The Evening of
January 15, 2002
After consulting with Dr. Virginia Newell, Retired Professor of Winston-Salem State University and Realtor Gerry McCants, chair of Black Pages and Economic Development Chair for NAACP of NC, and Miriam McCarter of Special Occasions Bookstore coordinated an interest meeting on the evening of January 15, 2002 at the East Winston Branch Library. The room was filled to capacity, standing room only. After discussion the consensus of the group was to proceed with organizing the Winston Salem Black Chamber of Commerce.
The following individuals were voted in as Board members: Miriam McCarter – President, Bill Hubbard – Vice President, James Huff - Secretary and Michael D. Samuels - Treasurer. At a later date, the following individuals were appointed as Committee Chairs: Ed McCarter - Membership, Theldora Williams – Fundraising, Randon Pender – Public Relations, and James Davis – Education
Meetings were held twice a month on Tuesday evenings at the Goler Building on Chestnut Street.
Under Mrs. McCarter’s leadership the organization had Fall Street Festivals, Business Expos and Golf Tournaments which contributed to Dr. Vivian H. Burke’s Endowment Fund at Winston-Salem State University. As an advocate for black businesses, Ms. McCarter approached Dr. Burke about getting the members of the Winston Salem Black Chamber of Commerce in front of the decision makers for the City of Winston Salem to help its members secure contracts with the City of Winston-Salem. The members of the Winston Salem Black Chamber of Commerce were able to meet with the department heads of the City of Winston Salem and relationships were formed resulting in contracts for the members of the Winston Salem Black Chamber of Commerce.
After Miriam McCarter’s tenure Dana Suggs was voted in as President, Jesse Hymes was voted in as Vice President, Randon Pender, Secretary and Ellen McCloud, Treasurer.
After Dana Suggs tenure Jesse Hymes was voted as President , Randon Pender, Vice President, James Huff, Secretary and , B.G. Norman - Treasurer
After Jesse Hymes tenure, Randon Pender was voted in as President, James Huff as Vice President, Sandra Davis, Treasurer and Tyshia Gray, Secretary.
Other officers included: Pam Cager, Vice-President, Montinique Cager- Treasurer, Telissa Ward-Thomas, Secretary.
Under Randon Pender’s tenure the organization joined the U. S. Black Chambers, Inc.
The Ernestine Huff Scholarship Fund was started and for every paid membership it was voted that $25 would be added to the scholarship fund to be used by a business student at the school of their choice.
Jasmine Huff was the first recipient of the Ernestine Huff Scholarship Fund. She enrolled in Salem College.
Additionally, under Ms. Pender’s tenure annual events include the Art Extravaganza and Auction and the Holiday Jazz Gala. The organization’s signature event under Ms. Pender’s leadership is the Shop Small Bus Tour, a national initiative of the American Express Company.
The Winston Salem Black Chamber has also been a host for the Winston Salem Urban League’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Through this program, summer interns access mentoring opportunities and gain experience as administrative assistants, marketing and other business assistants assistants.
The Winston Salem Black Chamber of Commerce looks to strengthen economic development in the Black Community through cultivating relationships and collaborating with the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Simon Green Atkins Community Development Corporation, Winston-Salem Urban League, City of Winston-Salem, Small Business Center, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity and the Triad Minority and Women Business Expo.