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Padgett spotlighted by NC/SC Chamber Organization

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September 02, 2016
Carolinas Association of Chamber Executives (CACCE) representing the Chambers of Commerce in North Carolina and South Carolina is spotlighting Garner Chamber president Neal Padgett in this month's newsletter.

Neal Padgett 
Garner (NC) Chamber of Commerce 

How long have you been in Chamber work?
10 years

How long have you been in your current position?
10 years

What do you love most about your job?
Being a facilitator and then watching success and growth come from the resulting connections. Sometimes the facilitation is behind the scenes, sometimes through introductions, through presenting subject matter experts at events, through creating fun experiences, through providing news….so many opportunities to set things in motion.
Tell us about your most embarrassing Chamber moment.
In my first year on the job, I attended a regional meeting.  A man introduced himself, and I recognized his name, but thought he was someone else.  I interacted with him like I would a college buddy, slapping him on the back and calling him “dude.”  At the end of the meeting, he handed me his card and asked if we could get together the following week. When I read his card and realized he was not who I thought, but the WakeMed CEO and one of the Triangle’s most high-level executives, I thought I was going be sick. But I played it off and we met.  He wanted me to help him bring an emergency department and healthplex to Garner.  At the grand opening of the Emergency Department/Healthplex, he acknowledged the role I played in bringing healthcare options to Garner. Embarrassing initial encounter, but so worth it!    
Which Chamber Executive has had the biggest impact on your career and how?
Harvey Schmitt. He warmly welcomed me on my first day on the job, and then followed up with several sessions to offer advice and guide me. I have always been amazed and appreciative that someone as busy as Harvey would spend so much time working with me.  And what an awesome coach!
What is your Chamber’s signature event?  Tell us about how it is run and what time of year it is held.
Our most unique is Broadway Voices, a concert series that three times a year brings one of Broadway’s biggest stars along with a Broadway musical director to perform a one-night-only concert event. This is literally the only series of its kind in the country, and has resulted in Garner being recognized on Broadway as the place for the stars to go for an intimate concert experience.
What is your favorite Carolina destination outside of the one you represent and why?
We enjoy many great Carolina destinations, but our most frequent is the Morehead City/Beaufort/Atlantic Beach area.  I kayak, bike, walk and eat lots of great seafood dishes.
What is your favorite hobby?
Music.  I started college as a music major and have been a church organist most of my life.  I’ve also had the opportunity to write and produce several music events, and to accompany some incredible singers.  A recent production was a flash mob we did for Harvey Schmitt’s retirement!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An architect. While my career path took me from music to accounting to eventually Chamber work, I still enjoy observing architecture when we travel….like Savannah’s beautiful buildings I saw at the recent ACCE conference!