New Board Members + Rejuvenation

Hello friends of the Winston-Salem Ambassadors! It’s President Mackenzie Cates-Allen here. Happy almost Spring of 2023.

Much like the flowers and trees, we too are coming back to life after an extended hit that we took due to the worldwide pandemic.

We are STILL HERE! And Board Chair Dale Cole and I are so excited to welcome two new Board Members, Saul Navarro and Nicole Royer.

Saul learned to art of rug-making during Covid, piecing together the process of learning, and turned it into a business.

“I am Saul Navarro, and as founder of Red Thread I believe that everyone deserves a way to show their own individual personalities. I created Red Thread as a way for every person I meet to be able to display their own uniqueness and eclectic personalities with our custom heirloom rugs.

Our slogan: “Where Personality Shines” Greatly embodies our mission to display local creatives and creators and showcase their personalities within the community; starting with Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and extending to the Piedmont Triad area.

With our Handmade textiles we hope to be a true beacon for all.”


Nicole Royer, owner of The Great Idea People, Innovation Revolution, and Connect Your Board has helped over 500 business owners achieve success with their company through coaching, masterminds, accelerators, and online courses.

She was featured in Stu Heinecke’s best-selling book “Get the Meeting.” She attended Walden University for business and organizational psychology and continuously autodidacts by learning from innovators worldwide. Her work has been featured in Business Insider, The Startup, and Multiplier Magazine.

Nicole frequently works with universities, municipalities, and organizations to overcome challenges with innovation and startup processes in community- and corporate-focused projects. Currently, she is located near Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she lives with her fiance and their children.

WELCOME Nicole and Saul! As a nonprofit, we cannot do anything without our community members and we are so incredibly grateful.

Advisory Committee

We are also very excited to have the Advisory Committee up and running! The AC is basically the “board lite” as I call it. You are still able to help contribute to the running of the overall organization, without the full-on commitment to being on the Board of Directors.

You *are* required to still sign an NDA and the Inclusivity Agreement, but you don’t have to attend every meeting. Only those that you can!

We’d love to have you! Check here for more information, or as always, please feel free to email me at


Become an Ambassador, check out the Ambassadorship Program Guidelines here and if you’re interested… fill out the AmbassadorSHIP Application and email to apply! We can’t wait to have you with us!

“You must agree to abide by the code of conduct/ethics, Inclusivity Agreement, Nondisclosure/Confidentiality Agreement and our Mission, Vision, Values.”

-Types of Ambassador Roles-

  2. IN-Person
  3. Honorary

Kinds of In-Person Ambassador Jobs-

Tours (VIP; Driving, Walking)

Coffee Conversations and One-on-One Meetings

Presentations, Lectures, Sessions

Assistance at Events

Answering Questions/Representing WS when Conventions are in Town

Attending Meetings on behalf of the Ambassadors

Want to be an Ambassador? Go here!


We are so excited to still be here serving the citizens of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Can’t wait to have you join us!

Dale Cole Joins the Board

WE are excited to welcome Dale Cole to the Board of Directors!

Dale Cole has over 35 years in the HVAC industry. He is currently employed by the State of North Carolina as an HVAC tech on the UNCG campus. Dale has used his time in the industry to cultivate a network of local business owners and civic leaders.

Dale’s family has called the piedmont area home for generations. His grandfather was a tobacco farmer . His father and several other family members retired from RJ Reynolds tobacco company.

Dale is a third generation musician . His grandfather , father and uncles formed the Cole family band in the late 1930s and performed in Forsyth and surrounding counties into the 1940s. Dale taught his son to play guitar and is in the process of passing the legacy down to his grandchildren.

Dale along with his friend Jon Epstein created to FaceBook group Foothills Area Musicians . This group boasts a membership of almost 800 local musicians. The group holds fundraisers throughout the year for several local charitable organizations.

Cole also along with Rick Gustaitis formed the Camel City Revelators.

With Covid putting an end to social gatherings . Dale with the help of Gabriel Higgins, Tommy Priest, and Danielle Bull formed The Virtual Village. They quickly recruited others from the WS business community and set out to raise money for the areas service industry displaced by the Corona virus. At the end of 2020 the Virtual Village connected with HOPE of WS and will work exclusively with HOPE to help feed the hungry children of our community .

Dale will bring his organizational skills and vast network of local musicians and business owners to The WS Ambassadors.

Welcome Orientation – Fall 2019

Welcome to WS Orientation

Fall 2019


Sept. 24, 2019 – Mackenzie Cates-Allen, President & Chief Ambassador of the Winston-Salem Ambassadors, announces the Fall 2019 ‘Welcome to Winston-Salem Orientation,’ which will be held October 9, 2019 at Wake Forest University’s Farrell Hall in Broyhill Auditorium from 5:30-7pm.


This event is free, but an RSVP is requested at This event aims to educate and inspire and will cover the history of Salem, the history of Winston, their merger and the Downtown story. Also covered will be elected officials, neighborhoods, schools, colleges and universities, fun things to do and see and more. Guest speakers include Jason Thiel, President of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and Shalisha Morgan of the Geek in Heels.


This will be the 5th Orientation the Winston-Salem Ambassadors have held. With a mission to increase awareness of Winston-Salem AND to make people feel welcome, the Winston-Salem Ambassadors are entering their 3rd year.


For more information, please go to or email


great orientation photo

Carolina’s Best Supporting Community

The Winston-Salem Ambassadors is an investment (donation) based nonprofit. We are so proud to work together to promote LOCAL businesses doing great work.

Carolinas Best Roofing Inc is a full service Roofing company specializing in replacements and repairs for residential and commercial properties. We also do interior work like sheetrock, painting, flooring, and exterior work ie siding, windows, and gutters.

“We are different from other companies because we do mostly insurance based Roofing due to hail or wind damage. We provide our clients/homeowners the value of peace of mind by project managing their installation from the initial inspection, meeting with insurance adjuster, handling all paperwork and conversations with insurance carrier, up to the point of final installation.”

“We decided to” invest in “the Winston Salem Ambassadors and be a part of Second Saturdays to basically expand, to help us extend ourselves and our company’s culture of helping homeowners in our local community.”

CBR will be at ALL of the Second Saturdays events and the Ambassadors thank them for their investment into making community happen!

cbr collage

“Local Tech Startup Launches SWIPE.BY App, Helping Restaurants Compete in the Digital World”

As written and released by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce’s Ethanie Good, published May 24, 2019. Original HERE.

“On Thursday morning we will celebrate innovation in Winston-Salem with the launch of SWIPE.BY, a new app available on Android and iOS, that brings the convenience of curbside service to many local Winston-Salem restaurants. Users place an order online, drive to the restaurant and a server brings their food right to their car.

SWIPE.BY Ribbon Cutting at The Loop, Thruway Shopping Center
Thursday, May 30 | 11:30am

SWIPE.BY was founded by Carl Turner, who came from Berlin, Germany to Winston-Salem in 2013 to study at Wake Forest University. He founded the company in 2017 right after graduation. Turner says, “Third-party food delivery in suburban markets like Winston-Salem can be expensive to the user and can result in long wait times and cold food – dissatisfying experiences which can translate into complaints to the restaurant. Considering the high revenue shares to these delivery platforms, we knew there had to be a better solution for restaurants.” SWIPE.BY charges the restaurant a lower fee and the customer nothing (no fees, no subscription).

carl turner

SWIPE.BY is a product of a growing supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Winston-Salem. Carl graduated with a minor in Entrepreneurship from Wake Forest, then joined Flywheel and the Winston Salem Chamber to get initial support and networking. SWIPE.BY is now one of the first cohort companies out of the Winston Starts incubator.

Steve Lineberger, president of Winston Starts says “The entire Winston Starts family is very excited for SWIPE.BY and Carl Turner. Startup activity is definitely on the rise in Winston-Salem and SWIPE.BY is a wonderful example of a promising homegrown tech company founded by a bright young entrepreneur.”

“Winston-Salem has been very supportive and contributed a lot to our success.” Turner says. “It’s incredible how the ecosystem comes together to support us founders. I further think the city is underestimated as a launch place for consumer tech – we have a dense downtown and a broad suburban area, we have big companies and many smaller local businesses – it’s great to test and get started here”.

Peter Marsh, founding partner at Flywheel says “Today is a big day not only for SWIPE.BY, but also for the startup community in the Triad. This is a real value-add for local restaurants, extending their customer reach and experience. Carl is a tenacious entrepreneur with a dedicated team. Wake Forest referred him to us at Flywheel and we were able to help him refine his business model and connect him with investors. SWIPE.BY graduated from coaching at Flywheel to acceptance into Winston Starts, proving the power of our ecosystem.”

The Loop, one of SWIPE.BY’s participating restaurants, is offering 25% off all entrees after the ribbon cutting. Mike Targett, owner of The Loop says “SWIPE.BY adds another avenue of convenience and service to our guests while maintaining control on our side. We stay in charge from making the food to bringing it to the guest.


SWIPE.BY is a startup founded in Winston Salem, NC, by a Wake Forest University graduate. SWIPE BY is available as an iOS and Android app and allows a user to place a Curbside Service or In-Store Pick-Up order at many local restaurants. SWIPE.BY also offers a more visual approach to food ordering allowing a customer to swipe through a picture-based menu of local restaurants, filtering for distance, price, cuisine, etc. SWIPE.BY is part of the Winston Starts incubator and is planning on expanding nationally after a successful launch in its home market of Winston-Salem.

The Winston-Salem Ambassadors offer a heartfelt and excited CONGRATULATIONS to SWIPE.BY!

NYC Initial Thoughts

New York City.

What a city. What a vast amount of all the things. All the people. All the buildings. All the businesses. All the streets. All the subways, entrances, lines, stops. What opportunity.

Specialization of every kind. When you have 1.5 million people living in 34 square miles things get real interesting. This go-round I stayed in an AirBnb in the Village. I enjoyed it as I hadn’t stayed there before.

It was rather a whirlwind trip. Went up Monday, came home Wednesday. I was there to do some very specific things, which I did.

My main takeaways were, 1) NYC is a super fun place to visit. I would not want to live there. 2) NO ONE does hospitality like the south, and in particular, like Winston-Salem. 3) We can do better.

Here are some cultural aspects that I enjoy about NYC: 1) people from everywhere. 2) Walking/public transportation is for EVERYONE. On the subway, I saw homeless people, moms/parents/family with kids all the way through businesspeople in very expensive suits. 3) Specialization- within 1 mile of where I was staying, there was a Pomme Frites (fries) only store, a mac n cheese shop, an organic smoothie shop, (in our building) there was a shop that specialized in oatmeal only things and right down the block was an Insomnia Cookies which was DELICIOUS and delivers you warm, fresh cookies until 3 o clock in the morning. Of course every one of these places was small. Holes in wall, most of them. 4) Mix of Small/Large – in the Village it was mostly cool, small stores like mentioned above, but there were also CVS pharmacies and Starbucks’ around the corner. 5) Tourism is a big. Deal.

  1. A) PTI is a treasure. After dealing with the nightmare that is La Guardia, I fell even more in love with our airport.
  2. B) Travel is good for you. Getting some distance and seeing how other places do things makes you appreciate your own home more.

More to come.

❤ Mackenzie

WS Ambassadors President to Chair NWCDC Board

CONTACT: April Broadway

Executive Director, NWCDC

Winston-Salem, NC

(336) 721-1215

Press Release
for Immediate Release


February 20, 2019 – The NWCDC Board of Directors has unanimously voted Mackenzie Cates-Allen, President of Winston-Salem Ambassadors, to the position of Board Chair. A tax-exempt organization (EIN56-0994730), Northwest Child Development Centers, also known as NWCDC and MudPies, serves children in Forsyth, Stokes and Davie Counties. In existence since 1970, NWCDC has served thousands of children and their families. “I am honored to be able to serve this amazing nonprofit in any capacity that I am able to,” Cates-Allen says. Over the last 12 years, NWCDC has seen many changes. “This wonderful nonprofit was created to serve those who need it most. Due to previous management decisions, we pulled out of the places where we may have been needed most.”

Due to shifting funding sources, including the lack of funding by the counties and governments, NWCDC has had to examine everything from the running of their childcare centers and the overall mission, very closely. “The remaining Board and dedicated staff feel very strongly that we fulfill a desperately needed place in the community,” Cates-Allen explains, “and we will continue to provide child care to the best of our abilities.” Cates-Allen feels however, that they need to make a stronger push for universal Pre-K and access to affordable childcare for any and all who need it.

“This is an absolutely critical time for our organization.” She has extended an urgent call for members of the community to serve on the Board of Directors. “If we do not have community, business and county support, our organization will not be able to continue.” NWCDC is accepting applications to join the Board of Directors and urges the community to assist in any way possible, through volunteering, donations and awareness. “We have a center in downtown Winston-Salem that we will be focusing on fundraising for.” She concludes. “Once MudPies Coliseum is up and running, we can focus on access for all.” NWCDC hope to raise a minimum of $30,00 over the next year.

For more information, please contact April Broadway at (336) 721-1215 or at You can reach Mackenzie Cates-Allen at or (336) 794-6050. MudPies has two centers in operation, MudPies King and MudPies Mocksville.


If you’re like me, you love a good survey.  HAHA! Even if you’re not, take a few moments to fill out this survey for us!

IF you are NOT from here, please fill out THIS FORM. Folks, this is especially critical. Let’s get opinions from folks who don’t know us!!

If you HAVE heard of us/from here/from nearby fill out THIS FORM

It is our job to welcome all but it also our job (and privilege) to KNOW as much as possible about our city. Every response will help! THANK YOU in advance!


NYC + WS ?

What does New York City have to do with Winston-Salem?

For one, of course, we have the Empire State Building and the Reynolds Building.

nyc and ws togev

“The Reynolds Building was constructed in 1929 by Shreve and Lamb, who would design the Empire State Building a few years later based on the same plans. The iconic shape of the two buildings is the same, though the Empire State Building has 102 floors whereas the Reynolds Building has 22. For nearly a century, the Reynolds Building was the home office for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The Reynolds Building was named “Building of the Year” by the National Association of Architects, won the 1984 Art Deco Society of New York award for best restoration and was the tallest building in the South for 35 years. In 2016, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant opened The Cardinal Hotel on the lower six floors below the luxury apartments above.” – Visit NC

For ME personally, New York City was the iconic city of a hundred movies and TV shows. We learned about Ellis Island in school. It was mythical. I had had a desire to visit it for years and in 2010, I decided to go. No one was available to go with me, so I said, heck, I’ll go by myself. That trip was life-changing.

I did all the things, The Museum of Natural History, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, etc. I loved it, loved the energy of the “city.” But I stayed a nonprofit Hostel (HI-NYC) in Upper West Side, where it is very residential. So I was able to relax in a safe environment, away from the hustle and bustle and grind of the City That Never Sleeps. (It does, in fact, sleep.)

The dichotomy of the two places was fascinating. It is indeed an ENORMOUS tourist destination, but for millions of people, it’s also home. They live there, eat there, hang out there, all the things that we do where we live. I thoroughly enjoy NYC and have been back several times. I find it inspirational in that I can take what I see and learn from there and bring it home to North Carolina.

There is one item, in particular, that I think we can draw inspiration from. Last year, we had over 1.8 million visitors to Forsyth County. (Yes, million!) With almost $900 million dollars in revenue from those visitors. What I seek to do now is go BACK to NYC, do some practical/in person research and bring. it. home. After all, if one of the world’s most iconic buildings was started here, I’m sure they won’t mind!

I think it is imperative that we constantly learn, grow and evolve. To keep our city competitive in this ever-growing world, it’s going to take innovation on the part of all of us.

This crazy idea called the Winston-Salem Ambassadors is now entering it’s 3rd year and we are going strong. So far, my crazy ideas have panned out. Stick with me for the ride: it’s gonna get crazy fun.


I will be GOING to NYC in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to bring back the energy from the Big Apple and fuse it with our own! Winston-Salem, after all, is awesome.

Much Love, my Twin City family!


#TwinCityConnections – Shakira Bethea



1) What’s your name? Where are you from?
I’m Shakira B. Bethea, feel free to call me Shakira! I grew up right here in Winston-Salem and most of my family still lives here. I went to East Forsyth and then traveled down the highway to UNC-Chapel Hill for undergraduate studies. I lived in the Triangle for 9 years and moved back to Winston Salem three years ago. I gathered a lot of knowledge in the Durham area that has led me to become an entrepreneur and create accessible avenues for many to enjoy the benefits of healing through movement and journaling practices.

2) What do you do with most of your time? What’s your passion?
I usually spend my time practicing and teaching vinyasa and aerial yoga, experiencing live music, savoring chocolate, hanging out with friends and family or enjoying a hike in the mountains. I also love to journal and use my creativity to connect with others. I’ve been dabbling in rock climbing and bouldering, which has helped me open up to different ways of exercise. I’m passionate about community and forward progression to make it thrive, and educating both youth and adults around self care, self love and creating more compassion within our community.
3) Why do you live and/or work in WS?
I live in Winston-Salem because my family is here and I missed them while living in the Triangle. I actually moved back 11 months before the passing of one of my grandfathers that helped me realize the strong connection I have to my family. This city is progressing and I want to be a part of that progression to include all voices that often go unheard and unseen. I chose to move my business here to increase awareness around the importance of self care and healing. When we are able to heal ourselves we spread more love to those around us and create a ripple effect within the community and form a sense of togetherness.

4) What do you love most about WS?
I love the music scene the most. I know that, just about any day of the week, I can find live music that gets me dancing and lifts my spirits. I also love how close we are to the mountains. I was born in the mountains and have always felt connected to them. I am grateful to be 30 minutes from hiking, breathtaking views and peaceful places.


5) Why do you want to be an Ambassador?
Through being an ambassador I know that I would be able to reach more people and create space for them to open up about what they want to see and where to find it. This opportunity allows me to get out into the community, build more relationships and be a shining light in someones life. If you may be thinking about leaving this beautiful city, just let me talk to you first! 🙂 This program brings a connection of community to the history of the city and where we are going. We are here to create the new history of this city and birth a more inclusive experience for all.