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Q&A | Nat Robertson, Greater Fayetteville Chamber

New leader guides growing Chamber as it approaches 125th anniversary


The 125th anniversary of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber is just around the corner, and new CEO & President Nat Robertson — he took the position back in March — has retrained the organization’s focus on advocacy, education, networking.

Robertson, who served as Fayetteville’s mayor from 2013 to 2017, is himself a former business owner who’s demonstrated expertise in finance, management, customer service and coaching during his professional career. He earned a B.A. in Public Administration from Elon University and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Upper Room Theological University, and has worked in leadership positions for a long list of national, state and local boards and commissions, in addition to serving six terms on the Fayetteville City Council.

CityView spoke with Robertson about his vision for the Chamber, his staff's work and what the organization provides to its members and the business community.


You’ve been in and around Fayetteville for a long time, but you’re new in this role. How’s it going?

I feel so blessed to have landed here at the Greater Fayetteville Chamber. We have such an amazing team in place, keeping the focus on advocating for our members. Building a strong and active Chamber means our members have more of a say in what goes on in the business community. We are rebuilding and developing new programs to add more value for our members and there is so much more coming in this next year for our 125th anniversary.

Tell us about your staff, and what the Chamber is doing development-wise to leverage your staff’s capabilities to best serve the membership …

Since March, we have focused our efforts on returning and showing a value for the cost of the Chamber membership. We have an experienced team working together in various facets including membership retention, communications, government advocacy, military affairs and networking. 

Our office includes Jenny Proctor as our chief operations officer and office administrator, Jami McLaughlin as our director of events and programs, Robyn Pitt as our director of marketing and communications, LaVern Oxendine as our membership retention specialist and Angela Selitto, who just joined us with a role we will be introducing soon. 

We have partnered to offer exclusive discounts on Workers Comp Insurance, small group 401Ks, Urgent Care Employee Benefits, Higher Education discounts with Methodist University for members and their families and hopefully will soon offer full health benefits for our smallest employers who normally could not afford to offer this to their employees. 

We also now produce over 100 events and programs every year including our Annual Awards ceremony, the State of the Community, Public Safety Valor Awards, the Greater Carolina Rock n’ Boil oyster roast, networking events such as the Business Networking Breakfast, Chairman’s Coffee Club and Business after Hours, learning opportunities with a quarterly Chamber Connect lunch series and monthly professional development lunches, new member orientations and so much more. 

At the end of the day, if our members take part in our programs and attend our activities, they should save more money than they actually spend on their membership dues.  

You’ve stated that your focus at the Chamber will be threefold: advocacy, education, networking. What can you say about each of these areas in terms of what that focus looks like, and what you’re working to deliver for members?

#Advocate. Through our Government Relations Committee and the Military Affairs Council, the Greater Fayetteville Chamber members benefit from a close relationship with our local governments and Fort Liberty officials. This enables our organization to better advocate for business-friendly public policy and keep our membership “in the know” on what’s going on with those affecting the local business environment.

#Educate. We have begun hosting a professional development lunch series benefiting our membership with sessions on a wide range of topics from business security and early retirement to running an environmentally friendly, sustainable business and marketing. We also host quarterly informational meetings and annual events featuring local and statewide experts on business and public policy.

#Network. Everyone wants to have fun! Our networking events offer our members an opportunity to casually meet and associate with other members in a fun environment. We have three monthly networking events, all three are formatted differently and have a completely different feel from the other. So you can attend all three and not feel like you were just in the same room with the same people…

In any business community, everyone’s heard of Chambers of Commerce. So tell us what — for those businesses which haven’t joined — are the reasons businesses should join the Greater Fayetteville Chamber? Why should someone want to be a member, and what are the benefits?

The Greater Fayetteville Chamber offers our members so many opportunities for their businesses to better expose themselves to our community and other members. From our Member Portal to sponsorship opportunities, to taking advantage of our programs, to attending our events, the Chamber is a catalyst for business. On top of the “normal” Chamber activities, now with the added discount programs we are offering, a business can actually save money by being a Chamber member if they will participate in those programs.

The Chamber is also an organization where members can be as active as they would like to be. There are opportunities to serve including being one of the committees and working as an Ambassador. Our Ambassadors are the face of the Chamber and are featured representatives at our events. There are so many ways for our members to participate and be active.

You’ve got a few events coming up that are important, including a candidate forum Wednesday morning and the Greater Carolina Rock & Boil on Oct. 26. What do we need to know about those, and what else is on the calendar this fall?

One of the Advocacy functions of the Government Relations Committee is to host the Candidates Academy and the Candidates Forum. This year the forum will be held on Oct. 18 at the Crown Ballroom starting at 8 a.m. It is open to the general public and non-members as well, at no cost.

The Greater Carolina Rock n’ Boil is the return of the ever-beloved annual Oyster Roast along with a Low Country Boil and BBQ sliders with the fixin's. Rivermist will be also playing so you are guaranteed to have a good time. So come shuck oysters, network with us and enjoy the biggest Chamber celebration of the year! Tickets are available online at faybiz.com

I would encourage everyone to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest events and activities or keep up with us at faybiz.com for what projects and activities we are working on.    

Any new programs or launches you’d like to discuss?

We have a huge announcement and press conference happening this week on Thursday. We will make the announcement immediately following our Chairman’s Coffee Club, at Segra Stadium, at 7:30 a.m. This new Chamber initiative will be a game changer for our local business community in supporting trust with the Consumer when dealing with local businesses. Keep an eye on the news or our website next week to learn more.

What challenges do businesses here face that you’re working to address?

We continue to field calls from members who are running into hurdles with the local government inspections and permitting departments. We have been able to diffuse most of these issues and some, we have worked with the governments to better communicate with the members, so the law and expectations are better understood. I believe the Government Relations Committee will be more active in this area in the future.  

The Chamber’s 125th anniversary is coming up in 2024. What’s in store?


More advocacy, more educational programs, more networking opportunities and more benefits for our members. We are so excited to be celebrating this milestone with our members! 

Not many organizations have the chance to celebrate their 125th birthday, we are so grateful for our fantastic members and staff who work everyday to make Fayetteville and Cumberland County a better place to do business!

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