Leaders with vision: Natalie J. Osterman
The Bluffton Chamber’s new CEO has a vision for the future and for even greater things ahead in Bluffton.
By Ellen Linnemann
For nearly a decade Natalie Osterman has been serving as an advocate and visionary for local businesses throughout South Carolina and Kentucky. Long passionate about the chamber industry, she has served in key roles at the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce, the Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce and the Christian County Chamber of Commerce – helping businesses succeed in an ever-changing economy. Today, as chief executive officer of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, Natalie brings her passion for helping local businesses succeed to the Lowcountry. She spearheads the Chamber’s mission to be the ”voice” of local businesses and provide them with valuable resources and opportunities – while serving as a visionary in creating ways to make businesses in the Greater Bluffton area even greater.
CEO since April 2022, Natalie already created the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Inaugural Women in Business Awards Luncheon – bringing together over 100 women and men to connect, support, develop and empower women in the Lowcountry. The event, which honored Bluffton restaurateur/businesswoman Leslie Rohland as the first award recipient, was a major success – bringing Natalie’s vision for this event to life and setting the stage for more local business-building events on the horizon.
“Each year we begin with our business awards gala, the Golden Oyster Awards, to honor those businesses and individuals who made substantial contributions to the greater Bluffton community over the past year,” said Natalie. “In addition we’re bringing back the Bluffton Business Expo to further connect businesses to businesses and consumers to businesses as well as furthering our women’s initiatives, planning some exciting round-table industry discussions and working on the second publication of our member directory and community guide.”
With her passion for connecting businesses with both individuals and businesses that can help them flourish and continue to succeed, Natalie brings an exciting spark to the Chamber and to businesses throughout the region. A true visionary for the Greater Bluffton Chamber’s future, Natalie also points to how the Chamber has evolved and grown since it was first founded in 2012 – as well as some of the challenges the Chamber faced along the way.
“Since the creation of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce more than a decade ago, there have been some ups and downs, as there are in every chamber,” she said, noting a series of events that created some pauses in momentum, leadership changes and the impact of Covid on businesses and the organization. “Past leadership did a phenomenal job of laying the groundwork and creating a business organization that was needed and wanted by businesses in our community. Ten years later the Chamber is led by individuals who have a strong passion for not only helping our local businesses succeed, but also helping the Chamber to succeed. With a strong, committed team in place, we are eager to show the community why it is so important to have a Chamber devoted to the Greater Bluffton community.
“In the next five years I see a tremendous amount of growth for both the Chamber and our businesses, I envision membership increasing by more than 200 percent,” said Natalie, who notes that her most influential mentor has been Marian Mason, a Chamber CEO at the first Chamber she worked at more than 10 years ago. “In addition, my goal is to continue to make the Greater Bluffton Chamber not only a trusted business resource for businesses but also to the community with value-added programs and events to help everyone thrive and succeed.”
1. The world revolves around connections — it’s not just about who you know, it’s also about who knows you.
2. Surround yourself with brilliant individuals.
3. Dream big, take chances, shoot for the stars, but don’t be afraid to fail.