Although Patrice Bayyan had never worked for a chamber of commerce before starting as executive director of the chamber here, she believes her career in human resources and workforce development prepared her well.
“It was such a natural fit,” said Bayyan, who started her new job Feb. 8. “My prior background has really been a good segue in to hit the ground running.”
A Knightdale resident for the last 13 years, Bayyan’s last job was project director for workforce development at the NC Works Career Center in Raleigh. She has also worked in recruiting in the private sector for Caterpillar, IBM, CARQUEST Auto Parts and others.
She has also worked for nonprofits and has experience with training and helping people who have been out of work for long periods of time get back to work.
“Everything that I have done has tied me back to connecting people with opportunities,” Bayyan said. “Whether I worked in management, whether I worked in HR, it has been connecting the right people with the right opportunities.”
Nathan Ray, 2016 president of the chamber board, said Bayyan’s HR background, experience working with other boards and the fact that she lives in Knightdale helped the board make its decision.
“She knows how to make the office work,” Ray said. “In her interview we saw she could be a great bridge between the board, the ambassadors and the members.”
Bayyan grew up in Columbus County in the southeastern part of the state and studied business administration at UNC-Pembroke. She moved to Raleigh after graduating 30 years ago, and has been in the area since.
She said she was drawn to Knightdale because it is “a very progressive community that was looking not only to become bigger, but better, with easy access to Raleigh. I could work, play and live here, but if I wanted access to any of those other areas (of the Triangle), it wasn’t that difficult to do.”
Her husband, Vincent Bayyan, works in fund development for UNC-Chapel Hill, and the couple has three children.
Her first few days on the job have been spent meeting with key officials in town, chamber members and members of the Knightdale Leads Group, a group of business leaders that is open to non-chamber members.
“My goal is to build a powerful coalition between the town, the business community and the people we serve, our investors, our stakeholders and our members,” she said.
She also wants to make it a priority to reach out to potential young leaders and recruit and retain new members.
A big part of her prior experience, she said, was building coalitions, and that’s what she plans to do at the chamber.
“You have county. You have state. You have town,” she said. “All of those play a role in how you set the vision. They may have different goals, but there are ways to build synergy around what we need to accomplish.”
She plans to make use of focus groups and surveys to measure the chamber’s impact.
“We have to ensure that what we do and what we deliver is relevant to our business community,” Bayyan said. “If everything goes according to plan, I see flourishing business development, engaged members and where the chamber is making great things happen in the community.”
In addition to her bachelor’s degree from UNC-Pembroke, Bayyan has a master’s degree in leadership and organizational change from Pfeiffer and a certificate in HR management from Duke.
Outside work, Bayyan has developed an interest in chess over the last five years or so and finds that the ability to think of moves before they happen has helped her in her career. She also enjoys fishing along the coast with her family.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826