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Discovering Passions and Making an Impact: Reflections on Leadership Greenville

By Racquel Collier

I recently graduated from Leadership Greenville, a program that has been cultivating talent and ideas for our community for 49 years now.

My participation in Leadership Greenville has been a life-changing journey, offering numerous avenues to explore my interests and uncover new passions. One of the most significant takeaways has been the development of my understanding of community dynamics and the power of effective communication.

Leadership Greenville enlightened me about the vital role of community engagement and philanthropy. Each year, class members join together to work on a specific community project. Our team's project centered around revitalizing Verner Springs Park in the San Souci neighborhood. Through dedicated efforts, we successfully raised more than $27,000 to install new playground equipment, benches, and swings. This transformation made the park a welcoming and inclusive space for all.

Because of our team project, I had the opportunity to delve into my fascination with “Third Places.” These are places outside of home and work that foster community connections. This exploration provided me with invaluable insights into creating and nurturing such spaces. Moving forward, I am excited to continue pursuing this passion and further contribute to building vibrant community hubs.

A memorable experience during Leadership Greenville was conducting surveys in the community to gauge their preferences for the park. It was during this process that I encountered Spanish-speaking residents and felt a deep sense of helplessness due to the language barrier. This encounter served as a catalyst for me to embark on learning Spanish and to actively seek an understanding of different cultures. I aim to bridge gaps between communities and foster inclusive environments where everyone can thrive.

As part of the program, I had the privilege of spending four hours on a ride-along with a City of Greenville police officer. This eye-opening experience exposed me to the multifaceted challenges law enforcement professionals face. It reinforced my commitment to supporting and working towards positive change within our community.

Furthermore, I had the opportunity to shadow Vee Popat, the director of the Fine Arts Center. Witnessing the talent and passion of the students left me hopeful for their future. Subsequently, I was honored to receive an invitation to join their board, and I eagerly anticipate contributing to the lives of these budding creatives in any way possible.

Overall, Leadership Greenville has instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility and active community engagement. I am grateful for the remarkable opportunities this program has afforded me to make a positive impact and discover my passions.

It strengthened my commitment to giving back to the community, creating spaces that foster connection, and empowering others to join me on this rewarding journey.

Racquel Collier is the President of Caliber Real Estate, which specializes in developing multifamily communities and land. They take a comprehensive approach to real estate development, combining their interests in art, food, media, music, and people to produce impactful projects. Learn more at


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