Founder of Focus Up

Stephen Slappey

Stephen Slappey

Founder, Mentor, and Operations Manager

More about Stephen Slappey

Stephen Slappey was born in Asheville, NC. He moved to Charleston, SC in 2004 and has lived there ever since. He attended Pinewood Prep for Highschool and CSU for college where he received his bachelor's degree in graphic design and business with a minor in Computer Science. After graduating he formed Creative Consulting, a locally focused marketing, and advertising firm, with his fiance (now wife) at the time. Over eight years Stephen and Meg built CC to be one of the most successful and well-known marketing firms in Charleston and won multiple best of awards around the area. During this time Stephen began noticing a consistent trend with the people of the Charleston area. Adults consistently expressed how the young adults and youth of the area weren't prepared for the adult world and from communication with the young adults it seemed that they agreed. They were scared that they were unprepared and that they would fail. So Stephen started to challenge this statement. He ask the young adults where they were getting their information and he ask the adults who were teaching them across the board, no one had an answer that satisfied Stephen. So after eight years of successful business ownership Stephen sold CC and formed Focus Up. “If no one is willing to help these young people, I will.” His goal is to make a lasting change in ALL young adults in the nation but if your going to change the nation you have to be able to change your own backyard first.

Focus Up's Board

Bryan Hatfield

Bryan Hatfield

Fundraising Leader

Paul Ferrara

Paul Ferrara

Legal Board

Nanette West

Nanette West

Finance Leader

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson

Education Leader

Madi Balman

Madi Balman

Marketing Leader

Fundraising Committee

Bryan Hatfield

Bryan Hatfield

Board Member & Committee Leader

Adam Doane

Adam Doane

Committee Member

Vince Yee

Vince Yee

Committee Member

Cindy Vollertsen

Cindy Vollertsen

Events Coordinator & Committee Member

Rich Lorenzo

Rich Lorenzo

Committee Member

Rae Jacoves

Rae Jacoves

Committee Member

Molly Willard

Molly Willard

Committee Member

More about Bryan Hatfield

Bryan is a graduate of The Citadel, the premier Military College out of South Carolina. He has a degree in Business Administration, Accounting, and a minor in History. While attending The Citadel, Bryan joined the USAF Reserve. This gives Bryan incredible insight into running our Government Contracting Division. 

 

Bryan started his career with business professionals in financial planning when he turned 18 years old. He Co-Founded The Focus financial Group in 2004. In 2005, he co-founded and started Palmetto Pride Insurance, a property and casualty insurance firm, and focused on commercial insurance products. In 2009, after the hit of the economy he had a choice of firing three employees or taking another position with a large firm out of CT. This led him to managing hedge fund in 2010 for seven insurance companies. In 2012, Bryan left the hedge fund world and moved into factoring. In 2016, he began doing ABL alongside his factoring portfolio. In 2018, he help start up a new factoring company that grew so quickly it was sold within the year.

 

Today Bryan focuses on companies with line of credit needs of $500 thousand to $50 million. If you would like to know more please check out his site at www.bryanhatfield.finance

More about Vince Yee

Vince Yee, G.I.A. A.J.P., is Charleston’s Personal Jeweler and founder of Dreams To Reality Designs LLC.  Being a Personal Jeweler, he brings you everything you can get from a jewelry store to the comfort of your home.  Equipped with 20 years of jewelry experience (and still counting) he works with anyone across the Greater Charleston area to achieve their goals of affordable jewelry that perfectly captures their special moments. He specializes in true and affordable custom designed jewelry utilizing the best in Computer Aided Design software.  In addition he also works with other jewelry designers and vendors around the world.  In the end, his goal is to make jewelry special again. Along with being a Personal Jeweler, Vince is also an Ex-Chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, Avid Poker Enthusiast, Amateur Beekeeper, Beginning Gardner, and Enjoyer of Intellectual Conversations.

More about Rich Lorenzo

 Experienced Banker with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. Skilled in Business Relationship Management, Branch Management, Microsoft Excel, Customer Service, Microsoft Word, and Banking. Strong professional with a BBA focused in Marketing from Columbus State University.

More about Molly Willard

 I consider myself a deeply rooted transplant, my grandparents moved to Charleston over 50 years ago from Long Island, NY. I spent most summers in South Carolina while growing up. I moved here with my husband and kids from Buffalo, NY in 2007 to defrost. 

I have long been an advocate for small business and nonprofits, having been a small business owner for a number of  years along with different family members fulfilling their entrepreneurial spirit from restaurant ownership, independent medical practice, fishing lures, tennis pro shop and more. My nonprofit involvement began as simply as volunteering with the PTA at my kids' school, through volunteer opportunities in college with my introduction to Meals on Wheels to working for Summerville DREAM and now with the great vision of Focus Up.

~Molly Willlard

More about Rae Jacoves

Rae recently moved to Charleston from California. Most recently she spent 6 years abroad volunteering, studying, and working in a variety of roles including working as a chief engineer on a tugboat. She is a NAUI Certified Divemaster who in between diving, you can find her crocheting and managing her small fiber arts business, The Crafty Jacofish. 

Rae enjoyed working with Jewish LA nonprofits for many years. She has volunteer experience in a variety of areas including fundraising and event planning.

Rae is excited to bring her experience to Charleston and assist Focus Up.

More about Adam Doane

Mr. Doane has several years experience in direct lending and finance. Mr. Doane has had successful careers at Wells Fargo, New York Life, and Southstar Capital, where he held a variety of management, operations, and sales positions. Most recently Mr. Doane formed and operated his own private company, Macto Business Alliance. 

Mr. Doane joined a Factoring company in September of 2013. With the goal of establishing the Lead Generation Call Center, Mr. Doane had sharpened his product awareness and favorable Lending types with afocus in Factoring, Equipment and Purchase Order Lending. Mr. Doane then took on the personal challenge of creating his own Brokerage Firm to help expand his product knowledge. Mr. Doane currently works out of Charleston, SC and is actively involved in the expansion of Macto Business Alliance and Macto Capital. Mr. Doane has been married to his beautiful wife Jody since 2011. He prefers to travel domestically viewing Museums and Tourist spots rich in history. If he isn’t watching an Ohio State University Athletics event, he is reading a sci-fi novel enjoying his time away from the office.

Finance Committee

Nanette West

Nanette West

Board Member & Committee Leader

Noel Spilbor

Noel Spilbor

Aubren Whatley

Aubren Whatley

More about Nanette Slappey

She completed undergraduate studies at Belmont University and University of  North Carolina at Asheville with advanced studies at Western Carolina University. ​She is currently pursuing CMA and has spent most of her career working as a corporate controller and in human resources and business development. She also has several years of public accounting, tax planning and tax preparation.

In 1990, Mrs. West began presenting trainings, seminars and workshops on a variety of topics to include both commercial and government-based subject matter. These have been presented at the local, state, and national levels. 

 

Mrs. West is an Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor and on the Intuit Speakers Bureau, a member of Sleeter Consulting Group and Institute of Certified Management Accountants. She has also had several articles published through the years.

More about Noel Spilbor

-Bio coming soon!-

More about Aubren Whatley

Aubren was born and raised in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. She moved to the Charleston/Summerville area from Indiana in 2015, with her husband, Daniel. Aubren has been with our firm since 2017 and has 10 years of accounting experience. She enjoys kayaking with her husband, reading, swimming, running, crafting, and is an active member of the Summerville campus of Seacoast church.

Education Committee

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson

Board Member & Committee Leader

Ed Speyers

Ed Speyers

Alicia Zorn

Alicia Zorn

Debra Ohstrom

Debra Ohstrom

Neelma Pyfrom

More about Ed Speyers

 I am a Professor of Web Design and experienced Search Engine Marketer. Helping companies rise through Google's search rankings is one of my geeked out joys in life. So is teaching web design within the field of graphic arts. These two skillsets compliment each other more every year.

 

I have completed over 100 web design projects since 2003 and am now losing count. Having seen this so many times, I know a strong understanding of layout design and User Interface principles is essential to strong SEO skills. Inversely, strong search engine knowledge improves my web design instruction, helping students create impactful designs for their future employers.

 

It is a joy to teach what I use in the real world and then watch my students do the same. I never thought it would be so much fun straddling the fence between running a digital marketing agency and teaching.

More about Jennifer Robinson

-Bio coming soon!-

More about Alicia Zorn

My name is Alicia Zorn. I am the owner and founder of Foundations Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC. I have been a practicing clinician in SC for the past 18 yrs. I am licensed as an independent social worker of clinical practice, LISW-CP. I have a PhD in psychology and hold a dementia specialist certificate as well. I have worked in many arenas of mental health over the years. I enjoy working with a diverse population to include individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, Grief/Loss, Couples/Marital issues, Bipolar and other mood related disorders. I accept patients ages 10-80 years old.

More about Debra Ohstrom

Debra has worked in the financial industry for over 27 years at firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citi Private Bank and Allianz Global Investors. She has worked in different roles such as research, asset allocation and account management. She has an MBA in Finance and the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Debra created her education business, DebraOhstrom.com to help women get the education they need to become confident investors and be in charge of their financial future.

More about Neelma Pyfrom

Hi, my name is Neelma Pyfrom and I am a Certified Life Coach/Life Strategist and owner of Living Lotus Life Coaching. In my previous life, I worked in Human Resources and Finance. Now, I specialize in helping teens and young adults (and the families who love them) deal with anxiety, depression, confidence, and motivation. Together, we negotiate the hardships of the adolescent years - learning the skills needed to become successful adults. I have a passion for time management and positive habit formation and love sharing everything I learn (forever student)  with the folks I coach. In my spare time, I enjoy running, crossword puzzle-ing, and spending time with my husband and our two girls.

Marketing Committee

Madi Balman

Madi Balman

Board Member & Committee Leader

Meg Slappey

Meg Slappey

Maggie Gambon

Maggie Gambon

More about Madi Balman

Madi Balman is a Graphic Designer & Digital Marketing specialist with her freelance design company, Mae Creative. Originally from the beautiful Charleston, SC, she recently moved to the New England area with her husband, August, who is in the US Navy. As a military spouse, she has the honor to be able to work remotely with Focus Up. 

When she is not working, she is tending to her (many) plants, playing board games with her husband, or sitting at a local coffee shop & enjoying a latte. 

You can learn more about Mae Creative & their services at www.MaeCreative.graphics

More about Meg Slappey

Meg Thompson is Stephen Slappey's fiance and currently working alongside Focus Up to help with all their graphic design needs. She put together the website for Focus Up and helped build our brand so we could put our best foot forward! Focus Up isn't her first rodeo either; if you know Meg and Stephen then you more than likely know all about their previous business, Creative Consulting. They partnered in Creative Consulting for 7+ years, balancing the workloads in their natural introverted/extroverted way. Stephen handled all the talking, and Meg worked behind the scenes on projects with the team. Outside Focus Up, she works as a local artist in ceramics and pottery, as well as an art teacher in Summerville, SC. 

More about Maggie Gambon

Meet Maggie Gambon, JD!  Maggie began her career in digital marketing in 2017 after graduating law school and working for the first circuit public defenders office for over three years. 

Maggie deeply values the experiences she gained through her legal education, however, she has found her true passion in empowering small businesses and utilizing her creative aptitude.

Maggie made the jump to marketing because she knew her creative drive wasn’t satisfied in the law.  Her skills for writing, public speaking, networking, and story telling are highly translatable to marketing. Since 2018 Maggie has had the opportunity to work with a variety of clients across Charleston, the Nation, and the world! Today, she specializes in small law firms in the lowcountry. 

The high touch, exceptional level of service she provides is the perfect replacement for an in house marketing director.  She streamlines the marketing process while upholding the strenuous regulations her clients face.

Legal Committee

Paul Ferrara

Paul Ferrara

Board Member & Committee Leader

More about Paul Ferrara

Paul B. Ferrara, III, Esq. is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, with family in Charleston and Aiken counties. Mr. Ferrara is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center with a   Master of Laws in Securities and Financial Regulation. He graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2001 and earned a LL.M. in Securities and Financial Regulation.

Mr. Ferrara's practice areas include, civil litigation, foreclosure defense, estate planning, criminal and civil appellate, personal injury, and securities fraud. 

 Admissions

               U.S. Supreme Court

               U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit

               U.S. District Court for South Carolina

               South Carolina Bar

               North Carolina Bar

 Affiliations

               South Carolina Defense Trial Lawyers Association

               North Carolina Bar Association

               American Bar Association

               Charleston County Bar Association

Email: paul@ferraralawfirm.net

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