New Guard 2020

Zoom In

In what might be Savannah’s most influential virtual meeting, we asked the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and changemakers how they’ve handled a challenging year without losing their passion — or professionalism.

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Dr. Kathleen Benton
PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HOSPICE SAVANNAH
AND THE STEWARD CENTER FOR PALLIATIVE CARE

Innovate, and Inspire Others Along the Way

“When we made an organizational decision to serve patients with COVID-19 in our facility and in their homes, we had to change our entire practice so that we could take care of both COVID and non-COVID patients at the same time. We also broadened the visitation policy to prevent end-of- life isolation while keeping everyone safe. Leading during this pandemic has been one of the most difficult opportunities I have ever embarked upon, and it has certainly forced me to tap into every out-of-the-box idea I never knew I had. I find resilience in the impactful, heartwarming letters I receive from families who were finally able to see their dying loved ones with this virus the day they entered care at Hospice Savannah after being isolated from them for weeks or months prior.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Samuel Evans
CPA, SENIOR MANAGER, HANCOCK ASKEW

Learn Something New

“In my line of work, the pandemic presented a number of legislative changes. This provided an outlet for me to learn and become a knowledgeable adviser to our broad array of clients. Specifically, the new legislation that introduced the PPP Loan program was very complex but provided great benefit for many businesses. Taking time to learn about the new laws and constantly changing regulations — not to mention how businesses could participate in the program — provided me another avenue to serve the many businesses affected by this crisis.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Amy Pierce
RN, BSN, CMC, OWNER AND CEO OF COASTAL
CARE PARTNERS
, COASTAL INDEPENDENCE & MOBILITY AND MY NURSE NOW

Lean in, and on Family

“As we know, COVID-19 impacts older adults more profoundly, and we see that every day at Coastal Care Partners. We’ve been using ‘The Donna Rule’ as a guide. Donna is my mother, and whenever I interview a potential employee, I always ask myself if I would feel comfortable having this person caring for my mom. This philosophy, rooted in family, helps me recruit the best care managers and caregivers. I also believe health care is ripe for innovation, telehealth being a prime example. Young professionals shouldn’t be stymied by the status quo: Challenge convention, and keep trying until you find your own path.”

Get Comfortable With Change

“I moved from Lima, Peru, at the age of 17, leaving all my family and friends behind shortly before my senior year of high school. I started one of the most notoriously difficult businesses to keep alive — a restaurant — in 2009, during the Great Recession. I planned Mint to Be Mojito Bar in late 2019, around the same time I purchased our second food truck, which was ready to operate in February 2020, and I opened the bar at the beginning of March. When I had to temporarily close down Mint to Be shortly thereafter, I had the food trucks booked. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve always stayed busy; it’s in my nature. Change is my friend, and I’m very used to it.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Ryan Claus
PROJECT MANAGER, FELDER & ASSOCIATES

Acknowledge the Process — and Fully Appreciate the Results

“Since I work at an architecture and design firm, the best part about my job is seeing a design go vertical and come to life. It’s the reward for many hours spent researching, modeling, drafting and problem-solving. Don’t get me wrong, the design process is beautiful and filled with many rewards
in and of itself, from finding creative solutions to figuring out a new construction detail or method to simply learning something new about building codes. Those are all important pieces that keep every day interesting, but the most gratify- ing part is finally seeing a design in built form.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Meredith Stone
DESIGN ASSOCIATE, GUNN MEYERHOFF SHAY ARCHITECTS

Expand Your Sense of Community

Although Stone’s time at GMSHAY has included managing the construction of important buildings — the Savannah Cultural Arts Center and The Alida Hotel, for example — she’s most interested in upholding the company’s motto, to build a better Savannah for all. “That’s translated into our work in the affordable housing sector,” Stone shares. “It’s been incredible to design places that people of all walks of life can live, play and grow, whether for a homeless individual, a hardworking single mother, young professionals, the elderly and beyond.” Stone’s unique skill set also landed her an appointment with Mayor Van Johnson’s Housing Savannah taskforce. “Now more than ever, it’s important for people to know that they can afford to stay in quality, healthy and safe housing,” she says.

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Matt Toler
MANAGING PARTNER, TOLER MCINTIRE

Carve Out Time for Culture

As managing partner of a real estate law firm and vice chair on the board of directors for Heads-Up Guidance Services, or HUGS, a local nonprofit widening access for behavioral health counseling and addiction recovery, Toler has plenty on his plate. But finding ways to relax and unwind are a must, he says. “My lovely wife is my more cultured half, and she’s helped me discover ways of slowing down and appreciating our hometown. We like to take walks around downtown, visit art galleries and look at all of the beautiful architecture unique to the city,” he says.

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Nicole Mason
OWNER, IVORY & BEAU

Pay It Forward When You Can

“Wedding cancellations this year were heartbreaking in two ways:
for the couples, of course, but also for my team members. Having to cut their hours was really difficult as a business owner. As things have rebounded, the success of Ivory & Beau means that I can provide employment for women who work so hard and love what they do. I find so much joy watching the women on my team succeed, and when the business is performing well, I’m able to better compensate my team members. Clients and employees drive me to keep pushing through, no matter what comes our way.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Kyle Canady
VICE PRESIDENT AND
GENERAL MANAGER, CANADY’S HEATING • AIR • PLUMBING

Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself

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“I started as a nurse but found much more opportunity in the HVAC industry. This career affords nearly 100 percent job security, and the pay is only getting better as the demand for technicians increases,” Canady says, noting that his top priority today is maintaining job security for his employees. But not everything requires a bold pivot. In fact, a ceaseless commitment to customers is one of Canady’s favorite parts of the job. “Savannah gives us the opportunity to thrive by providing that classic style of customer service that’s so hard to find these days.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Mia Mance
RADIO PERSONALITY, PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF G100 THE THROWBACK STATION AND OWNER OF MIA TALKS MEDIA

Don’t Forget About Work-Life Balance

“In media, being of service to others is more critical than ever right now, and every day I’m working my hardest to tell the stories of Savannah, whether that’s nonprofit needs, acts of kindness (G100 has a weekly ‘Good Deeds’ report) or how business owners are keep- ing their doors open. Still, I have to nurture my passions outside of work. I love home decor and making spaces beautiful. I work out five days a week, and I believe in prayer and daily meditation. I also read obsessively — I’ve recently finished Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Walking Integrity by Benjamin Elijah Mays.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Waldo Webster
OWNER AND OPERATOR,
SAVANNAH ADULT RECREATION CLUB

Recognize Your Larger Impact

“My first business was selling marshmallow ‘guns’ to friends when I was 12. They were made from PVC pipe, and you’d stick a small marshmallow in and blow it out the other side. I couldn’t build them fast enough — my classmates were throwing around lunch money to get their hands on one. Now as an adult, I fuel my inner child through kickball and volleyball leagues. I’m not motivated by the paycheck. Rather, I love my job because it allows me to create things that people enjoy. Seeing someone having fun at something I put together is payment enough; money just gives me the freedom to wake up every day and do it.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Camille Hulbert
EDUCATOR AND CEO, MORNINGSTAR ARTS CREATIVE

Cultivate Self-Confidence

Stepping into the role of CEO can be daunting, especially during a pandemic. But Hulbert approaches her new appoint- ment at Morningstar Arts Creative, a local nonprofit established in 1989, assuredly. “My job has evolved into a new dimension of understanding and communication,” says Hulbert, who’s currently facilitating virtual classes at the Savannah African
Art Museum. “COVID-19 has pressed people in the field of education and art to create an atmosphere that is innovative virtually, while also addressing learning objectives, educational outcomes and educational outreach.” Online or off, she can’t imagine carrying out her work anywhere but Savannah: “The culture and age of progress in such an old city gives
me a measure of my time here in the world.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Derek Mallow
FIELD DIRECTOR, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Focus on the Future

“Our greatest struggle can only be a part of our future progress,” says Mallow, who finds many ways to serve Savannah, from his work as treasurer with 100 Black Men of Savannah to his recent
win as a state representative in the Georgia House of Representatives for District 163 (he’ll officially join the Georgia General Assembly in January 2021). The pan- demic has made Mallow’s day job harder — “We can’t make face-to-face visits with students currently,” he shares — but it’s also given him room to reflect. “Always remain teachable and humble, and always give def- erence to those who helped you along the way.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Carmen Foskey Bergman
CORPORATE COMMUNITY AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, DULANY INDUSTRIES

Find Silver Linings

“Despite the innumerable negatives of COVID-19, I’ve found it rewarding to see the ingenuity and flexibility of local professionals during this challenging time. Business prospects embraced virtual visits to Dulany Industries’ innovative new SeaPoint Complex, nonprofits kept my inbox full with opportunities to help our most vulnerable and, best of all, I can now make it home in time for dinner with the family and a virtual evening event. A special men- tion is due to our company’s essential workers, who have worked diligently to maintain a safe working environment so we can continue to manufacture and move goods that are critical to many industries impacted by the pandemic, including personal protec- tive equipment, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Anne Pappas
OWNER, ANNE PAPPAS INTERIORS AND ABODE FINE STAGING

Shift Your Perspective

“After 15 years in this industry, I still learn on every jobsite, on every project and with every design team. This year has taught me to be very flexible and adapt in creative ways — technology, like using Zoom meetings for the first time with clients this year, is a good exam- ple of that. As a single mom, I would have never imagined trying to run a business while overseeing the remote learning of two children, but having figured out a way to make it work has empowered me to not be afraid of the difficulties my job might present. I find resilience by constantly learning, evolving and growing. Challenges become opportunities to learn.”

New Guard 2020 Savannah, Georgia
Michelle Peth
OWNER, BEETTAN, REAL ESTATE AGENT WITH VANTOSH REALTY GROUP

Find a Mentor

As the owner of BEETTAN, Peth’s entrepreneurial spirit knows no bounds — she helps other small businesses and meets regularly with other local, women-owned companies, especially lately. “We’ve formed a sort of support group. We’ve supported each other and survived this as a team,” she says. Peth is a mentor for oth- ers, and she can’t speak enough to its wider importance. “Someone has already been in your shoes and made mistakes,” she says. “Soak up their knowledge, ask questions and learn from their lessons. This will put you on a path to succeed in any avenue of life.”

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