Hiring Adrienne Cole as the new CEO at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce reflects that group’s commitment to a strategic plan calling for more intense economic development and diversity, the Chamber’s board chair tells WRAL TechWire.
On Monday, the Chamber named Cole as its first female CEO in its 129-year history.
Cole also brings extensive experience in economic development, having been “dual hatted” as the Chamber’s senior vice president of Economic Development as well as executive director of Wake County Economic Development. The Chamber and Wake County have partnered to drive more job growth as well as promoting the capital area as a place job seekers should explore.
So when the Chamber began searching for a replacement to follow the recently departed Tim Giulilani, Cole, 45, fit the bill from that perspective. Plus, Cole, a Meredith College graduate, further helps the Chamber drive a commitment to diversity.
“Economic Development is one of our five Strategic Plan priorities so it was important to hire a candidate with previous experience,” explained Chamber Chair Greg Winkler.
“Local connectivity and relationship building is critical to continue the collaborative, convening, and conduit role the Chamber plays in our region.”
WTW also asked Winkler what the the hiring of a woman as the first leader in the Chamber’s long history say about its commitment to inclusion and diversity.
“Diversity and inclusion in all of its attributes, are also one of the five Strategic Plan priorities,” he replied.
“We wanted to implement our Strategic Plan when and where possible as it related to hiring the best candidate. Another aspect of diversity and inclusion is our focus to better align our Chamber membership with our business community. We will consider attributes such as size of business, industry segmentation, and diversity of ownership to mention a few.”
In the hiring announcement, Winkler pointed out: “As the first female president of the Chamber, Adrienne will bring a fresh perspective to its 129-year history. Her unique talents and creativity will be a great asset to advance our region.”
Unclear for now is the next leader for Cole’s economic development roles.
“We are assessing the open Economic Development position now and will be communicating our next steps in the upcoming weeks,” Winkler said.
“I’m thrilled & humbled to lead the @raleighchamber,” Cole said via Twitter shortly after the announcement.
“I look forward to working with each of you to move our community forward.”
In more ways than one.