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New Fiscal Year, New Active Board!
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January 4, 2023
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Business people with their hands together.
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SCORE Grand Strand Active Board

SCORE offers the nation's largest network of free expert business mentors. With SCORE, you can have honest, confidential, and sometimes tough conversations about managing money, motivating your team, and other business topics. 

The Grand Strand Chapter, SCORE, is currently serving nine counties in South Carolina: Horry, Georgetown, Florence, Marion, Williamsburg, Dillion, Chesterfield, Darlington, and Marlboro. As the new fiscal year rolls in, we are excited to welcome our new BOARD that will lead the growth of the Grand Strand Chapter with a positive impact on the local economy.

Irina I. Agoulnik, Chapter Chair

Irina I. Agoulink, Chapter Chair

Irina has over 30 years of professional experience including in academia, biotech, and entrepreneurship with a focus on biomedical research management. Irina’s diverse training & experience provides rich content for driving business initiatives in small and mid-sized businesses. She guides toward profitable business growth by designing customized strategies and implementing improved business efficiency via analytical insights and digital tools. She is a strategy troubleshooter and cultural broker, with expertise in cross-functional & interdisciplinary operations for startups and emerging businesses. Irina joined SCORE as a certified mentor in October 2020 and served as Chapter Chair in FY2022.

 

Rich Spivey, Pee Dee Branch Leader

Rich Spivey, Pee Dee Branch Leader

Rich is a retired Honda executive and board director with a 36-year career of developing and leading diverse teams, shaping the strategic direction, and catalyzing effective decision-making at the corporate level.  He is a manufacturing & technology advisor for NESA, the regional economic development organization for northeastern South Carolina, and is a certified instructor for Situational Leadership and Social Styles training.  Rich became a certified SCORE mentor in February 2021 and leverages his experience in business planning, supply chain, human resources, and operations to assist small business owners. 

 

Erica Weitman, Vice Chair - Mentors D&E

Erica Weitman, Vice Chair - Mentors D&E

Erica has over 15 years of experience in both private and publicly held corporations. Receiving her MBA from Texas A&M International University earlier this year, she quickly leveraged her education and leadership. She is actively engaged within the community, committed towards creating diverse and inclusive relationships, mentoring, and developing business entrepreneurs and professionals, with an emphasis on minority-led businesses. At the Grand Strand SCORE, Erica advises small business owners on various topics of business operations and leads the Mentors Development and Engagement Committee.

 

Ron Opher, Vice Chair – Marketing

Ron Opher, Vice Chair – Marketing

In his law practice, Ron helped many clients with business strategy, operations, and cash-flow/ROI-oriented decisions. As a sole owner of the law practice and multi-venture entrepreneur (currently a co-owner of a travel agency), Ron is an expert in business development, from the start-up to a mature phase, particularly well-versed in marketing, and in evaluating the best methodologies of in-person networking, public relations, and web-based marketing. Ron also had first-hand experience in founding a charity and serving on nonprofit boards, where governance and protocols are both important yet different from those in the for-profit world.

 

John Abato, Vice Chair - Workshops

John Abato, Vice Chair - Workshops

John is leveraging a long career in NYC with telecom carriers, financial services firms, and two startup businesses, all primarily in the NYC area. He is combining IT training with business skills such as negotiation, partnership building, people management & development, and contracts, procurement, and sourcing. Having run two business startups, he utilizes lessons learned, risks, and rewards to assist new clients to improve their chances of success. Once John became a SCORE-certified mentor in July 2019, he initiated and led the educational efforts of the Chapter by organizing virtual workshops for clients.

 

Arthur Simpson, Vice Chair – Onboarding

Arthur Simpson, Vice Chair – Onboarding

President and Founder of the manufacturing services company since 2004, Art has over 30 years of experience in technically-oriented companies from engineer to general management positions. College Adjunct professor for 15 years, Art taught students on topics of marketing, economics, management, and small business development. At SCORE he is offering clients advice and counsel in marketing, finance, management, operational improvement, and business strategy. His business acumen, friendly personality, and knowledge of SCORE requirements help him to lead his Onboarding team to select the best volunteers for our Chapter.

 

Ray Wells, Treasurer, Vice Chair – Fundraising

Ray Wells, Treasurer, Vice Chair – Fundraising

Ray Wells joined the Grand Strand SCORE in September of 2021 after retiring from a 40-year career in Banking. Most of his banking career was spent in small business lending as a loan officer and as such, he has a good understanding of cash flow and financing options for small businesses. When he heard positive comments about the local SCORE office, he thought that it will be a great opportunity for him to give back to the community. And one year later, he was elected as Chapter Treasurer with responsibilities to build a collaborative network of connections with local banks both as fundraising and educational initiatives. Great start, Ray!

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