New nonprofit executive director is High Point’s top cheerleader
HIGH POINT, NC (WGHP) — You could call Amber Williamson a professional cheerleader.
She does not support a sports team. She applauds the third largest city of the Piedmont Triad.
And she’s not shouting or wearing a uniform or waving pom poms.
She communicates through virtual and print media as well as one-on-one meetings.
“So I’m the High Point cheerleader,” she told me during a recent one-on-one meeting. “(I) find ways to make us shine even brighter than we do right now.”
And you can list many ways that High Point “shines brighter” these days.
From all the building and excitement surrounding his alma mater, High Point University, to the new baseball stadium and all the activity around it downtown, to one of the biggest children’s museums in the Southeast, High Point is finally emerging from its reputation as a sleepy, mostly manufacturing town whose downtown bustles twice a year for the furniture market.
And Williamson is spreading the word.
Since early August, she has been executive director of High Point Discovered. As the name suggests, its purpose is to help people “discover” the city through the stories of interesting places and people.
It accomplishes this through a website, a strong social media presence, and a nifty magazine slated for publication every year.
In many ways, it’s hard to imagine that Williamson grew up in nearby Greensboro. She was the only daughter among four brothers. The family did not travel to High Point often.
“We used to go to the old Oak Hollow Mall on occasion and go like Steve & Barry’s (a clothing retail chain that went out of business in 2009),” she said. “But it was really kind of a community-limited exposure.”
That changed in 2011 when she started attending High Point University. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications in 2014 and a Masters in Strategic Communications in 2016.
Unlike many graduates from fine universities in the Piedmont Triad, Williamson decided to stay after graduation.
“I saw it as a place where there was room for me to be here,” she told me. “It was a place where I could put down roots and make a difference.”
She started making that difference as a communications consultant for The Foundation for a Healthy High Point. This would lead to a five-year journey with Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce where she became Director of Leadership and Program Development.
“When I started, it was just when we started pushing for the new stadium (Truist Point Stadium), and I was involved in creating the communications for the bond package,” he said. she stated. “But I was also involved in the rebranding of Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce.”
Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce was born in 2015 from the merger of the Chamber of Commerce and the private economic development group High Point Partners.
His experience with Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce helped develop an appreciation for the city and, more importantly, its people.
“On a daily basis, I came into contact with inspiring people who, every day, are committed to bringing change to their community in one way or another,” she said. “Whether it’s launching programs to support food insecurity or mothers who may need help.”
In fact, telling these “people stories” is one of High Point Discovered’s core missions, and Williamson was the perfect fit.
You can find these stories all over the High Point Discovered media which features stories about – among many others – those who run the affordable housing program to the high school principal who out of love tries to keep students focused on studies.
But in her new job, she also wants everyone to know that there are plenty of “fun” things to do in High Point. And that includes the city’s restaurant scene, which Williamson says is underrated.
It’s one of the reasons she started the High Point Food Mob Facebook page to help support local food establishments.
It’s also one of the reasons she and I met for lunch at the brand new Stock and Grain Assembly Food Hall in town. It has 12,000 square feet of restaurants and take-out counters offering every type of food imaginable.
I haven’t found anything like it in the Piedmont Triad.
“What I love is that it’s a crucible,” she told me. “People can buy hot dogs or sushi,” she said. “And so everyone’s just here breaking bread at the same time.”
And she has a message for those who still think High Point is the same town it was 10 years ago.
“High Point is a real boom town,” she said. “You have to come and take a look at what we have and how. I feel safe at High Point. I feel loved at High Point. And I feel an energy at High Point that is felt nowhere else in the Triad.
Sounds like a professional cheerleader to me!
For more information about High Point Discovered and how you can get a copy of “High Point Discovered: The Magazine,” see the nonprofit organization’s website.
At the bottom of the homepage you will find links to High Point Discovered’s social media pages.
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