• 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

    Screening of Wilmington On Fire with Director, Chris Everett

    Networking Reception in Jengo's Backyard with invited guest, Johnny Griffin, Director, Wilmington Regional Film Commission, Inc.


    Kenneth Waldroup, Executive Director, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority

    Layton Bedsole, Shore Protection Coordinator, New Hanover County

    Carol Yates, Environmental Control Supervisor, Corning

    Criminal Justice

    Donny Williams, Police Chief, City of Wilmington

    Health and Human Services

    Laurie Whalin, Chief Operating Officer, Novant Health New Hanover County Regional Medical Center and President of Novant Health Scotts Hill Medical Center

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

    Transportation and Infrastructure

    Mike Kozlosky, Executive Director, Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Marie Parker, Executive Director, Wave Transit

    Aubrey Parsley, Director, Economic Development, City of Wilmington

    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

    Jim Morton, President, Cape Fear Community College

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

    Jeff Stein, Workforce Director, StepUp Wilmington

    Business Growth and Development

    Cliff Pyron, Director of Business Development, Wilmington Business Development

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

    Community Engagement

    Lisa Leath, Co-Founder, WorkTok and President, Leath HR Group

    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 24 & 25, 2023‚Äč

    • Applications are accepted until August 31 for the October program

  • 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 is $495 per person. This cost covers all program costs including meals, snacks, site visit fees, program materials, facilitator fees, and an opening and closing reception.