Chesterfield leader makes mark to help small businesses thrive: ‘That’s where we serve’

For years, Danielle Fitz-Hugh has been working in communities across Central Virginia to help small business owners
For years, Danielle Fitz-Hugh has been working in communities across Central Virginia to help small business owners.
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 12:28 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Inside the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Danielle Fitz-Hugh works to help small businesses throughout the county thrive.

“I always take the step of how can I help,” said Fitz-Hugh.

Fitz-Hugh said her career path started by sheer accident while volunteering for the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“I was a member, just like my members,” she said. “I was a young, business professional growing my talent, growing my experience and I needed to meet other business people.”

Fitz-Hugh’s volunteer work with the chamber grew into another role.

“I came on to handle events and events services for the Charlottesville chamber and it was exciting,” she said.

In 2011, Fitz-Hugh took on the role of president of the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

“We grew our membership, we grew our programs,” said Fitz-Hugh. “We did some community, quality of life programming there.”

In 2017, Fitz-Hugh became the president and CEO of the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce with a goal to grow membership and help small businesses, especially during the pandemic.

“We had business leaders come together and go where were the gaps. Our goal is to grow business and we did that through a DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) lens,” she said. “We spent countless hours on the phone helping small business figure out how to stay open, how to generate income and reach their target market and audience.”

This is the work Fitz-Hugh said drives her along with the success stories.

“The first $10,000 contract that they might get with a locality, that is the beginning of the win and that’s what thrives me, it drives me every day,” she said.

A passion Fitz-Hugh said motivates her to continue the work.

“There’s a role and a place that we as leaders, we as minority leaders, that we have to make sure we’re reaching back and pulling others along and that if there is an opportunity to mentor people, we’re doing that and not just looking out for ourselves,” said Fitz-Hugh.