Gayle N. Anderson, President and CEO of the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce today announced her plans to retire December 31, 2017. Anderson joined the Chamber as executive vice president in 1989 and was named to her current position in 1996.

During her tenure the Chamber:

* Re-engaged the small business community as part of its “Keep It Local” initiative
* Created the first chamber Technology Council in the nation to maximize knowledge-based job creation
* Established what is now known as the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, formerly the Piedmont Triad Research Park
* Secured State funding to complete construction of I-74, the western leg of the Northern Beltway, a project she began lobbying for in 1989
* Established a contract to manage business involvement and volunteers in the public schools, the first such contract between a chamber and a school system in the U.S.
* Led the efforts to successfully pass four public school bond referenda for a total of $884 million, including the most recent bond initiative which also included $65 million in additional funds for Forsyth Technical Community College and $15 million for Forsyth County Parks and Recreation projects
* Created a plan for incorporating technology learning into the curriculum of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and raised $8 million from the private sector to help fund the technology
* Received the “Technology-Based Economic Development Award” from the International Economic Development Council for its high tech initiatives

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our local business community for nearly three decades,” Anderson said. “The Chamber’s 1200 members, working in partnership with the other economic development groups and our public sector leaders, have made great strides in diversifying our economy and ensuring that everyone has a place at the table as we strengthen existing businesses and support entrepreneurs and small business start-ups.”

A search committee, co-chaired by Peggy Carter and Alan Proctor, will begin the process of finding the next CEO of the organization.

Anderson, 66, and her husband, Carey Hedgpeth, will remain in Winston-Salem where she plans to expand her current part-time vocation of teaching yoga. A Cleveland, Ohio native, she received her BS in Journalism from Ohio University and her MBA from UNCG. Prior to leading the Chamber, Anderson was active in a local public relations firm and held community and government relations positions for R.J. Reynolds and marketing positions with J.A. Jones Construction Company in Charlotte.