Board of Directors
Les Ward is currently employed as the General Manager for Pepsi of Florence/Pee Dee Foods and has been with the company for three and a half years. Originally from Kingsport, Tennessee, Les received his undergraduate degree in Management from the University of Tennessee. This is his first year as a board member for the United Way of Florence County and he joined the board to help impact the community. Les is married to his wife, Heather, and has four children, Hallie, Hanna, Sonner, and Leslie. His hobbies include F3, soccer, and golf and his ideal vacation would be in the mountains with his family. His favorite movie is My Cousin Vinny, his favorite author is Louis L'Amour.
John Cariati is currently employed as the Operational Quality Manager for Assurant in Florence, SC and Duluth, GA and has been with the company for eight years. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, John has served on the UWFC board for nine years. He joined the board because he truly believes we are all one catastrophic event away from the need of any of the United Way partner agencies. John is married to wife, Buffy, and has four children. His hobbies include traveling with his family, DIY projects, motocross, hunting, and watching Pittsburgh sports and his favorite TV show, the Walking Dead. His ideal vacation would be on a beach in St. Maarten.
Previous Board Chair
Jamie Floyd is currently employed with Florence County as the Assistant Assessor and has been with the County Assessor's office for 2 years. Originally from Lake City, SC; Jamie is married to wife Michelle and has three children, Madison, Brooke, and Brendan. He decided to join the United Way of Florence County board because he believes involving Florence County with United Way would be a huge gain for both organizations. In his free time, Jamie enjoys hunting, fishing, and most of all, spending time with his children. His favorite movie is The Count of Monte Cristo.
Bio coming soon.
Dwayne Brockington is currently employed as the Vice President-Relationship Banker for First Reliance Bank and has been with the company for 13 years. Originally from Mullins, Brockington received his B.S. in Biology from Francis Marion College and is also a graduate of the South Carolina School of Banking. Brockington joined the UWFC board eight years ago and decided to serve on the board because the United Way is a well-known agency that is committed to serving the Florence community by providing an array of services. He is married to wife, Dara, and has two children, Kara and Nick. His hobbies include music and playing the piano and his ideal vacation would be relaxing on a beach. His favorite movies are Remember the Titans and the Blind Side.
Jill Lewis is currently employed with Signature Wealth Strategies and has been with the company for just under a year. A New York City native, Jill received her B.S. in Education from Penn State University. She has served on the UWFC board for over thirty years and chose to serve because she truly believes in the organization and the number of really excellent agencies that the UWFC assists. Jill also feels that the UWFC reaches many, many people with a variety of needs and emergencies, while also doing the homework to ensure that your money reaches the most critical needs. Jill is married to husband, Dr. Joseph Lewis, and has three children, Adam, Christopher, and Nicole. Her hobbies include running, the beach, and enjoying time spent with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Her favorite TV shows are the news and the Voice, her ideal vacation would be traveling through history or island hopping.
Irby Wilson is currently employed as the Director of Operations for the Orr Company and has been with the company for over thirty years. Irby is originally from Timmonsville, South Carolina and received his undergraduate degree in Electronics from Florence-Darlington Technical College. He joined the UWFC board six years ago because he has always been a believer in the UWFC. Irby is married to wife, Alvenia, and has two children, Kierston and Sharon. His hobbies include traveling, computers, and watching western movies.
Community Investment Chair
Quincy Kennedy is currently employed as the CCO of Signature Wealth Strategies and has over twenty years of experience in the field of investments. He received his B.S. in Finance and M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina and also serves on the board for the Florence County Voter Registration & Election Commission and chaired the United Way’s Community Investment Committee. Outside of his professional and philanthropic work, Quincy enjoys photography, hunting, flying, skydiving, and living life to the fullest.
Reverend Merritt Graves
Mt. Zion AME Church
Reverend Merritt B. Graves is currently employed as the Pastor for the Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church and has been with the church for 11 years. A Florence native, Rev Graves received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and got his Master of Divinity from the Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio. Rev Graves decided to join the United Way Board in 2019 because we wanted to help make our community a better place to live, work, and play. He is married to wife, Liz, and has one son, Merritt Graves II. His hobbies include reading and listening to smooth jazz, his favorite show is NCIS Los Angeles, and his ideal vacation would be at the beach.
Pam Elliott has been employed at McLeod Regional Medical Center since 2005 and currently serves as the Vice President for Medical Services. She received a Bachelor’s in Nursing from MUSC and a Master’s in Health Administration from USC – Columbia. Pam joined the Board in April 2021 after serving on CIC for the past two years. This committee participation provided only a peek at the amazing work of UWFC and its partnering agencies, which stirred a desire to get more involved.
Pam lives in Florence with her husband, Tony. Together, they have five children: Krystal, Marissa, Chandler, Hannah, and Delaney. Her hobbies include international travel and experiencing different cultures. Her favorite book is The Shack by William Paul Young. One of her favorite quotes is from John C. Maxwell – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
ADP Tax Credit Services
Bio coming soon.
Lake City Continuum
Jeanette Altman is currently employed as the Executive Director of the Continuum in Lake City. Originally from Spartanburg, SC, Jeanette received her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. Jeanette worked for Michelin Tire Corp. in Lexington, SC before moving to Lake City with her husband who is a Lake City native. Once in Lake City, Jeanette pivoted to the world of education. She was a math teacher and assistant principal before assuming the principalship at J. Paul Truluck Magnet School. In her current role, she works with schools, students and businesses from all over the region connecting them with education and training offered at the Continuum.
This is her first year as a board member for the United Way. She was involved with the United Way while working with Michelin and has seen the impact that the United Way can make in a community. Jeanette has two children, and enjoys boating, watching sports, and spending time with her friends and family. Her ideal vacation is anywhere with warm weather and good food.
Kay Andrews is currently employed as the Vice President, Operations for PGBA, LLC/Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and has been with the company for thirty years. Originally from McBee, South Carolina, Kay received her Administrative Management degree from Clemson University and has been in the Florence Area for thirty years. She has served on the UWFC board for eight years and joined because she felt the UWFC significantly impacts the residents of Florence County, providing the ability for partner agencies to touch and improve lives of many of our neighbors each year. She also feels that by partnering with these agencies, the UWFC is not limited to reaching a specific area or age group. Instead, a multitude of programs that address critical community needs are made available and reach all ages, from young babies to seniors. Kay is married to husband, Charles, and has two children, Matthew and Claire. In her free time, she enjoys walking, reading, cooking, and watching her favorite TV show, Grey's Anatomy. Her ideal vacation would be a Caribbean cruise.
Finklea Law Firm
Charlie James Blake, Jr. earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1999 and his undergraduate degree from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina in 1996. He served as County Attorney for Florence County from 2003 to 2006 and was the interim County Administrator for Florence County in 2005. Charlie has also worked with the Department of Social Services, the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program, and the Korn Law Firm. He is married to Florence City Councilwoman Octavia Williams-Blake from Effingham, and they have two daughters, Hannah and Lydia.
Charlie is a member of the American Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar Association, the Florence County Bar Association, and the Pee Dee Inns of Court Chapter of the American Inns of Court. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Resurrection Outreach Homeless Shelter, The South Carolina Bar Judicial Qualifications, the Board of First Steps and as President of the Florence County Bar Association..
Since joining the Finklea Law Firm in May 2006, Charlie has developed a broad general practice. In addition to handling civil litigation cases, he represents clients in Personal Injury, Probate, Real Estate matters, and Governmental/Municipal matters. In July 2020, Finklea, Hendrick & Blake, LLC was established, signifying his new role as a partner.
Dr. Annie Brown
AnnBro International Training & Consulting
Dr. Annie Brown is the current owner and operator of AnnBro International Training and Business Consulting and the owner of Air Dove Realty. She is a life-long educator who has provided over 30 years of service at Florence-Darlington Technical College and has earned her Ph.D., M.B.A., B.B.A., and A.S. Along with being a member of the United Way of Florence County Board, Dr. Brown also serves on a variety of other civic and community organizations. She believes her volunteer activities allow her the opportunity to help more people as well as promote social change and economic growth. In her free time, Dr. Brown enjoys spending time and traveling with her husband, C. Antonio Brown, and her two sons, Dr. Eric Brown and Charvis Brown. She also enjoys sports (all kinds), reading (especially spiritual publications), motivating students, helping others, learning new things, and writing.
City of Florence
Chuck Pope is currently employed as the Public Works Director for the City of Florence and has been with the city for twenty-five years. Chuck is originally from Clinton, North Carolina and received his B.S. in Health and Physical Education from N.C. State University/East Carolina University. He has been a member of the UWFC board for three years and he chose to serve on the board because he wanted to assist with meeting the diverse range of needs in order to strengthen our community and improve the lives of people in our region. Chuck is married to wife, Amanda, and has three children, Kyle, Kendall, and Jessica. In his free time, Chuck enjoys fishing and golfing and his ideal vacation would be anywhere near salt water.
Mathew Langston is currently employed as the Market President/Senior Vice President of BB&T and has been with the company for 13 years. Mathew is originally from Florence and received his undergraduate degree in Business Finance and Management and his M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina. Langston has been on the UWFC board for 3 years and joined to be a part of an organization that supports the Florence community and the many individuals who live here. He is married to wife, Heather, and has two children, Maddox and Noah. In his free time, Langston enjoys tennis, golf, hunting, and "living the dream". His favorite TV show is Sports Center and his favorite movie is Remember the Titans. Langston's ideal vacation would be an all-inclusive stay in the Caribbean.
Christina O’Malley blends strategic innovation, operations acumen and financial fluency to elevate the performance of leading health systems. In September 2019, Christina joined the Medical University of South Carolina as the External Affairs and Strategic Engagement Lead for the Florence & Lancaster S.C. divisions. In this role, she will establish partnerships with key stakeholders within the MUSC Regional Health Network to drive effective collaboration. Previously, Christina spent six years at Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation (HHF) in Flemington, New Jersey. As Senior Vice President for HHF, she set strategic direction and provided daily operational leadership of a charitable foundation that supports Hunterdon Health System, comprised of a 178-bed hospital and 50+ entities. Prior to entering the healthcare field, Christina honed a diverse range of business skills through her leadership roles in pharmaceutical, software and marketing/communications companies, as well as state government. Throughout her career, she has shared her broad expertise as a volunteer and board member of numerous non-profits.
Chad Patterson is currently employed as the Vice President of Raldex Hospitality and has been with the company for 11 years. Originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina, Chad received his undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of Georgia and has resided in Florence for the past 14 years. When asked why he decided to join the UWFC board, Chad said he owed a lot to the YMCA growing up and he knew United Way helped to make that possible. Chad has two children, Ethan and Nicholas, with his husband, Nathaniel, and enjoys cruising and scuba diving in his free time. If he could pick his ideal vacation, it would be somewhere where he could have fun in the sun.