Natalie English currently serves as president & CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. She has served for over 20 years in a chamber of a commerce leadership role and over 30 years advocating on behalf of business. Natalie believes it’s her calling to work with business, government, and elected leaders to make her community attractive for business growth and investment.
Natalie has almost 30 years of experience monitoring legislative and regulatory issues locally, statewide, and at the federal level. She has a strong track record of success and has been responsible for building community support for many investments in infrastructure that have been key to economic development in the communities in which she has worked. She has leadership experience and a background in affecting policies that impact the cost and ease of doing business, quality of life, and workforce.
Natalie’s role as the Charlotte Chamber’s Chief Public Policy Officer included managing campaigns for community referenda, which helped lead to the passage of over $5 billion in infrastructure investments since 2006. In 2007, she served as the chief staff person managing the Vote Against Repeal campaign and the campaign to push for the passage of four county bond referenda to improve infrastructure in the Charlotte community. The Vote Against Repeal campaign successfully convinced 70% of Mecklenburg County voters to defeat the effort to repeal the dedicated funding source for Charlotte’s mass transit program, and all four bond issues passed.
Natalie has had the opportunity to advocate on behalf of her current community, Wilmington, following Hurricane Florence’s visit to our community and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Natalie led chamber staff to develop communications with members connecting them to resources needed and advocated with elected bodies to define what should be essential businesses. She worked with the Small Business Administration to create a comfortable local presence, so businesses could access the help they needed. Following Hurricane Florence, she worked with United Way leaders to convene a group of community partners that led to the creation of a long-term recovery group that continues to match needs with available resources. Natalie has been a voice on media outlets across the country, letting people know that Wilmington is open for business.
Natalie led a team of chamber staff and volunteers to mount an educational campaign regarding the process of exploring potential partnerships for NHRMC. The effort began in the summer of 2019 and culminated in a final 4-1 vote of the New Hanover County Commission to partner with Novant Health and create a $1.2 billion community foundation. The result will transform New Hanover County and southeastern North Carolina for generations.
Natalie received her B.A. in Communications from North Carolina State University and achieved her designation as a Certified Chamber Executive in 2012, one of only several hundred. In 2010, the National Association of Women Business Owners – Charlotte Chapter awarded Natalie with their Community Service Award. In 2008, Natalie was awarded the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship and completed a 25-day trip to Europe to learn about and advance trans-Atlantic relations. She was named as a 2008 Women in Business Achievement Award Winner by the Charlotte Business Journal. In 2009 and 2013, the Mecklenburg Times named Natalie one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte. In 2017, Natalie was nominated as a Woman to Watch by Wilma Magazine. In 2019 and 2020, Natalie made the WilmingtonBiz 100 list as an influencer in the community.
Natalie has also been an active volunteer, having served on the board of MeckEd, Partners in Out of School Time (POST), Leadership Charlotte, the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Alexander Youth Network, United Way of Central Carolinas, Charlotte Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board, the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, and Junior Achievement. She has also been an active leader in her church, having served three years as chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee at Assurance United Methodist Church, overseeing the staff management and hiring practices, which led to a marked increase in attendance and stewardship. She served as President of the Charlotte Rotary Club and led the members in celebrations related to the club’s Centennial in 2016. In her new community, she continues that involvement as a member of the the board of United Way of the Cape Fear, the Ports, Waterways & Beaches Commission, and the Tourism Development Authority. Natalie is a co-chair of the Mayor’s Ad Hoc Clean Energy Policy Task Force. She serves on various committees and working groups at St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian.
In her spare time, Natalie enjoys spending time with her son Rick on the sidelines of his many sports activities, traveling, playing golf, reading, and writing.