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Emerging Leaders Conference (1920 x 540px)

This year on May 2nd, 2024, we are excited to host our Emerging Leadership Conference, at The Highlander Hotel.

This year's theme emphasizes the career path to becoming a leader!

This year's conference will feature a panel comprised of leaders in various fields, including business, education, public service, and more, discussing the steps they have taken in their careers that set them on the path to leadership.

Attendees may choose to be a sponsor of the Emerging Leadership Conference during registration. Simply select your level of sponsorship (all levels included a ticket or more) and provide the Chamber with your logo.

If you'd like to be a sponsor, please contact Marissa Smith, Vice President of Membership Engagement at

Thank you to our sponsors!

What to expect?

8:15-8:50 AM - Check-In & Networking

9:00 AM - Welcome, Panel Discussion

10:30 AM - Brunch

11:00 AM - Forty under 40 & Valor Awards

12:00 - 1:00 PM - Networking Hour

Emerging Leaders Conference (1920 x 540px)

Master of Ceremonies

ELC Panel (3)

Jeanne Symanoskie, New River Valley Community College.

Jeanne Symanoskie is a distinguished educator and coordinator at New River Community College. With a rich background in education, Dr. Symanoskie has notably contributed over ten years to teaching in various educational settings including Fairfax County Public Schools, Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, and the University of Georgia. Beyond her academic roles, she has also ventured into entrepreneurship, and also serves as a volunteer for Downtown Christiansburg Inc. to help promote Christiansburg to the surrounding community.

Currently serving as the Coordinator for Montgomery County Workforce Training at NRCC, she plays a pivotal role in the college's Workforce Development division. This division is dedicated to providing customized training for businesses, non-profits, and other organizations, helping them achieve their operational goals. Dr. Symanoskie's experience extends into facilitating workshops on professional skills such as resume writing and online applications, reflecting her commitment to practical workforce readiness​.

Her educational journey is crowned with a doctorate in education, which she earned from the University of Georgia, further solidifying her expertise and passion for lifelong learning and teaching.


ELC Panel

Pat Huber, New River Valley Community College.

Growing up in rural southwest Virginia, Pat Bear (Huber) never imagined that one day she would become a college president. But, as a result of the many opportunities provided to her, her love of education, and especially her love for the people of New River Community College, Pat’s move to the leadership of the college was the best next step in her career.  On July 1, 2017, Pat Huber became New River Community College’s fifth president and the first female to hold the position.

Pat came to the presidency after serving as vice president for instruction and student services for 10 years. She also held other roles, including dean of arts and sciences, assistant division chair for the division of arts and sciences, instructor/assistant professor of English, and adjunct instructor. Pat also taught in public high schools.

Pat earned an associate degree from Wytheville Community College and earned teaching credentials and a bachelor’s degree in English from Emory and Henry College.  She earned a master’s degree in secondary education from West Virginia University and a PhD in community college leadership from Old Dominion University.

Pat lives in Pulaski with her husband, Peter Huber, retired Pulaski County administrator.


ELC Panel (2)

James Cabler, Carter Bank & Trust.

Originally from Bedford County, VA, James received his B.S. in Economics from Radford University in 2006. He has an extensive background in economic development and more than 16 years of banking and lending experience. James joined Carter Bank & Trust in 2021 and currently serves as their Vice President of Community Development Lending. In his role, James focuses on lending activities that help support affordable housing for low- or moderate-income (LMI) individuals, job growth and retention, community revitalization, nonprofit organizations, SBA small businesses, and farm loans. James previous roles include Director of Investor Relations for Onward NRV, Vice President of the Blacksburg Market for Freedom First Credit Union and Retail Market Manager at Atlantic Union Bank.

He currently serves on the Advisory Board for Radford Universities Davis College of Business and Economics, Board of Directors for the Montgomery County Art and History Museum, and as Board Chair for the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. James resides in Christiansburg with his wife Kristyn, and Bernese mountain dog Hudson in his free time, James enjoys going on cruises, attending Virginia Tech football game and rooting for the Hokies.


ELC Panel (4)

Robyn Jones, Joba Studio/Triumph NIL

Robyn Jones is a dynamic leader and entrepreneur based in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she runs JOBA Design Studio, a creative firm dedicated to enhancing brand experiences. With a passionate commitment to community support and development, she actively engages in initiatives that bolster local businesses and foster entrepreneurial spirit. Robyn is also the past chair of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, where she has played a crucial role in promoting business growth and networking within the region.

In addition to her leadership at the Chamber, Robyn contributes to the advertising and marketing sector through Triumph NIL, where she serves as COO. Triumph NIL is a company dedicated to creating meaningful Name, Image, and Likeness partnerships for student-athletes in compliance with NCAA rules. Her work spans across business leadership and community engagement, aiming to create a supportive environment for both established companies and start-ups in the New River Valley.

Robyn defines success as the constant pursuit of personal excellence and the empowerment of others within her community.


ELC Panel (1)

Nanci Hardwick, MELD

Nanci Hardwick is CEO of MELD Manufacturing Corporation and Aeroprobe Corporation. MELD® has changed the scale of metal additive manufacturing with its solid-state printing process. Nanci has led MELD® from a concept to commercialization with several awards, including R&D100’s most disruptive new technology worldwide and the Edison award.

In 2023, a new company focused on printing large scale metal parts using MELD printers was spun out. Nanci owns the region’s first company dedicated to delivering parts made by 3D printing – MELD PrintWorks Corporation.

Nanci has served in volunteer roles in our community for over two decades. She is currently a board member of the Virginia Manufacturer’s Association. Previously she was founding member and board chair of the AUVSI Ridge and Valley Chapter; board chair for Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), board chair for United Way; board vice-chair for OnwardNRV; founding board member of Roanoke Blacksburg Innovation Network (RBIN), Virginia Tech CRC Community Impact Program, and United Way’s United in Caring Fund; board member of New River Community College Foundation and Lyric Theatre; volunteer adult literacy tutor for Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA). She has received awards and been recognized by a previous Governor of Virginia for leadership in community and business

Mark Your Calendar

Upcoming Events

Ribbon Cutting

Upcoming Ribbon Cuttings

Ribbon Cuttings celebrate the opening of a new location, building, renovation, new service, change in management, or just to celebrate a Chamber business!

Thank You to our Stakeholder & Leader Sponsors

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