Promise Leadership

 Kris Burris, Executive Director

A SC native, Kris Burris relocated to Greenwood in 2002 to begin her professional journey. For 11 years Kris dedicated her professional talents to serving adult and child victims of sexual violence in her roles as Counselor, Deputy Director and finally Executive Director for Beyond Abuse (formerly Sexual Trauma & Counseling Center). In 2013 Kris transitioned from nonprofit management to higher education when she accepted the position of Student Support Services (SSS) Director within the Student Affairs Division of Piedmont Technical College. As the Director of SSS, Kris and her team assisted first generation and low-income college students with their goals to persist, graduate and/or transfer to a four-year institution.  

As an advocate of personal and professional growth, Kris’ 2016 transition to Executive Director for The Greenwood Promise has been a natural fit. Kris wholeheartedly supports the Promise’s goals of increasing access to postsecondary education thereby creating a more viable workforce within the community. With the continued support of donors and the Promise Committee, Kris believes the Promise will help Greenwood County students maximize their potential and achieve their academic and professional goals.

A first-generation college student, Kris graduated with an Associate’s Degree from Spartanburg Methodist College, a Bachelor’s Degree from Wofford College and an Education Specialist Degree from Converse College. 

Kris has spent many years actively serving within the Greenwood community. She was recognized as a 2010 Greenwood Under 40 Star, a 2012 Leadership Greenwood graduate, and past chair of the 2015 Women’s Leadership Upstate Conference.    

 J. Ron Millender, Promise Committee Chairman

Giving back to the community is an important principal for Ron Millender and one that he eagerly gives of his time and energy.

Ron began his involvement with The Greenwood Promise in 2012 by providing research, costs/benefits projections, presentations and fund development.  And, as the current Chair of The Greenwood Promise Committee, Ron is working to successfully launch Phase 1 of the Promise for the graduating High School Class of 2017 as well as to implement the remaining phases as funds become available.

Ron’s professional career began after graduation from Clemson in 1975, with Dow Chemical in Charlotte, NC before moving to Greenwood as a Process Engineer with Capsugel in 1978.  Over the next six years Ron accepted increasing responsibilities at the Capsugel Greenwood facility to become Director of Manufacturing in 1984.  In 1993, Ron began his first Capsugel Global assignment as Director of Global Quality Systems supporting the implementation of quality systems throughout the 11 Capsugel plants worldwide.  In 1995, Ron then became Vice President of Global Operations supporting those same worldwide facilities for all their operational needs.  In 2005, Ron assumed the role of Vice President and General Manager for The Americas region of Capsugel for all aspects of the business for North and South America.  And, in 2011 Ron retired from Capsugel. 

As during his 33 years of employment with Capsugel, Ron has continued to volunteer his time and talents to help local nonprofits.  Ron has served on the boards of various non-profit organizations in the community – Lander Foundation Board, Self Regional Healthcare Board (Chair), and Beyond Abuse (Chair).   In addition to The Greenwood Promise, Ron currently serves on the following boards – YMCA, United Way (past-Chair), HospiceCare of the Piedmont (Chair), Piedmont Technical College Foundation Board, Greater Greenwood Clemson Club (Chair), and Clemson Alumni Council. 

Although, a native of St. Matthews, SC, Ron has a been a resident of Greenwood for 38 years.  He is a graduate of Clemson University with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and obtained his Professional Engineering license for SC in 1983.  Ron is married to Brenda, also from St. Mathews.  And, Ron and Brenda have 3 adult daughters and 5 grandchildren (ages 6 to 1) who Ron hopes will one day benefit from The Greenwood Promise.