Chris South, CIO of Blackbaud, a Charleston, S.C.-based software and services company, didn’t hurtle down a luge track or tackle a triple axel on the ice. He didn’t even make it to Salt Lake City, but he became part of the Olympics when he carried the Olympic flame through downtown Charleston on its cross-country journey from Atlanta to Salt Lake City.
South ran the torch a quarter mile to the gates of the Citadel on Dec. 6. “The run was so much fun,” South remembers. “Hearing the cheers of the crowd and seeing all the people wave gave me chills.”
The next day, he brought the torch into the offices of Blackbaud, which provides technology solutions to nonprofits. “Everyone recognized what an honor it was to carry the torch,” South says.
Lisa Parker, a former colleague at Atlanta-based DealerGain, a startup where South was the vice president of operations, nominated him to be a torchbearer — an honor bestowed on individuals who have inspired those around them. “Lisa was one of my most trusted employees,” says South. “I really believe in giving people opportunities and coaching them on techniques, approach and style to be successful. I coached her on technology, and she coached me on being less analytical.”
Other runners who passed the torch with South that day included a pilot who transported blood and extra firefighters to New York City after the terrorist attacks, a pastor who mentored African-American teens in downtown Charleston and a woman who ran a marathon in Hawaii to raise $10,000 for leukemia research.