All Blog Posts

Past Wilkins Civic Award Winners on Compassion in Leadership

Post powered by Dominion Energy

As we prepare for the January 10 Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Legislative and Civic Leadership Awards, we’re reminded of the examples set by past winners. Here’s a look back at what a few of these outstanding leaders had to say about the role compassion plays in leadership.

Why is compassion important?

“I think compassion and leadership go hand in hand particularly in a society such as ours, a capitalistic society that has winners and losers, has people who have struggled. As a mayor of the city of Spartanburg, I learned first-hand that there were many people who had resources and others who did not. I think all of us trying to help those who are less fortunate, who don’t have the privileges that some of us have enjoyed, I think that’s an important part of our responsibility.”

Bill Barnet, CEO of Barnet Development Corporation and Former Mayor of Spartanburg
2014 Award Winner for Excellence in Civic Leadership


“I worked as a child minister in a church, and I saw the poverty [they experienced]. I became very compassionate because of seeing all the young people [who] hadn’t had the advantages. I had great compassion for those who weren’t able to do some of the things that I could do.”

Charlotte Berry, Chair of Volunteers of the American Red Cross of Columbia
2018 Award Winner for Excellence in Civic Leadership

Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Legislative and Civic Leadership Awards

January 10, 2023

Join us in shining a light on two exceptional individuals, people who inspire rising leaders by exemplifying what can be achieved through empathy, collaboration, perseverance, and an overriding commitment to the wellbeing of the people of our state.

Reserve Your Seat

The Riley Institute would like to thank Dominion Energy for supporting the 2023 Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Leadership Awards as a partner-level sponsor. Learn more about Dominion Energy at

Winner quotes excerpted from 2020 video, “Fifteen Years of Wilkins Award Winners on Leadership, Service and Bipartisanship.”