ICYMI – FIG: Authentic: Lou Kennedy

February 27, 2020 FIG logo

It doesn’t take you long to realize just what Nephron Pharmaceuticals President, CEO, and co-owner, Lou Kennedy, loves the most about living and working in Columbia. From the Hilinski’s Hope banner hanging in the lobby of Nephron to the photographs and artwork decorating the walls, it’s clear that Lou has a strong allegiance and love for her alma mater, the University of South Carolina.

“What do I enjoy the most about Columbia? My nickname around here is Cock-a-Doodle-Lou,” she said. “So you know that I enjoy when the Gamecocks win!”

Lou is as passionate for her team at Nephron and for people in general as she is about the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, and that passion is not to be missed. She is incredibly focused on discovering hidden talents, ones that may have been overlooked or brushed to the side, and helping someone develop that talent. It’s something that she takes great pride in, too.

“What brings me the most joy is identifying young folks and helping them reach their potential,” said Lou. “I love to find a skill or talent that they might not be aware they have and watching them bloom. It’s such a rewarding thing to see.”
She’s continually inspiring those around her with how incredibly personable, enthusiastic, and intelligent she is, especially when it comes to teaching those around her. For example, when her sales team needs additional background information, she jumps in and draws out, in fine detail, the evolution of a particular product that Nephron specializes in and can explain all of the chemistry behind it.

As she brings in new talent to the company, she’s thinking about what kind of legacy she is scripting for Nephron in the pharmaceutical world, in our community, and within the walls of Nephron for the future generations of the company.

“After I turned fifty, I thought to myself, ‘Ok, we’ve done well in business and we’re employing people from around our community and South Carolina. How can we leave the company better than we found it for the next generation?’ I want to make Nephron successful to provide jobs for those in our community, but it’s also a big goal of mine to have broadband access in rural communities so that children have the chance to dream the lives they want to live.”
When she’s not at Nephron, she’s busy doing her part to make Columbia a better place for those who live here and those that visit here. From the Gateway to the Vista and Riverfront Development, Lou serves on boards that are pushing to make Columbia better day by day. She’s seen how much Columbia has changed over the course of her life and she wants to be a vital part of the next chapter of Columbia’s development.

“I left Columbia for 35 years and I never anticipated coming back here,” Lou said. “But look at how Columbia has changed. It’s amazing what has come to Columbia—Cola’s, Bourbon, Halls Chophouse, Soda City Market on Main Street every Saturday morning, the Rosewood Crawfish Festival, the Tasty Tomato Festival, and so much more. I’m hopeful to deliver some cool new things to Columbia, too. I am working with Midlands Business Leadership on a plan to create a gateway between The Vista and Main Street, and I am pushing for development along the riverfront from Gervais Street to Blossom Street. How amazing would that be to expand the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and have an incredible hotel overlooking a park that overlooks the river to West Columbia?”

From Nephron to our community, Lou is on a mission to recruit people that want to band together to be a force for change in our community, in our state, and beyond to make it a wonderful place for everyone to call home.

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