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Finance & Operations

Chair: Mark Patafio

The Finance & Operations committee oversees the management of the Chamber, including internal operations, membership, revenue and contracts.

• Continue fiscal responsibility to ensure proper business operations

• Coordinate membership benefits programs and explore new opportunities which may include member discounts and incentives

• Evaluate new and existing programs in context of revenue, value to members, relevance to chamber mission, and image in community

• Re-evaluate ongoing Chamber programs, projects, and contracts


Public Policy

Chair: Richard Pappas

This committee monitors local, state and federal legislative activity, which influences business growth and activity in the Lake Norman area and develops strategies for influencing that legislation. This group also facilitates Chamber support of community service in the region.


• Monitor public meetings and inform the membership on issues affecting the business community

• Conduct Focus Friday programs on key community issues examining a full range of views on the subject

• Establish regional business priorities for upcoming legislative sessions and create a long-term legislative framework for ongoing strategic priorities

• Enhance the Chamber's position as a major policy advocate for Lake Norman's business community

• Coordinate legislative meetings where Chamber members can meet, discuss, and advise the Chamber on legislative and community issues

• Promote and coordinate annual Candidate Forum(s) and political activism through VoteLakenorman.com

• Generate opportunities for Chamber members to meet and build positive relationships with our local, state and federal delegation

• Place emphasis on passenger rail, road and highway improvements and transportation planning initiatives

• Work with elected leaders, NC DOT officials, and the Regional Roads Committee to expedite road projects slated for region and identify alternative sources of TIP funding for existing unfunded projects

Member Services

Chair: Sabrena Fernandez

The Member Services Division provides quality and diversified programs that meet the needs of the membership. The division creates and promotes a strong positive image of the Chamber to the public and supports the Chamber through on-going recruitment, development and retention programs to foster and strengthen business vitality in the Lake Norman region.

• Develop a broad membership base for the Chamber with the emphasis on retention of current Chamber members and recruitment of new members

• Broaden membership base of corporate business members

• Plan and coordinate quality speakers and training programs each quarter

• Increase public and corporate awareness of Chamber programming and policy

• Coordinate with Chamber to streamline Chamber networking events to the betterment of our members and ambassadors who attend and work them

• Conduct Annual Meeting

• Conduct Annual Golf Tournament

• Coordinate the Annual Lake Norman Business Expo showcasing our business members

• Conduct Leadership Lake Norman - a program dedicated to developing future leaders in the areas of business and civic service

• Examine and improve membership retention processes in coordination with chamber staff

• Develop new member recruitment strategies involving current members to help solicit new businesses and sponsorships for annual programs

• Coordinate membership benefits program and explore new affinity programs

Ambassador Committee

• Maintain ambassador criteria, qualification, and incentive program to solicit and train new and current ambassadors

• Utilize the Ambassadors to introduce new Chamber members to the full range of benefits in membership

• Coordinate Ambassadors to provide assistance with member programs, events & ribbon cuttings

• Conduct New Member Receptions


Business Growth & Economic Development

Chair: Joe Vagnone

The Business Growth and Economic Development Division supports successful business by advocating for an improved commercial infrastructure and by helping bring new business to the lake region. This division works closely with economic and legislative officials to strategically develop a friendly and supportive business environment.


Business Growth

Small Business / Recruit & Retain:

• Support small business growth and entrepreneurship utilizing the Lake Norman Business Resource Center and partnerships with SBA, SCORE, and CPCC

• Host a series of small business workshops to assist start-up and existing small business in financing, marketing, and management

• SCORE: What is it? How do I use it?
• How do I make network meetings work for me?
• Promote local job postings - how to use it and promote it
• How to grow – from small to medium – pitfalls, must dos, etc.
• Marketing on a small budget
• Social Networking – how to use LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media to brand yourself (and what not to do)
• Developing your niche (niche marketing)

Corporate Members:

• Host Corporate Roundtable Executive Forums targeting larger Corporate Members in conjunction with the LNREDC


Economic Development

• Continue the Chamber's assistance with the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation

• Participate in the Lake Norman Regional EDC Industry Appreciation Luncheon

• Continue partnership with Lake Norman Currents Magazine on relocation magazine for the region called Great Lake Living

• Continue to maintain a LocalJobs.com employee bulletin board for jobs postings

Community Affairs

Chair: Angela Swett

The Community Affairs committee focuses on quality of life factors that enrich our region and provide civic leadership in the areas of health care, education, arts and culture, diversity and the environment.


• Monitor the planning and events of the public and private school system that directly and indirectly affect area schools

• Educate members about important education issues and encourage their participation in the local educational system

• Identify community service and support opportunities for the Chamber and its membership such as the Public Safety Luncheon, Habitat Business Build, Big Day at the Lake, etc.

• Collaborate with local civic and non-profit organizations and associations to promote arts and cultural resources, health and human services, and other opportunities for the lake region

• Promote and encourage environmental initiatives such as: clean air and water initiatives to protect the lake region

• Assist local health care agencies with regional community issues

• To forge strong partnerships with like-minded professional organizations and identify new ways to achieve the common goals of our members

• To aid small, minority and women business-owners to address any "unique" issues associated with business development through a Diversity Council recognizing businesses that practice diversity and conducting quarterly diversity programs and networking events

• Implement, in conjunction with the Chamber fundraising committee, an early summer event and an early fall event that is regional in nature, benefiting member businesses. And capitalizing on the Democratic National Convention and the synergy between the towns and Chamber of Commerce

Diversity Council

Chair: Julia Holyfield 

The mission of the Diversity Council is to support and encourage diversity throughout the Lake Norman business community. The Annual Champions of Diversity Breakfast is held during which companies and individuals that exemplify diversity are honored. 


• Forge strong partnerships with like-minded professional organizations and identify new ways to achieve the common goals of our members

• Identify and/or develop educational opportunities to help ensure business success

• Support businesses in search of mentoring and guide them in attaining business from medium to large-sized organizations and companies

• Aid small, minority and women-owned businesses in developing a greater understanding of the local, state and federal certification process, as well as additional certifications available to those companies

• Address any unique issues associated with minority business development

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