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Tribute to a Positive, Graceful and Supportive Leader

June 2019 Mayor David McCann as seen in Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
- Harry S. Truman

That's one of my favorite quotes from President Harry S. Truman. Whenever I think of it, I think of my wonderful colleague in our neighboring Town of Bluffton, Mayor Lisa Sulka. Each of month, we both get an opportunity to write about happenings in our towns to share with readers of CH2/CB2 magazine. This month, I chose to write about Mayor Sulka, because I owe her much thanks for mentoring me as I transitioned from being a town councilman to being mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island.

Mayor Sulka, along with being one of the most rabid Clemson University fans and alumnae, is the most upbeat, positive person I know. The extensive list of accomplishments the Town of Bluffton has achieved under her tenure as mayor is reflective of her enthusiasm and leadership. But she’ll quickly point out that all the town has done is a result of the amazing town staff, team of councilmen, and citizens of Bluffton.

When I was elected mayor, Mayor Sulka was among the first to call and congratulate me for winning this esteemed position. Although I had served on the Hilton Head Island Town Council for six years and was familiar with some mayoral responsibilities, I knew I still had a learning curve. In a matter of days, I was swamped with new responsibilities - from reorganizing Town Council committees and meeting weekly with Town Manager Steve Riley and his staff to pitching at a little league baseball game season-opener and being fitted with a plaid jacket for the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. Mayor Sulka offered to help me navigate these numerous tasks. Thanks to her, my transition has been relatively smooth.

During my tenure in town government, I have met many persons who serve their community as I do. As you can imagine, there are persons you can agree with and others whose differing opinions can lead to contentious moments. Regardless of issues that may arise or persons she may face, Mayor Sulka gracefully handles every issue and every person with a healthy dose of positivity. As I have gotten to know her, my admiration for her understanding of community challenges continues to grow. She is a former resident of Hilton Head Island and thus has a grasp on the issues that both of our communities face. She has shared with me her perspective on how we can work together to address such issues as growth, workforce housing, tourism, and our ever-burgeoning traffic problems along the U.S. 278 corridor.

With a sense of community pride, Mayor Sulka has led the Town of Bluffton through periods of both population and economic growth. I admire her leadership, her ability to tackle tough issues, her insight into complex matters, and her composure under fire. I also admire her style of engaging her community, keeping citizens informed through live Facebook feeds and appearances at community events, and managing Bluffton in the spotlight. She has definitely raised the bar for surrounding communities and has earned the respect of her constituents and colleagues.

It takes tenacity to be a great mayor. Mayor Sulka has been at the helm of Bluffton for nearly three terms. That in itself shows that she has what it takes to move a town forward. She couples this with a cheerful attitude and the belief that she can make a difference. Whenever we connect, she always reminds me that she is moving her town forward with the support of everyone who lives in Bluffton and in the region. To me, this is simply amazing.

Thank you, Lisa, for your leadership and friendship and for always being positive.