Travel with your Chamber to Northern Italy

Experience firsthand the authentic character of Italy’s romantic Northern Lakes, one of the world’s most exquisite landscapes. This area has been beloved by poets, writers, and artists since the days of the Roman Empire. Our journey in this incredibly scenic setting brings us to verdant mountains sheltering gleaming deep blue lakes, captivating towns like Stressa spilling down the hillsides, and to Bellagio’s opulent villas and gardens with rose-laden promenades. We explore these four magical lakes – Como, Lugano, Maggiore, and Garda – as we travel to hidden stone villages with tiny chapels and boat to Isola Bella, with its magnificent palatial villa. Click here to view the itinerary.

Rate: $3,399 per person double occupancy. Single Supplement $450. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Included in the tour price: Roundtrip airfare from Dulles. Roundtrip airport transportation is included for the base trip. Fuel sur-charges are currently at $500, Airport departure taxes are currently $120. Customer acknowledges that there could be a possibility of an increase to the fuel surcharge and departure tax at the time of billing which may be added to your statement.

Click here for the registration form. If you have questions, please contact Michele Peppers at MPeppers@RoanokeChamber.org or 540.983.0700 x107.


Virginia Chamber hosts conference on energy & infrastructure in Roanoke

Nicole Bunce

Virginia Chamber Draws Attention to Sound Infrastructure and Reliable Energy Needs in Roanoke Conference 

Earlier this afternoon, the Virginia Chamber concluded its two-day conference during which world-class panelists discussed statewide investments in workforce development and job growth, infrastructure’s role in economic development for rural Virginia, and the importance of affordable, reliable energy.

For the first time in conference history, the event was hosted in Roanoke to foster broader discussions with leaders from all areas of the state and create a renewed focus on the important role rural Virginia plays in energy and infrastructure improvements.

“We are thrilled that the Virginia Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual infrastructure and energy conference in the Roanoke Region and we were pleased to serve as a participating host,” said Roanoke Chamber President & CEO Joyce Waugh. “A reliable transportation system is critical to our region’s economic well-being as well as connecting our residents and companies with the rest of the Commonwealth and customers. In addition, our region relies on affordable energy to fuel our cars, heat our homes, and power our businesses. Continued investments in these two key areas will drive business development and economic growth as we strengthen our business climate to encourage investment and well-paying jobs, boost our education systems, and expand cultural opportunities in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and southwest Virginia.”

The conference also included keynote remarks from leaders in both the business and higher education communities. Morning remarks on Thursday were provided by Nick Akins, Chairman, President & CEO, American Electric Power, and the conference was concluded with remarks from Dr. Tim Sands, President, Virginia Tech.

“Throughout this conference we heard from elected officials and industry experts about how a robust infrastructure network and access to affordable, reliable energy can kickstart economic growth and job creation. Infrastructure extends beyond just roads and bridges, and our panelists shared how sustainable investments in healthcare, education, and manufacturing can drive business development in southwest Virginia and other rural areas of the Commonwealth,” expressed Virginia Chamber President & CEO Barry DuVal. “As we strive to return Virginia to the best state in the nation for business, I urge policy makers and business leaders to take what we learned from our conference and advocate for commonsense, sustainable policies that will improve our infrastructure and energy networks for the foreseeable future,” DuVal concluded.

For more information visit: https://www.vachamber.com/event/2019-virginia-conference-on-energy-infrastructure/

Health Team – A Disease of Addiction: Discovery to Recovery


  1. Demonstrate the misunderstandings around the disease of substance use Introduce the facts about opioids
  2. Learn about the impacts on the community, from youth to families to local businesses
  3. Seek out innovative solutions to reduce the number of lives lost

How the program went

  • The Health team felt that our program was successful because we set a tone and an expectation for others to comprehend the significance of the issue at hand. We felt throughout the day that the participants were not only moved, but called.
  • The survey results were overwhelmingly positive and reflected the success and the amount of work the team put into the program.

Did the program achieve the objectives? YES, the team felt this way and the survey results indicated this.

What would you have changed? Would have made sure that the allotted Q&A times were followed so that participants could ask questions. The Panel Discussion was the most obvious time that this didn’t happen; it was reflected in the survey results that while the discussion was great, the Q&A was badly needed.


Team Members

  • CJ Boothe
  • Brooke Tolley
  • Chip White
  • Lesa Hanlin
  • Andrew Whaley
  • Nicole Pendleton
  • Julia Clark
  • Maria Marte
  • Diane Nguyen 


  • John Gardner
  • Betsy Crow
  • Tim Snyder

Social Entrepreneurship Team: Turning your Moment into a Movement

Program Objectives

  1. Introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship
  2. Demonstrate social entrepreneurship in action
  3. Cultivate a passion for participation in social entrepreneurship

Calls to Action

  1. Think where you shop – how can you make an impact?
  2. Support local organizations
  3. Look at your place of work – how can your organization make a social impact or change in our community?

Due to the difficulty that our team had trying to wrap our heads around “what is ‘social entrepreneurship’?”, we decided that the first objective of our program day would be to have an expert come in and kick things off. Dr. Richard Hunt, a business professor at Virginia Tech, got the ball rolling by introducing everyone to social entrepreneurship and how it differs from typical for-profit businesses. He accomplished his goal of covering a lot of material in a brief amount of time, and he really got everyone thinking and kept the mood up-beat by highlighting some of the incredible social benefits that come from entrepreneurship.

After Dr. Hunt set the stage, we wanted to highlight examples of social entrepreneurship that might be more familiar to the uninitiated. To achieve our second objective of demonstrating social entrepreneurship in action, we started with a match-the-mission statement game that got people thinking about businesses they’ve probably shopped at or heard of. Next, to take it further and make it more tangible, we brought in four local speakers to talk about how they do social entrepreneurship in the Roanoke Valley.

  • Isabel Thornton (Restoration Housing) spoke about how her business utilizes historic tax credits to provide affordable housing.
  • Jacob Gibson (Interactive Achievement) highlighted how a for-profit software business upheld its mission to enable all students to learn and achieve in the classroom.
  • Xavier Duckett (Humble Hustle) showed how he merged his two passions, style and helping others – by starting a clothing company to fund his non-profits.
  • Brad Stevens (SIMPLE Roanoke) spoke about his micro-grant program that allows local start-ups to apply for a $1,000 grant to help get their ideas started.

To really let participants get their hands dirty, we adapted the tv show “Shark Tank” and made a game called “Dolphin Tank” (paying homage to a team member’s previous job working with dolphins). Each team was assigned a common issue found in Roanoke and had to develop a business plan that they would then pitch to our panel of pretend investors (the local speakers they just heard from). This proved to be a hit, and the winning team was awarded a fake check that they could have theoretically spent to start their business. More importantly, it got everyone thinking about how to create a solution to a problem that can sustain and fund itself.

Our final objective was to cultivate a passion for participation in social entrepreneurship. One way that this can be done is to support local businesses who put their mission before profits. To do this, we led each team to a different local business where they heard from leaders of that organization about how the business serves and impacts the Roanoke Valley, and the group also got a tour of the facilities. When we reconvened, each group shared what they learned with the other groups.

Finally, to wrap things up on a fun note, everyone loaded back up on the bus to finish the day off at the Deschutes Tasting Room. Our last speaker, Sara Sloan with Deschutes Brewery, highlighted how even a beer company finds ways to give back to the local community by organizing local events, fundraisers, and clean-ups. We then capped the afternoon off with a beer and our calls to action on how to get involved with social entrepreneurship.

Team Members

  • Allison Wolf
  • Elvir Berbic
  • Jay Jones
  • Madeline Sefcik
  • Scott Harriman
  • Suzanne Pierce
  • Tamika Hubbard
  • Tiffany Reynolds
  • Zack Marshall

Team Advisors

  • Amy Matheny
  • Stephanie Frost
  • Tom Smigielski


  • Dr. Richard Hunt – Virginia Tech
  • Brad Stevens – SIMPLE Roanoke
  • Xavier Duckett – Humble Hustle
  • Isabel Thornton – Restoration Housing
  • Jacob Gibson – Interactive Achievement
  • Zenith Barrett – Goodwill
  • Rick Morrison – Feeding America
  • Niki Voudren – Habitat For Humanity
  • Sara Sloan – Deschutes Brewery


  • American Electric Power
  • Feeding America
  • Freedom First
  • Goodwill
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Kroger
  • Mill Mountain Coffee
  • Orvis
  • Skyline National Bank
  • Trane
  • United Healthcare



Chamber News April 2019

Join the Virginia Chamber on April 17 and 18 for the 2019 Virginia Conference on Energy & Infrastructure! You can learn more about the conference, meet our new members and register for upcoming Chamber events in our latest newsletter.

Are you interested in promoting your business in this newsletter in 2019? Please contact Starr Anderson at SAnderson@RoanokeChamber.org for more details