Staff & Volunteers
CEO - Jessica Helms
I moved to Charlotte after graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing. I landed in the hospitality industry where I served for almost 20 years with a fantastic company and an amazing team. This was my first introduction to a Chamber of Commerce.
I started by attending networking meetings and events with three different Chambers in the Charlotte area. Our company sponsored Chamber events as well and my network of business connections and friends grew. In 2012, I joined the board of the SouthPark Chapter of the legacy Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chair in 2017 and later, Chair of the merged entity Charlotte Regional Business Alliance in 2019.
I have also had the honor to serve on the Board of the National Association for Catering and Events (2005-2011), The Sandbox (2017-2018), North Carolina Business Travel Association (2019 – 2020), and Ace & TJ’s Radio Family Charity (2018 – 2019).
The saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is true. For me, the Chamber was an integral part of building my “who you know”. I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to build connections for others in the Charlotte business community through the NEW Charlotte Area Chamber of Commerce.
COO - Michael Orzech
In 2003, I left the corporate world and started a new business. My mentor, who had been in the business for 20 years, and books I was reading at the time, both suggested joining a local Chamber of Commerce, so I did. Within the first year of business, I was on the board of one Chamber, a member of another and thinking about joining a third, when we decided to move to Charlotte. The first thing I did when I moved to Charlotte was to join the Charlotte Chamber at the time and many other membership based organizations. For several years, sixty percent of my business was coming from the connections I made at the Chamber.
The Chamber was also involved in local government which allowed me to have a seat on the Mayor’s Business Advisory Committee for 6 years as a Chamber representative. I was also given the opportunity to serve on the Board of the University City Chapter for 6 years, be a chamber ambassador, connector, work on the annual campaign for 10 years, and volunteered on committees for special events. Participating in all these things lead to meeting people who could help me with my business and become good friends along the way.
When the opportunity arose to start a NEW Chamber of Commerce, colleagues and friends encouraged us to start it and said we needed it. I think they felt the same way I did.
Moving forward with the New Charlotte Area Chamber of Commerce, I am looking forward to helping people connect and grow and to build a strong business community that supports local businesses long into the future.
Tim McCleary is the founder and managing director of The Involvement Practice, a change activation firm that diagnoses and improves culture through employee involvement. The firm’s 15-member team serves clients around the world from its home base in Charlotte, NC. Prior to forming the Practice 12 years ago, Tim had a 20-year career in communications, marketing and brand management with companies such as NBC, Warner Bros, and GE.