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Business Leads the Way in Times of Crisis

The following is a message NC Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido sent to Cornerstone members on Friday, March 20.

Many of you have heard the following quote from television personality Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

In times of crisis, people don’t always rank the business community high on their list of society’s helpers. I would argue they should, though. Throughout my career, whenever a crisis has materialized here in North Carolina, businesses have always been among the first to step up and help lead efforts that make positive impacts in people’s lives. Whether it’s shipping clean water to flood-ravaged communities or donating funds to help families rebuild after a storm, make no mistake—businesses have always been among the leading helpers.

Our current crisis is no different. As our state navigates the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina families are faced with very real concerns about their future. In recent weeks, employers across the state have worked tirelessly to not only protect their employees and manage their own response to COVID-19, but to connect with our communities to provide needed resources to help workers, families, and other businesses navigate this crisis.

In an effort to spread hope during this pandemic, our team has started to collect and share these stories. Our aim is to catch people doing good and inspire others to do the same. The work you are doing does just that. The #SeetheGoodNC campaign is designed to showcase the positive things that businesses are doing in all corners of our state. I invite you to share your stories with us.

It’s not just business that’s leading by example, however. Our state’s elected officials are stepping up. I am pleased to represent the private-sector community on Governor Roy Cooper’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force. Governor Cooper, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen, and State Health Director Dr. Betsy Tilson have shown great leadership and a real willingness to listen and collaborate. Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in North Carolina, members of Governor Cooper’s team have reached out to me regularly to better understand the needs of the business community and find out what we are hearing from you about the specific challenges you are facing.

Your NC Chamber team has shifted to remote operations and we look forward to convening our board meetings virtually at the end of this month. Our government affairs team is collaborating with leaders from the trade associations representing the statewide business community to advocate for clarity on policy and to shape any new policy that may arise during the course of state-level responses. Together with these leaders, we are working to remove roadblocks on business so that you can continue to be productive and efficient throughout this crisis.

In this time of uncertainty, one thing is certain—as North Carolinians, we are in this together. While none of us knows exactly what the coming weeks will bring, I am confident that our state’s job creators will be among those helping to lead our state through this crisis. You are the helpers. Thank you for leading by example. We appreciate the opportunity to represent you and to voice your message that, as North Carolinians, we will get through this crisis together.


Gary J. Salamido
President and CEO