Andrea Copeland-Whitsett

Major(s): AS, Education (PVCC ’95); BS, Human Services Counseling (ODU ’97)
Continuing Education and Development: Leadership Charlottesville Class of 2013; 2017 Graduate, Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (VACCE) Institute Program; Student, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management
Awards: 2020 Leadership Charlottesville Alumni Association Leaders’ Leader Award; 2019 Forward Adelante Excellence in Business Award; 2015 Virginia Lawyers Weekly Influential Women of Virginia AwardEmployer/Role: Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce; Director of Member Education Services and Director of Leadership Charlottesville

How did PVCC help prepare you for your career? "Starting my higher education career at PVCC helped me to be better disciplined with my time. I was treated as an adult. My success or failure depended solely on me. None of my professors were going to call my parents if I slacked off or got bad grades. This was a lesson into what the real world, the work world, is like. Meeting deadlines, doing research for projects, writing papers, studying for exams, completing assignments, working in groups, communicating with professors, classmates and counselors… this all helped to prepare me to be successful in my job today. I have lots of deadlines I work to meet, I do research for my leadership sessions, I write lots of communications to executives, mid-level leaders, emerging leaders, service workers, those in between jobs; there are assignments I complete for my job and these are sometimes done individually or in group settings. And I do a lot of communicating through email, verbally, body language, social media, conference calls, ZOOM calls… a lot!

Attending PVCC also introduced me to a whole new group of people different from those I attended high school with, grew up with, interacted and hung out with; thus, expanding my circle of friends and those I network with even today. At the Chamber I work with all kinds of people of all backgrounds. I love it! I’ve no doubt my years at PVCC helped to prepare me for working within so much beautiful diversity.”

Tell us about your current career. Currently, I:

  • Direct and run the Leadership Charlottesville program, connecting current and emerging leaders with the ‘Who’s Who’ of leaders throughout Greater Charlottesville.
  • Promote and support diversity within and throughout the Chamber of Commerce. As a result, we have significantly increased diversity within the LC program as well as in our Chamber membership.
  • Oversee three Chamber affinity groups that meet monthly: Business Women's Round Table (BWRT), Leadership Charlottesville Alumni Association (LCAA) and Minority Business Alliance (MBA).
  • Work closely with senior leadership with programs, affinity groups and other matters relevant to our business community.
  • Convene our members and the business community through the organizing, planning and execution of workshops, luncheons, conferences, networking events and more.
  • Create partnerships and collaborate with various enterprises and organizations to help our entrepreneurs and small businesses scale up.