beacon for your nonprofit’s brand. The session featured Deb Sofield, Executive Speech and Presentation Coach, who enlightened nonprofit staff and board members on how they can be beacons for their organization’s brand through strong presentation skills and verbal communication. First impressions of an organization are ignited through conversations with key representatives of nonprofit. Developing the speaking skills of those individuals, whether they are speaking to a large crowd or one individual is important for developing key relationships and recruiting ambassadors for your organization.

  • Be a Social-Light for Your Organization

“Be a Social-Light for Your Organization” taught the fundamentals of social media outlets and focused on developing strategies that board members can use to shed some light on their organizations. The session focused on how social media can be used by board members to utilize their own social media sites to promote nonprofits to their key contacts. Social media is ever changing and has become one of the most important tools in marketing nonprofits.

  • Re-Energize Your Event Planning

“Re-Energize Your Event Planning” focused on teaching the A, B, C’s of effective nonprofit event planning and budget development through an interactive discussion with a panel of seasoned event planners in Greenville. Attendees learned how to give their sponsorship dollars more meaning and learn how to secure corporate sponsors with advice from our panelists.

Thank you to our community partners: