• Encounter Wilmington

  • We are thrilled to launch our newest program, Encounter Wilmington! In this program, we invite executives and business owners who are new to Wilmington to join us for a program like nothing else you’ve experienced in our region so far. Participants will gain an intensive and up-close look at the most challenging issues and opportunities facing our area while also networking with peers and fast-tracking their connectivity to our community.

    Encounter Wilmington will deliver information about eight key areas of our community, presented by unique and engaging guest speakers. The high-impact sessions will introduce participants to the Wilmington area, expose them to the Chamber’s key initiatives and feature high-level speakers that are decision-makers in their respective industries. 

  • About the Program

  • Session Topics Session Topics

    • Arts, History, and Culture
    • Environment
    • Criminal Justice
    • Health and Human Services
    • Transportation and Infrastructure
    • Education, Talent and Workforce Development
    • Business Growth and Development
    • Community Engagement
  • Guest Speakers Guest Speakers

    Arts, History, and Culture

    Rhonda Bellamy, President & CEO and Founder, The Arts Council of Wilmington/New Hanover County

    Jan Davidson, Cape Fear Museum

    Dan Brawley, Chief Instigating Officer, Cucalorus Film Foundation

    Screening of Wilmington On Fire with Director, Chris Everett

    Dr. Kim Cook, Professor of Sociology and Criminology, UNCW


    Kenneth Waldroup, Executive Director, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority

    Layton Bedsole, Shore Protection Coordinator, New Hanover County

    Jennifer Adams, Environmental Leader, Corning Incorporated

    Criminal Justice

    David Oyler, Assistant Chief, Wilmington Police Department

    Health and Human Services

    Shelbourn Stevens, Senior VP and President, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Coastal Market

    Donna Fayko, Director, Health and Human Services, New Hanover County

    Jeff James, CEO, Wilmington Health

    Meade Van Pelt, Executive Director, The Harrelson Center

    Transportation and Infrastructure

    Abby Lorenzo, Deputy Director, Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Marie Parker, Executive Director, Wave Transit

    Brian Clark, Executive Director, NC Ports Authority

    Granseur Dick, Deputy Airport Director of Operations, Facilities and Maintenance, ILM

    Education, Talent, and Workforce Development

    Jane Morrow, Executive Director, Smart Start

    Dr. Charles Foust, Superintendent, New Hanover County Schools

    Brandon Guthrie, VP of Academic Affairs, Cape Fear Community College

    Dr. Jamie Winebrake, Provost, University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Talent and Workforce Development

    Lisa Leath, Chief People Officer, Vantaca

    Ginger Brick, Workforce Development Director, Cape Fear Council of Governments

    Jeff Stein, Workforce Director, StepUp Wilmington

    Business Growth and Development

    Dr. Mouhcine Guettabi, Regional Economist, UNCW's Swain Center

    Cliff Pyron, Director of Business Development, Wilmington Business Development

    Heather McWhorter, Director, UNCW's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    Josh Hallingse, Vice President, Small Business Development and Retention, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

    Community Engagement

    Wilmington Water Tours, End of Day Cruise

  • Session Dates & Times Session Dates & Times

    April 25 & 26, 2023

    • April 25: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

    • April 26: 7:45am - 6:15 pm

    • Applications are accepted until February 28 for the April program


    October 17 & 18, 2023‚Äč

  • Ideal Candidate Ideal Candidate

    • Individuals who are either new to Wilmington or new to a key position with their employer
    • Strong drive to immerse themselves into our community
    • Individuals that feel a strong sense of purpose to not only excel in their careers but make a deeper and more positive impact in our region
  • Cost Cost

    The cost of participation in Encounter Wilmington this fall is $535. This cost covers all program costs including meals, snacks, site visit fees, program materials, facilitator fees, and an opening and closing reception.