Fri. Dec 1st, 2023
Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, stands in front of a vintage Cape Cod map outside her office at the chamber's headquarters off Route 6 in Centerville. Northcross announced her retirement Monday after 24 years at the chamber's helm.

CENTERVILLE — When Wendy Northcross arrived at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce offices in April of 1997 to begin what had been promised as a one-year term as interim executive director, she found what she called “a very tired chamber.”

Northcross was fresh off a one-year stint setting up Coastal Community Capital, a community development lender, when the county asked her to take the helm of the chamber as it merged with the Barnstable County Economic Development Council.

“They said ‘Wendy, it’s just a year. Just keep the lights on,” said Northcross, 66, who announced her retirement Monday after 24 years as the chamber’s CEO. 

The organization was mired in debt. There were holes in the floor. A bulky photocopier stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by desks and dated office furniture.

“The staff was demoralized because the executive director had been under fire for a couple of years,” Northcross recalled.

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