Our Town: On Duty: Adrienne Cole, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce

“I’m honored to be the first woman to hold the position.
I’m excited to do the work that I love
in a community I’m passionate about.”
–Adrienne Cole
Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

 

by Jessie Ammons

photograph by Elizabeth Galecke

The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s new leader is not new to town, or to the chamber: Adrienne Cole’s economic development career includes roles as the executive director of the chamber’s county economic development program and then as senior vice president of economic development. “I’ve been in and out of Raleigh my whole life,” she says. Born here and raised in New Bern, Cole returned with her family in 2001 and has been a Raleighite ever since. “My family and I love Raleigh. We’ve been able to really grow our careers while also enjoying the community and providing what we think is a great place for our children to grow up.”

Cole has had a key role in creating that community: She says two of the high points of her past chamber work include helping to recruit Campbell Law School and the Red Hat headquarters to the city. The difference those business developments have made in the fabric of Raleigh epitomize what she loves about her work here, she says. “One of the things that makes this area so special is how effectively we collaborate together. I think it’s part of our secret sauce: we work so well between organizations, elected leaders, business leaders.”

When she was named president of the chamber in March, she became the first woman to hold the position. “Frankly, it wasn’t something that I thought a lot about. I was much more focused on the opportunity and future of our community. Being the president and CEO of the chamber is a very mission-driven role.”

Among her mission-oriented priorities are the economic development she’s familiar with, and also “a commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as supporting small business and entrepreneurship.”