Debbie Nelson

Chief Learning Officer

Together SC

Nonprofit Member

Photo of Debbie Nelson

Professional Bio

Debbie has enjoyed working with Together SC for more than ten years. She has served in a variety of roles…everything from serving as a board member to providing training as a consultant. Most recently she has joined the Together SC team as its Chief Learning Officer. This newly created position brings together both heart and mind for her. It allows Debbie to develop programming that connects and builds the capacity of nonprofit professionals at all levels which in turn will help them to build a more vibrant and equitable South Carolina.

As Chief Learning Officer, Debbie in partnership with a Planning Committee is responsible for planning Together SC’s Annual Nonprofit Summit. In addition, she manages Together SC’s Peer Networks and coordinates a team of subject matter experts who deliver the Peer Network programming.

Debbie’s background is in communications. In 1997 she founded DNA Creative Communications, a public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofits. As she worked in the sector, Debbie recognized there was a need for more leadership development. This led her to launching Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums in 2010. In partnership with Greenville funders, this annual professional development program has served more than 2000 nonprofit leaders.

As a sector advocate, Debbie has shared nonprofit success stories in a variety of publications including the Greenville Business Magazine, the Columbia Business Monthly and the Greenville Journal. She has also taught nonprofit marketing and public relations at Presbyterian College and in Clemson University’s MPA program to inspire future nonprofit leaders.

Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative.

Debbie has been married to her wonderful husband, Fred, for 38 years. They have two sons, Chris and Turner. And she enjoys spending times with her smart and fun-loving mentee, Sola.


Parent: Together SC

(803) 929-0399

Photo of Debbie Nelson


Smith College 1978


University of Michigan 1980


The Citadel 1991



1994 Ruth Nicholson Award - Communuty Fdn of Gvl

2011 Creative Spirit Award - Community Fdn of Gvl

2011 George L Johnson Communiity Spirit Award - SCPRSA

2013 Silver Medal Award - American Ad Federation

Volunteer Work

United Way of Greenville County

SC Independent Colleges and Universities

Center for Developmental Services

Greenville Area Development Corporation

Meals on Wheels of Greenville

A Child's Haven

SC Association of Nonprofits (Together SC)

Greenville Chamber of Commerce

YWCA of Greenville

United Way Association of South Carolina

Areas of Expertise