About Nancy


McFarlane FamilyNancy was born in our nation’s capital, and grew up in nearby Arlington, Virginia. She met her husband Ron at the Medical College of Virginia while they were both pursuing degrees in pharmacy. They married in 1980, and have called Raleigh home for nearly 30 years. Nancy and Ron raised three children in Raleigh, all of whom attended Wake County Public Schools and UNC-system universities. Nancy’s parents, Jean Pletcher and her late husband Ralph, also made their home in north Raleigh for over 25 years.


As a high school student with an aptitude for science, Nancy was stunned when she encountered the gender-biased comments accompanying her results on an aptitude test: “If the taker of this test is male, he should be a surgeon, a physician, an attorney, or an architect; if the taker of this test is female, she should be a nurse, a surgical assistant or a teacher.” These comments drove Nancy to prove herself by earning a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Pharmacy at the Medical College of Virginia.

Nancy has worked as a drug store pharmacist, and spent 15 years as a pharmacist at Raleigh Community Hospital while raising her family. Nancy has always been dedicated to the health care field, and embodies the inherent values of accessibility and trustworthiness that are true to the profession of pharmacy.

In 2010, Nancy received a Distinguished Pharmacy Alumni Award from Virginia Commonwealth University for notable contributions to the profession. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Pharmacy Foundation of NC at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Community Involvement

Dedication to Improving Public Education

DSCF1378Wake County Schools have also benefited from Nancy’s involvement during the past 20 years. Nancy has hands-on experience working with teachers in her childrens’ classrooms as a tutor, chaperone and available resource. She has demonstrated her commitment to all Wake County children and the school system by serving in various roles:

Nancy’s Odyssey of the Mind team with Gov. Jim Hunt

  • North Area Vice President of the Wake County PTA Council
  • PTA Vice President at Durant Middle School
  • PTA board member at Lead Mine Elementary School
  • Grounds Chair when Lead Mine Elementary School first opened, she coordinated the community effort behind securing plants, trees, picnic tables and playground equipment for the new school campus.
  • President of Ligon Arts Boosters
  • Sanderson Area Advisory Council member
  • Coach and program coordinator for Odyssey of the Mind, an after-school program that promotes critical thinking and inventiveness
  • As a City Councilor she serves as the official liaison to the WCPSS

Neighborhood Leadership

4th of July ParadeThe entire Triangle community has been positively impacted by Nancy’s desire to help others. In her role as president of the Greystone Homeowners Association from 2003 to 2007, Nancy fought to maintain the integrity of the lakes in the Crabtree Watershed. She organized friends and neighbors to combat storm water runoff and protect the watershed from runoff contamination related to several Strickland Road area development projects.

Nancy and our city council then worked to build fences for these dogs and replace the chains by teaming up with the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, a non-profit volunteer organization with the mission of improving the welfare of dogs that are continuously chained outdoors,  The coalition is made possible by citizens like you who have donated time and money to establish and maintain the program.

  • Click here for a description of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs
  • Click here to view a film that explains the process for establishing the dog tethering ordinance

Environmental Stewardship

Nancy with Erin Brockovich

Nancy also established the Water Utility Transition Advisory Commission (WUTAC) to help Raleigh create a long-range water resource plan by analyzing our current consumption-based utility system, conservation efforts, current and future usage as well as cost analysis.

“Long before Nancy McFarlane was a city council member, she was a champion for her community in North Raleigh…. I was inspired by her work on sediment pollution, which according to EPA is the single largest source of impairment to our nation’s waters. As a result, I created the Muddy Water Watch Project (a spin-off of the Get the Dirt Out) in NC—a citizen training program to monitor construction activity– which was praised by EPA in their July 2008 national news letter.”
– Dean Naujoks, current Yadkin Riverkeeper and former Neuse River Keeper for 7 years.

As a member of the North Carolina Conservation Council and the Sierra Club, Nancy maintains her commitment to protecting to the environment and Raleigh’s quality of life. Click here for more information on Nancy’s environmental accomplishments during her time as mayor.

Business Expertise

Read more about her business experience here.

As a small business owner, Nancy has a firsthand understanding of what it takes to make Raleigh a business-friendly city. Her business success and acumen have been important in shaping her leadership style as a competent and efficient consensus builder. Her honors include:

  • Being named one of the Top Women in Business in 2009 and 2010 by Triangle Business Journal.
  • Becoming a 2008 recipient of Women Extraordinaire, an award that recognizes women business leaders who are innovators, problem-solvers and inspirations to other women.
  • Being named a 2008 Impact Women Business Owner
  • Being named one of the Triangle’s top entrepreneurs in 2013 by Business Leader Magazine

Nancy has always maintained a dedicated focus on small business growth and development. As a small business owner, Nancy understands what it takes to create new jobs by encouraging and streamlining the process for establishing a small business. Nancy’s advocacy on behalf of local small businesses matriculated into a Small Business Initiative, which Nancy proposed to Raleigh City Council during the summer of 2011. This initiative calls for a single-point-of-contact permitting process to make the process of opening a small business in the city as accessible, simplified and hassle-free as possible. On September 6, 2011, Nancy’s Small Business Initiative passed with a unanimous vote from the entire the Council.

Nancy McFarlane for Mayor 2015