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PRESS | NSBA Names Kelly Willenberg Rising Star for Advocacy


Sept. 15, 2022

NSBA Names Kelly Willenberg NSBA’s Rising Star for Advocacy

Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Kelly Willenberg of Kelly Willenberg, LLC in Greenville, South Carolina was given NSBA’s Rising Star for Advocacy Award. The honor was given in conjunction with NSBA’s Advocate of the Year Awards at its annual event, the Washington Presentation, and recognizes small-business owners who go above and beyond in advocating for policies to improve America’s small-business community.

“I am honored to recognize Kelly Willenberg for her strength and persistence as NSBA’s inaugural Rising Star Award recipient,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “Kelly is a passionate and accomplished advocate on the local and state levels, and I anticipate ongoing success and growth as she continues her advocacy efforts.”

Willenberg has built a business around her dedication to helping people through providing healthcare compliance services to clients nationwide. Willenberg serves on the South Carolina Small Business Regulatory Review Committee and the South Carolina Nurses Association Board. After the tragic loss of her husband to a distracted driver, Willenberg has spearheaded efforts to champion a hands-free bill to eliminate distracted driving and create safer streets throughout South Carolina. As a Palmetto Cycling Coalition Board member, Willenberg has helped in successfully advocating for the adoption of SCDOT’s Departmental Directive for Complete Streets.

“Kelly is the embodiment of entrepreneurship. She is passionate, thoughtful and harnessed a deep tragedy to push forward and make improvements in her community to prevent others from sharing a similar loss,” stated NSBA Board Chair Mike Stanek of Hunt Imaging, LLC in Berea, Ohio. “Kelly’s selflessness and persistence makes her a perfect recipient of our first ever Rising Star Award.”

In addition to honoring Willenberg, NSBA also recognized ML Mackey of Beacon Interactive Systems in Waltham, Massachusetts as the overall award winner and finalists: Maureen Bakewell Chamberlin, of Embassy Global, LLC in Hamburg, New York; Jill Castilla of Citizens Bank of Edmond in Edmond, Oklahoma; Mark Ware of Mission Point Resort in Mackinac Island, Michigan; and Niesha Wolfe of The Gingham Café in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Celebrating 85 years in operation, NSBA is a staunchly nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. NSBA's 65,000 members represent every state and every industry in the U.S., and we are proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization. Please visit or follow us at @NSBAAdvocate.

Contact | Molly Day | 202-552-2904 |



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