11 Questions with Patty Bock

  1. What was your first job?

Besides babysitting and a paper route delivering grocery store sales ads, my first real paycheck came in high school working as “Wendy” for Wendy’s International in Central Ohio. I enjoyed the job because I represented a brand that Wendy’s founder R. David Thomas grew locally, and it was highly embraced by the community.

  1. What are some of the skills you developed early, that you’ve found to be beneficial to you now?

I have a positive attitude and I’m persistent. Previously being in commercial real estate development and also selling air time for a television station, I knocked on a lot of doors; spent countless hours on research for proposals of development projects, and only a low percentage ever come to fruition. Rejection didn’t stop me. Also, I enjoy talking to people and learning more about them and their needs. My ability to listen and connect people is a sincere desire, and it builds trust, which strengthens long term relationships in and out of work, and not just for me, but for those with whom I associate.

  1. How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives?

I think I do a fairly good job balancing work and my personal life, but combined they are a whole of who I am. I don’t mind sharing stories related to my work such as happenings in Spartanburg and the Upstate (unless it’s confidential). Why not promote where you work and live? This gets those “inquiring minds” informed and creates a buzz, but more important, it may be the catalyst that gets someone involved where they help make a difference in the community. If I can deliver information beneficial to the community, I hope it will help develop pride for what they are doing and where they live.

  1. What are some strategies you use to keep yourself in check?

To me, there is nothing like a good workout to clear the mind, reduce the stress and boost my spirit. This helps me cope with the everyday challenges that come my way. I try to see most of them as opportunities where there can be positive outcomes, but in reality, sometimes the gripes can get me down. I do have some great people in my life that mentor and keep me in check and on target. They don’t even know it, but they are my strategic army of support!

  1. What’s your most difficult responsibility, and how do you deal with it?

Keeping everything balanced at home. I think the children’s homework schedules are the toughest to monitor. With full workdays and even some weekday nights, it is a struggle to keep up. I don’t freak out over it because I know it will get done and that it’s better to unwind and spend time with family. Years ago I was going to hire a cleaning person. A woman told me not to because I would never be as happy with their work over mine. At this point I really wish I’d gone ahead and gotten that help…the little things can help alleviate the larger tasks at hand.

  1. What do you struggle with?

I struggle with the workforce and education challenges facing our community and how they relate to job creation and our aging out workforce. It is a regional and nationwide concern, but the more we get a grasp on it locally, the more we can get ahead of the game.

  1. What was your biggest career failure, and how did you recover?

So, let’s just call a failure a “miss.” I’ve had a few, but these are opportunities where I have grown personally and professionally with the lessons learned. I think evaluating and recognizing what occurred has helped in assessing what to do in the future. A strategy can be put in place that helps to control situations encountered down the road.

  1. What is your plan for yourself in the future?

I plan to implement additional programs that will help local businesses grow, and continue with new projects as well as business recruitment. There is a lot of momentum taking place, and outside developers are very interested in what opportunities are available. Working with them, as well as local developers, is important in future projects that will help transform our changing downtown. I also hope to serve as a mentor to younger women and assist them with challenges as they advance in the workplace.

  1. If you could be anything in any industry other than economic development, what would it be?

I have always had an interest in sports, so I’d be in the sports marketing or broadcasting industry. My first post-college job was in Colorado and I worked promoting downhill skiing, tennis, golf and biking, working on many aspects of the events related to TV. College football season is one of my favorite times of year. With that being said, I’d join the ESPN College Gameday crew on Saturdays. In the off season, I’d cover golf, tennis and the Olympics!

  1. What do you see the future of Spartanburg as?

Geographically, Spartanburg could not be in a better location for its future growth. As the hub of two major interstates and two major railroads, we have the advantage to recruit new business and lure entrepreneurs and families to come and be part of the many changes taking place. I see Spartanburg as a vibrant community where businesses will thrive and participate in the growth of the downtown.

  1. The Main Street Challenge has seen success in placing businesses into Spartanburg. What’s your take?

The Main Street Challenge met its goals and objectives beyond expectations, including job creation and increased tax revenue. I was blown away by community engagement and “buy in” from the program, as well as attention from cities nationwide and even Canada, wanting to know details so they could follow suit. The forward momentum that the program created actually brought a multitude of new businesses to our downtown.