Jill Atherton

Project Director

I have been involved in nonprofit management for my entire career, the last 20 years of which have been with a local Chamber of Commerce.  I am passionate about helping people and doing whatever I can to help them succeed.  The majority of my career has focused on helping businesses grow and succeed despite challenges and obstacles.  I believe that helping a company keep or grow jobs is one of the best ways to foster a community’s success.  I see the value in every potential entrepreneur and have found great personal joy in helping guide their success.  All of these efforts require funding, and I am passionate about finding new and creative ways to engage others in reaching financial goals.

My personal motto is never give up.  Even when things are tough I try to find ways to be successful.  I value the role that nonprofits serve in our society and believe in the benefits of thoughtful planning.  I appreciate diversity, enjoy meeting new people, and am passionate about helping nonprofit organizations meet and exceed their goals.

Full Bio

Jill has more than 20 years of experience in economic development, working with nonprofits, fundraising, and community development. She has been involved in leading many key economic development initiatives in her community.

Working with entrepreneurial endeavors has been a key area of interest for Jill. She helped launch a formal entrepreneurial ecosystem that maps and assesses the needs of entrepreneurs on a local and regional basis. She secured funding and created educational programming for local technology-focused businesses for nearly 10 years. She serves as a judge for several local business competitions and volunteers outside of work to mentor small business owners.

Before working with chambers, Jill spent five years with a capital campaign management firm serving as a campaign coordinator focused on all aspects of fundraising campaign management. She led a campaign for the public schools to raise $9 million for technology improvements

Jill is dedicated to helping her local community and serves on several boards and commissions. She currently serves on the alumni council for Appalachian State University as the co-chair for Alumni/Student Connections, on the advisory board of the local Small Business Center, and as volunteer for the National Black Theater Festival. She is also a founding member of Women Who Care.  She is a graduate of Wake Forest University, Appalachian State University, and Leadership Winston-Salem.

Summary of Experience

  • Vice President, Community and Economic Development at Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.
  • Advisory Board member of Forsyth Tech Small Business Center.
  • Alumni Council Co-Chair for Alumni/Student Connections at Appalachian State University.
  • Founding member of Women Who Care, a community-based philanthropic organization.
  • Earned Certified Economic Developer designation from International Economic Development Council.
  • Master’s degree from Wake Forest University; Bachelor’s Degree from Appalachian State University.