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 Agoulnik, Chapter Chair
Irina has over 30 years of professional experience including academia, biotech, and entrepreneurship with focus on biomedical research. Irina’s diverse training & experience provides rich content for driving business initiatives in small and mid-sized businesses. She guides towards 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.
John Abato, Vice-Chair
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 SCORE certified mentor in July 2019, he initiated and led the educational efforts of the Chapter by organizing virtual workshops for clients.
Marsha C. Wilmot, Vice-Chair
Marsha’s business management background is centered on managing architectural and engineering offices in the Northeast for almost 30 years. Her experience includes managing an admin staff, financial operations, succession, and retirement planning, and assisting with plans & specifications for the building industry. She helped to form the Society for Design Administration (SDA) and held several SDA posts at the National level. Most recently Marsha held a post as Director of Continuing Education for AIA Grand Strand. In three years of her mentoring at the Grand Strand SCORE, she has also contributed towards Chapter growth and development.
Rich Spivey, PeeDee Branch Leader
Rich is a retired Honda executive and board director with a 36-year career of developing and leading diverse teams, shaping 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.
Karen L. Herman, Treasurer
Karen has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and in the real estate industry. With a degree in Finance and Banking from Hofstra University in NY, Karen has successfully owned (together with her husband) fine dining restaurants in Long Island, NY and Myrtle Beach, SC for over 30 years. They also own and rent residential properties. As SCORE volunteer and certified mentor, Karen has been working with Grand Strand clients for 10 years, helping to establish and grow small businesses in the Myrtle Beach Metro area.
Walter Lassier, Resident Educator
Retired educator who taught middle and high schools for over 40 years, Walter also taught at various community colleges, adult high schools, and worked with Sylvan Learning Systems. Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, Walter received a graduate degree from the UNC, Charlotte, and served three years in the United States Army. Walter is certified in Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing. His area of expertise is in trade and industrial education with an emphasis on drafting, graphic arts, and pre-engineering. He is the owner and the broker for Prestige Graphics.