Meet the Board
Chad has over 15 years of experience assisting businesses and professionals with their human resource and organizational development needs. His human resources career has afforded him the opportunity to work in the healthcare, restaurant, financial services and non-profit industries as a human resource professional. He is designated as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the HRCI and is a graduate of Villanova University. Over the past ten years he has focused on training and advising small business owners, corporations and individuals in the area of LGBTQ workplace issues, diversity, inclusion and policy development.
Chad served as President of the Charlotte Business Guild and oversaw the transition to the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce, where he now leads as President. He continued to broaden the network of business owners and professionals by fostering a continued relationship with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance and gaining affiliation with the NGLCC - The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Under his leadership, the CLGBTCC experienced unprecedented growth and received the 2016 Organization of the Year Award from the Human Rights Campaign and designation as one of the leading LGBT chambers in the southeast.
Chad is a clinician and speaker throughout the region on such topics as diversity and inclusion, workplace equity, LGBT professional development and human resources. In addition to serving as President of the CLGBTCC, he also is the Vice-Chair of the LGBTQ Democrats of Mecklenburg County, serves as the LGBTQ liaison to the Mecklenburg Counts Census Committee and is on the Advisory Board to the Equality Fest.
In addition to moving the CLGBTCC forward under their current mission, he believes that all organizations should reflect the communities they serve. Every business owner, professional, college student and retiree that identifies as LGBTQ or supports equity for all should have more than just a seat at the table, they should be given a voice and that voice can be heard through the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Chad resides in Charlotte, NC where he and his husband Nate own and operate two small businesses.
vice president of internal affairs
Ciara Lilly is the president and founder of Higher Ground Consulting Group, a business consulting firm focused on helping small and diverse businesses build capacity, achieve sustainable growth and safeguard their contributions to the global economy. She also serves as the Director, Business Development and Diversity for Environmental Service Systems, a national facility services company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is responsible for the development and execution of the company’s business development and supplier diversity strategy.
Equipped with a passion for helping businesses maximize their growth potential and a successful track record of growing Environmental Service Systems by over $15 million dollars; Lilly launched Higher Ground Consulting Group in 2018 as a vehicle to expand her reach and impact in the business community. With her background and passion, Lilly provides her clients with a well-rounded perspective that lends itself well to solving a broad range of operational and business growth challenges.
Lilly holds her Executive MBA from the Jack Welch Management Institute and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 2015, she was selected and sponsored by Dominion Energy to attend the Minority Business Enterprise Executive Management Program at the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business.
Aside from her business endeavors, Lilly is a fervent proponent of education. In 2016, she established a scholarship in honor of her late grandmother at her alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. This scholarship is designed to help students that need additional support to fund their college education.
Over the years, Lilly has been the recipient of several notable awards recognizing her entrepreneurial drive, exemplary leadership and unwavering commitment to her community. Some of these awards include: Business Equality Pride Magazine’s 40 Leaders Under 40, The Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce’s 30 Under 30 and the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s Recognition of Excellence Award and Emerging Entrepreneur Award
Vice president of External affairs
Jennifer Carbuto is a Art Director for Intrigue, a New York Company that she has been with for 25 years. Originally from Long Island I moved to Charlotte 7 years ago. I joined the Business Guild in 2013 helping them brand themselves with a new logo & new marketing. I feel its very important to give back to the community where I can. I was proud to win "Ally of the Year" Award this past December at out Gala. When I'm not helping on the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce board, I am a room mom for my children's classes. I have 3 children and husband. I love traveling, reading & checking out new microbreweries.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE - Treasurer
Having spent most of my career in the financial services industry, currently working for PNC as a Branch and Business Center Manager in Southpark, I believe there is a great need in the community for professionals to donate time to improve the community we live in.
Having relocated to Charlotte in May of 2016, I was looking for ways to get actively involved in the LGBT Community here and found the Chamber to be an organization I could both believe in and commit to support their activities. Being able to support the LGBT community is important to me, and I enjoy the opportunity to assist where possible.
I am also a member of the Gay Men's Chorus of Charlotte, come out and see one of our shows, where I both perform and serve as President of the Board, I believe this along with the Chamber are two great areas to support the community.
Prior board positions in CA included the United Way as a general board member, the American Heart Association as the Silicon Valley Walk Chairperson for 2 years, Board member and President for my Church in Silicon Valley, Work to Future board member for over 11 years with being the Chair/Vice Chair of the Youth Committee and Board Member/Member Chairmen for the SIlicon Valley LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
I look forward to getting to know you and your business, along with answering any questions you might have about the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, ADVOCACY & POLICY
Erin Barbee is a native of Charlotte who recently returned home after living the last 5 years in Atlanta, Georgia. Erin received her degree in Sociology and Gerontology from UNC Charlotte in 2006. For the last 11 years Erin has been an Executive Director for different entities within the senior living field that ranged from free standing memory care communities to independent living facilities. In September 2017, Erin accepted her most rewarding position as the Director of Mission Advancement with Aldersgate Retirement Community. Her goal is to work with community partners to help bring more services and unique offerings to both the Elders that live at Aldersgate but, also patrons of East Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
Since her return Erin has become very involved in her city. She is the Co-chair of the Charlotte LGBT Elders Group, Board Member of CharlotteEAST, a volunteer Ombudsman and she serves on the leadership team of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Aging Council. In her spare time, Erin enjoys going to sporting events with her partner and spending time with her family.
director of LGBTbE® CERTIFICATION & SUPPLIER DIVERSITY
Nattiel Turner is a native of Maryland, but moved to Charlotte three days after his high school graduation to pursue his degree in culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University. During his tenure at Johnson & Wales he managed various restaurants and completed internships with the Nutrition & Diet Department at Carolina’s Medical Center focusing on meal plans and nutrition regimens. In addition to his academics and work schedule, Nattiel was also involved in the planning and opening of Georges Brassier in South Park. Nattiel had the distinct honor to study under Chef Carrie Hegnauer, Chef Fred Teiss and Chef Shane Pearson and attributes his skills to their dedication and mentoring while at Johnson & Wales . Although his passion for cooking began at an early age with his mother, Chef Rebecca Padgett guiding him, he began career development under Chef Tony Hilligoss at Parkside High School in the culinary arts program.
He received his Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in 2008. Upon graduation, he continued to manage restaurants and hospitality along with offering private chef services in the Charlotte metro area. In 2012, he opened Your Custom Catering & Events, a full-service catering and events firm. His idea was to offer catering and event management to those who were priced out of the big-name competitors within the industry. The company is considered a preferred and exclusive caterer for more than fifteen venues in and around the Queen City. He has been named one of “Charlotte’s Best Caterers” for two years consecutively. His company has consistently received the Spectrum Customer Service Award for three years as well. Nattiel prides himself in a client centered approach to catering and event management and maintains an “A+ Rating” and is an Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau and is listed as an accredited business in the North Carolina.
In addition to his culinary prowess, he is also very involved in his community. Nattiel is an active member of the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church. He has served on the boards of Charlotte Black Gay Pride and the Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce. His memberships have included the LGBT Chamber and Charlotte Chamber. Each year he gets involved in local elections and volunteers with various campaigns. This past year he was invited by faculty as a guest speaker at Johnson & Wales University, offering guidance and insight to future culinary and business students who want to open their own company. His philanthropic endeavors include the Charlotte Men’s Shelter, Time Out Youth, Urban Ministry, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Relatives. In 2017, Nate was honored as one of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce’s 30 Under 30 for his entrepreneurial success and what he has given to the Charlotte community through his business, activism and volunteerism.
Most recently, he received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia Southern University with honors.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION & PROGRAMS
is a native North Carolinian, having spent most of his life living in Jacksonville, NC, before moving to the Charlotte area in the summer of 2014. He is a 2010 graduate of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, where he received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. ’s careers and life can be summed up in one word: service. For five years, he helped middle and high school students reach their highest potential on their instrument of choice in the marching and concert band setting. Now, he is helping members of the Charlotte, Lake Norman, and South Carolina community to navigate the home buying and home selling process with success as a REALTOR® with Sellstate Premier. is a certified LGBT Business Enterprise, and also a real estate coach who helps encourage other to REALTORS® to reach their business goals. was recognized as the Keller Williams Realty - Lake Norman - Cornelius "2016 Rookie of the Year" and was also awarded the Five Star Professional 2017 Rising Star Award for the Charlotte area (see www.fivestarprofessional.com to learn more). Outside of his career, is a member of the Canopy Realtor Association’s Communications Advisory Group, Canopy Housing Foundation Committee, and Co-Chair of the LGBT Council of the Canopy Realtor Association’s Diversity Council. He currently lives in Charlotte with his husband, Matt, and enjoys trying out new restaurants, traveling, and spending time with friends.
DIRECTOR OF LGBTbE® CERTIFICATION & SUPPLIER DIVERSITY
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Xzaviar currently serves as Director of Interactive Marketing & Sales for Tech Guru, LLC, in Charlotte. He brings a wealth of experience with non-profit organizations, including recently coordinating the marketing and volunteer efforts of hiTechMODA for New York Fashion Week. Along with his passion for technology and event management, Xzaviar enjoys sharing his viewpoint through the lens of a camera.
He’s excited to join the LGBT Chamber and serve its continued growth and expansion. Xzaviar hopes to develop connections and bring innovation to the Chamber. Xzaviar is a recent addition to the Queen City but not to the south, as a graduate of Francis Marion University. Xzaviar enjoys occasional Disney trips with his partners, and lives with his 2 dogs in University Area.
director of clgbtcc ambassadors
Hunter has been living in Charlotte for the past three years. Before living in Charlotte, he lived in Greenville and Columbia, South Carolina. Hunter has spent his professional career in finance and banking since graduating Newberry College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in political science and sociology. Hunter has been an a philanthropist since attending college. He was President of Theta Chi Fraternity where he lead efforts to raise money and volunteers for the local Humane Society. Hunter was also honored to be named Best and Brightest in 2015 by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation after raising funds and spreading awareness about Cystic Fibrosis in the low country of South Carolina. In 2018 Hunter served as President of Carolina Proud. The LGBT Employment Resource Business Group for PNC Bank.