• Who We Are

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  • The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce is a business leadership organization governed by a 32-member Board of Directors, run by a dynamite staff of 8, and supported by community investors. The Chamber advocates for members' business interests and the interests of our local business community; connects members with the people and information they need to thrive; helps member save money and promote a thriving economy.

  • 2017 Board of Directors

  • Ambassadors and Key Volunteers

    In addition to our Board of Directors, volunteers serve as Ambassadors to welcome new members to our Chamber as well as Chapel Hill Young Professionals (CHYP) Leadership Council.

    Kelly Holcombe, CHYP Leadership Council, Blue Cross Blue Shield
    Dr. Gregg Yurkovich, CHYP Leadership Council, Chapel Hill Family Chiropractic
    Fatimah PattersonCHYP Leadership Council, Wells Fargo
    Irene Briggaman, Ambassador, Community Volunteer
    Brett BushnellEconomic Development and Public Policy Committee Chair, Tri Local Realty llc
    Nancy WilliamsAmbassador
    Ray Canoy, Ambassdor, Transworld Business Advisors of Durham
    Amanda CasellaCHYP Leadership Council, Chapel Hill Service League
    Samantha ChauveauAmbassador, Paychex
    Katie Coleman WalkerAmbassador, Fidelity Bank
    Betsy BruckerCHYP Leadership Council, Armacell
    Kellen CuttanceAmbassador, MassMutual Raleigh-Durham
    Larry ReidAmbassador, MassMutual Raleigh-Durham
    Alex NickodemAmbassador, CHYP Committee, Habitat for Humanity Restore
    Jim McNeelyAmbassador, Servpro of South Durham and Orange County
    Jeffrey WehnerAmbassador, Business Consultant / Non Profit Partnership Program Advisor
    David MansorAmbassador, Combined Insurance
    Chuck WhalenAmbassadorAflac 
    Alicia Whitehurst, CHYP Leadership Council, The Franklin Hotel
    Mark Mill, CHYP Leadership Council, Bank of North Carolina
    Ryan Blackwell, CHYP Leadership Council, Green Beagle Lodge
    Connolly Walker, CHYP Leadership Council, Pam Herndon, State Farm
    Ray SmithCHYP Leadership Council, Wells Fargo

  • Our Staff

    Amy Grau
    Member Relations Specialist and Executive Assistant to the President
    (919) 357-9977 |agrau@carolinachamber.org 

    Amy joined the Chamber team in December of 2015. As Member Relations Specialist, Amy ensures the Chamber's daily operations run smoothly. She loves her role of welcoming new residents to the Chapel Hill area and cultivating relationships with Chamber businesses. A graduate of Lehigh University, Amy received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Graphic Design. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jeff and two daughters, Rachel and Alison.


    Nicholas Cameron Johnson
    Communication and Program Manager
    (919) 357-9989 | njohnson@carolinachamber.org | LinkedIn   

    Nick moved to Chapel Hill in 2008 as an undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. He now lives in the area as a resident and has joined the Chamber as its newest staffer. In his current role with the Chamber, Nick manages the website, social media, and electronic communications; and acts as first point of contact at the office, answering questions and providing assistance to staff, members, and guests. He is also a photographer and has done freelance, contract, and volunteer work for various local businesses and non-profits. His hobbies include running, hiking trails, trying new cuisine, traveling, and just spending quaity time with family and friends. 


    Photo credit: Kevin Seifert PhotographyAaron Martin Nelson, IOM
    President & CEO
    (919) 967-7077 | anelson@carolinachamber.org
    Twitter | Facebook

    Aaron joined the Chamber as President and CEO in 2001 after working at his alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill, as Coordinator of Local Relations.  In his role at the Chamber, Aaron serves a membership network of more than 1200 enterprises employing more than 80,000 people.  In support of the Chamber’s mission to build a sustainable community where business thrives, Aaron is a successful advocate for local business and community interests.  Aaron also acts as Executive Director for the Partnership for a Sustainable Community, the Chamber’s charitable economic and community development arm. Aaron has served on the Board of Directors for more than 20 local, state and national nonprofits.  Currently, he serves on the boards of the national Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Carolina Club.  In 2011, Aaron co-founded the national Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy of which he now chairs.  As a Leadership Chapel Hill-Carrboro Fellow and a Ford Foundation Fellow for Regional Sustainable Development, Aaron has deep roots in and commitment to his community. Aaron speaks both nationally and internationally on economic and community development strategy but what he loves most is his local and regional collaboration that helps keep the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community one of the best places in the world to live, work, play and raise a family. A 1997 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in philosophy, Aaron also served as the elected student body president.  Aaron leaps at each day enjoying all greater Chapel Hill has to offer with his wife, Sonja, and their children, Maxwell and Atlee.


    Brian Rowe
    Chief Financial Officer
    (919) 357-9975 | browe@carolinachamber.org

    Brian joined the Chamber in March 2013.


    Photo credit: Kevin Seifert Photography Justin Simmons
    Vice President and Chief of Staff
    (919) 357-9982 | jsimmons@carolinachamber.org
    Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

    If you're looking to get the most out of your membership, lower the cost of doing business, explore the Chamber's international export services, or learn more about Chamber management and operations, Justin is your go-to contact at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber. Justin joined the Chamber team in 2011 and has served in his current capacity as chief of staff since 2014. His previous work experience in the retail and service industries, communications and administrative support for small businesses, accounting and communications support with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and running a local non-profit make him a well-rounded resource for our community. He is most excited to see businesses, organizations, and individuals collaborating to meet community needs and make this an even better place to live, work, and play. Justin has an undergraduate degree in business administration/marketing from Glenville State College in West Virginia, and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  Outside the Chamber, you may find Justin with his wife Jeanine and two daughters, Riley and Avery, taking a stroll on Franklin Street, enjoying a meal in any of the great local restaurants, or paddling canoes and kayaks across Jordan Lake. Connecting with people, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the outdoors are among his favorite parts of life.


    Photo credit: Kevin Seifert PhotographyKristen Caroline Smith
    Vice President for Government and Community Relations
    (919) 357-9988 | ksmith@carolinachamber.org 
    Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

    Kristen Smith is the Vice President for Government& Community Relations for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, working to make it a little easier to do business in our area and getting the message out to Chamber members and the community as a whole.  After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002, Kristen worked several years in development and research roles for both nonprofits and political campaigns in North Carolina and in other areas on the East Coast.  A Chapel Hill native, Kristen serves on several boards including the UNC Board of Visitors, Strowd Roses Foundation, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, and Alamance-Orange Prison Ministry. Listen to WCHL 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays for the Short & Sweet Business Beat, when Kristen gives the download on what’s going on at the Chamber and in the business community.  One can also find her on Twitter at @kcs_tarheel where she is either live tweeting a local government meeting or encouraging Triangle residents to explore the Southern Part of Heaven. 


    Photo credit: Kevin Seifert PhotographyChela Tu
    Associate Vice President for Membership
    (919) 357-9990 | ctu@carolinachamber.org
    Twitter | LinkedIn

    Chela Tu is the Chamber’s event expert and thrives in the creative details that make each program as innovative and meaningful as possible. From planning street festivals for the Town to food truck rodeos and clothing swaps to red carpet soirees and social media consulting, Chela channels over 8 years of events and marketing experience to deliver value to member businesses. Additionally, our proud UNC alum is an entrepreneur! You may have seen (and eaten from) a big yellow food truck, famous in the Triangle for their delicious Chinese dumplings. Chela loves to serve and her experience starting Chirba Chirba Dumpling gives her on-the-ground expertise to help members reach success. She speaks fluent Mandarin, loves the outdoors and is an adventurous eater and a regular Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor. She lives by the motto                                             “Share good things!” and is living the dream in White Cross as a recent homeowner.