“Every day we are working with our members to capitalize on opportunities to prosper and grow. It is only through our collective efforts that we can truly strengthen our economy. ”These are the words of Patricia Gonzalez, the Greater Fayetteville Chamber’s new director of membership services. Patricia is no newcomer to Fayetteville. She’s lived here for 15 years and is the wife of a retired Air Force officer who’s now working for the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
Gonzalez is a native of Petaluma, California, and a graduate of Cal Poly State University in northern California with a degree in business. She withstood what she called a rigorous, in-depth interview process before being chosen for her new post. She’s looking forward to working with a new Chamber President and CEO, a position that has been vacant for 10 months. Interim CEO Darsweil Rogers notes in this edition’s News Digest that the chamber hopes to fill the vacancy about the end of the month.
Gonzalez has been on the job a little over a month and is anxious to get to know the chamber’s members. She regards her duty as one of service to the membership of 800 businesses and military units. She hopes her interpersonal skills will allow her to increase the chamber membership to 1,000 in two years. She’s in “the process of creating processes,” of building the chamber’s rolls, she says. “We’re here to champion Greater Fayetteville’s businesses.” First, comes shoring up existing members by providing them with the expertise and support vital to their economic success. Gonzalez believes the chamber is an essential element of the community’s efforts to expand economic development, noting that small business is the community’s underlying foundation.
Gonzalez tells of lessons learned from reading a book several years ago on how to clean house. Typically, she says, one begins by straightening up one bedroom at a time. The mistake you can make is to come across an item that belongs in another room and taking it there. Then you turn attention to that room and overlook the one where you started. Completing the task at hand is the lesson learned, which is the key to concentrating on the needs of one business at a time. Gonzalez is a perpetual note taker, insisting that good notes are so important. Clearly written, accurate notes help to capture information for later study and review. She’s “already filled up four notepads,” she says. Asked how she keeps up, she said: “You just do it!”
The things Gonzalez says makes her job most enjoyable are the longtime members who’ve supported the chamber and the community. She cites Bryan Honda’s unique position as the Greater Fayetteville Chamber’s oldest and most dedicated member having first joined in December 1954. In her introductory message in last week’s edition of Up & Coming Weekly Gonzalez wrote: “Through collaborative efforts, we’re able to provide valuable networking opportunities, advocate for the business community with government and work with our current business leaders while preparing our next generation of leaders.”