Top Three Reasons to Attend ACCE’s Annual Conference

Henry Florsheim, President & CEO, Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce (Texas) on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 12:00:00 am 

With so many demands on our time and our money, we have to constantly justify where we invest our resources. Having worked in the Chamber business for nine years and in economic development for nearly twenty, I’ve realized that ACCE’s annual gathering is my favorite conference of them all, for three reasons.

First, the speakers and programs are top-notch. ACCE does a good job each year tackling the most current and toughest issues we face as Chambers. Whether your biggest challenge is increasing dues revenue, building the right team or retaining the members you’ve got, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to improve your organization. On top of that, you just might catch Casey Steinbacher talking about how we create collisions, or learn Molly Fletcher’s inspirational story or hear the Des Moines chorus singing about how us Texas Chamber execs can’t stop waving our flags. I always return home with way more ideas than I can implement, and the hardest thing to do is to figure out what NOT to take on next.

Second, the peer networking with colleagues and friends from around the world is the best I’ve ever experienced. If you’ve been through Chamber Institute, WACE or any programs like those around the country, ACCE will feel like a reunion. In the months leading up to Long Beach, the emails and texts have begun to fly, with everyone comparing arrival times and planning the location of that first drink. My Chamber world is one big mostly-happy family, and I can’t wait to see everyone again.

Finally, the host communities always give a great lesson on how to develop a city, and Long Beach should be no exception. Savannah showed us how the historic and modern aspects of a city can thrive together.  Nashville was a non-stop music festival everywhere you went, intent on balancing history and down-home culture with nearly overwhelming growth.  And Des Moines was the biggest surprise of them all. Jay Byers and his team are doing some amazing things, and I’ve been looking for a reason to go back ever since. Maybe to get another Zombie Burger. 

Can somebody bring one to Long Beach?


Tags: #ACCE19, Annual Convention

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Celebrating Communications Excellence

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 2:45:00 pm 

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives today announced winners of its Communications Excellence awards program.

Last week, six marketing and communications leaders from Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee gathered at #ACCEHQ to carefully review more than 160 award submissions. We thank our judges for joining us in Alexandria, Virginia, and lending us their eyes and expertise for this year's competition: Jeremy Henderson (Chattanooga Chamber); Joe Pellman (Indy Chamber); Jennifer Gerlock (Frederick County Chamber of Commerce); Mia Jankowiak (Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce); Kyle Oppenhuizen (Greater Des Moines Partnership) and Alesha Henley (St. Louis Regional Chamber).

These entries highlight some of the freshest and most innovative marketing and communications work coming from ACCE member organizations of all types and sizes.

Each submission was organized by type — advertising and marketing, campaigns, digital and publications — and by the submitting organization’s total annual budget range: under $1 million, $1 to $3 million and above $3 million.

In addition to awards listed below, three “Best in Show” awards will be presented at the 2019 Annual Convention in Long Beach, California. Learn more about the Awards for Communications Excellence here.

Grand Awards

These award winners represent the finest entries in each entry category in each of the three total annual budget categories. Winners of the Grand Award go on to compete for the Best in Show, which recognizes the best piece in each of the three categories. 

Advertising and Marketing

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce
Champaign, Illinois
Dr. Rogers' Neighborhood: Photo 1, 2, 3, 4 | Facebook Invite

Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce
Huntsville, Alabama
Second Chance Job Fair: Flyer | Handout


Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce
Bentonville, Arkansas
BecauseBentonville Campaign

Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Electric Works Campaign: Regional Video | Website | Advocacy Brief


Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce
Dalton, Georgia
"When You're in D-Town" 

Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
Lincoln, Nebraska
"Lincoln, We Chose It" Video

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Kansas City, Missouri
A New Website for the KC Chamber:


Mason Deerfield Chamber
Mason, Ohio
Mason Deerfield Chamber's New Member Packet

Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce
Eugene, Oregon
Open For Business Magazine Rebrand

Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
Irving, Texas
2018 Irving-Las Colinas Chamber Annual Report


Awards of Excellence

A limited number of Awards of Excellence are presented; winners are selected from submissions of each entry type, from each category. Their work represent communications excellence in the chamber profession

Advertising and Marketing

Greenville Chamber
Greenville, South Carolina
Marketing Materials

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky
Business Spotlight


Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Buffalo, New York
Adaptive Reuse Campaign

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
2019-2022 City Budget Campaign

Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
Fort Collins, Colorado
Bringing Business Home Campaign

Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce (dba: Greater Gainesville Chamber)
Gainesville, Florida
Rebranding Florida's Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce

Goshen Chamber of Commerce
Goshen, Indiana
Design & Brand Touchpoints

Greater Green Bay Chamber
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Startup Hub Launch

Loudon County Chamber of Commerce
Leesburg, Virginia
50th Anniversary Rebranding Campaign

One Acadiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Regional Celebration

Salt Lake Chamber
Salt Lake City, Utah
Housing GAP Coalition Campaign

Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Springfield, Missouri
Yes for OTC - Yes on A & B Advocacy Campaign to Pass Property Tax Renewal and Increase Proposals

The Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce (dba: The Chamber)
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Rebranding the Chamber



Aiken Chamber of Commerce 
Aiken, South Carolina
Geofence Targets D.C. Market

Association of Washington Business
Olympia, Washington
AWB News/AWB Amplified

Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga Works

Community Development Foundation
Tupelo, Mississippi
Ignitecast - The Official Podcast of the Ignite Leadership Conference by CDF

Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce
Eugene, Oregon
Bold Leadership 2019 - Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce

Goshen Chamber of Commerce
Goshen, Indiana
Walk and Talk with the Chamber FB Live Weekly Series

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Create Great - GR Chamber Year in Review

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Boston, Massachusetts
City Awake Website

Greater Des Moines Partnership
Des Moines, Iowa
"I'm Up" Music Video

Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Digital Marketing Strategy

Greater Houston Partnership
Houston, Texas
A Redesigned

Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce
New Braunfels, Texas
Success Flows Here: Feature Film Highlighting Chamber's 100th Anniversary

Greenville Chamber
Greenville, South Carolina
Online Tier Selector

Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce
Holland, Michigan
Digital Transformation: New Member Journey

One Acadiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Aligned for Impact Video Series - One Acadiana

St. Louis Regional Chamber
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis Regional Chamber: Making Social Media Trends

Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce
New Bremen, Ohio
Our Community

Tulsa Regional Chamber
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa Creativity Database



Bossier Chamber of Commerce
Bossier City, Louisiana
Bossier Annual Manual

Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Annual Report

Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Buffalo, New York
2019 Advocacy Agenda

Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Atlanta, Georgia
New Georgia Economy Book

Greater Des Moines Partnership
Des Moines, Iowa
Quarterly Board Reports

Mason Deerfield Chamber
Mason, Ohio
Mason Deerfield Chamber's 2018-19 Community Profile & Relocation Guide

Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville 2018 Regional Economic Development Guide

Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce
Rogers, Arkansas
The Good Life Destination Guide

Salt Lake Chamber
Salt Lake, Utah
Utah's Growth: Today's Actions Create Tomorrow's Future

Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Springfield, Missouri
Community Leadership Visit Report 2018: Chattanooga, TN



Tags: Marketing, #ACCEAwards, ACE, ACE Awards, Awards, Awards for Communications Excellence, Communications

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2019 Chamber of the Year finalists

Bethany Orban on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 12:00:00 am 








The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives today announced finalists for the 2019 Chamber of the Year competition, sponsored by MemberClicks.

Finalists for 2019 Chamber of the Year are (sorted by category):

Category One:

Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce 
Murray, Kentucky

Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce
Wooster, Ohio

Effingham County Chamber of Commerce 
Effingham, Illinois


Category Two:

Kalispell Chamber of Commerce
Kalispell, Montana

Longview Chamber of Commerce
Longview, Texas

Grapevine Chamber of Commerce
Grapevine, Texas


Category Three:

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Asheville, North Carolina

Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
Bowling Green, Kentucky

Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership
Ocala, Florida


Category Four:

Salt Lake Chamber
Salt Lake City, Utah

Greater Louisville Inc. 
Louisville, Kentucky

Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
Irving, Texas


In the final phase of the competition, a judging committee conducts in-person interviews with leaders representing each finalist chamber. One winner from each category will be named at the 2019 ACCE Annual Convention in Long Beach, California.

Learn more about Chamber of the Year here.



Tags: Chamber of the Year, Top Chambers of Commerce, Chamber Professional, Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce, Effingham County Chamber of Commerce, Grapevine Chamber of Commerce, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, #ACCE19, Greater Louisville Inc., #ACCEAwards, Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Longview Chamber of Commerce, Awards, Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce, Best Chambers, Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, Salt Lake Chamber

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10 Reasons to Attend ACCE Convention 2019

Sarah Amoyaw on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12:00:00 am 














ACCE Annual Convention 2019, scheduled for July 14–17, is shaping up to be a sun-sational event for chamber of commerce professionals around the globe. Personalized and immersive with an inspiring focus on the future, the forward-looking innovation and insights featured at this year’s event are sure to give you chills—even in the vibrant warmth of the Long Beach sun.

  1. Breakout sessions: Get best practices and expert insights from the best in the business with sessions exploring topics and trends that matter most to you or your chamber. From digital communications and membership sales to education and workforce development, ACCE's convention offers sessions for all chamber professionals.


  1. Long Beach: Sandy beaches and waves ideal for splashing or surfing... a culinary scene that will delight your taste buds... an arts and entertainment scene where the fun never ends... Long Beach, California, has so much to offer. You'll quickly understand why Long Beach was voted one of America's “Most Walkable Cities.” 


  1. Networking: As the saying goes, “If you’ve seen one chamber of commerce, you’ve only seen one chamber of commerce." Driven by your passion for building communities and connections, #ACCE19 provides the unique opportunity to build a strong network of peers from around the world. Start building your network on the first night of the convention! Be sure to sign up for a networking dinner at the convention registration desk when checking in.


  1. Exhibit Hall: Meet companies serving the chamber industry and see the latest innovative products and services for your organization. Experience the expo hall and the chance to win prizes in a new way on our interactive convention app.


  1. Food: Long Beach offers a diverse array of cuisines from all over the world. From authentic Spanish tapas to yummy oriental noodles, you will never run out of things to try...or complain about "Chamber Chicken". 


  1. Awards Show: It’s your night to shine as we celebrate the men and women of the chamber world who have made an impact on the profession and those whose innovative efforts are influencing the work of chambers of the future. Hosted by ACCE’s favorite comedian James Cunningham, we’ll induct this year’s Life Member honorees, welcome a new class of Certified Chamber Executives, salute communications and membership superstars and cheer on the 2019 Chambers of the Year.  


  1. Revitalize your passion: What better way to reenergize your passion for the profession than by being around 1,000 of the best and most fun chamber executives in the world. #ACCE19 is the ticket for taking your chamber from transactional to transformational.  


  1. Closing Party: Step aboard the legendary Queen Mary as we visit the 1930s when this stately ocean liner hosted the world’s rich and famous. We will gather on the Verandah Grill and Deck where hand painted murals cover the walls of what used to be the first-class nightclub and restaurant. Enjoy music, fine food and drink as you stroll through to the sun deck to take in dramatic nighttime views of the Long Beach skyline. This is one party you will not want to miss.


  1. New Ideas, Tools, Tips, Tactics: Explore trends shaping the future of the chamber industry and take your skills to the next level. We’re making sure that you will go home with tactical and practical tools that can be used at your chamber of commerce. 


  1. Keynotes: Ready to be inspired? This year’s keynote speakers will deliver knowledge, motivation, forward focused ideas and strategies for success. Stay tuned for the announcement of our closing keynote!

What are your reasons for attending? Tweet us @ACCEHQ to tell us why you are attending #ACCE19!


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ACCE Partners with National Skills Coalition

Tania Kohut on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 4:00:00 pm 

ACCE’s new strategic partnership with the National Skills Coalition and its Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU) program pairs BLU’s business-driven skills policy expertise with ACCE’s robust member network to elevate the voice of employers in workforce policy discussions.

With the support of the Ballmer Group and J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, ACCE and BLU will develop a network of seven state-based BLU affiliates in 2019, to be joined by a second cohort in 2020. These BLU affiliates, led by representatives of the chamber community in each state, will be charged with organizing a diverse coalition of businesses and business associations from across each state in order to develop a shared skills policy agenda on behalf of the state’s business community.

BLU will provide infrastructure support and policy guidance to each state affiliate, and ACCE will assist the lead organizations with targeted coalition building and network growth.

Tags: #workforce, workforce, Workforce Development

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Bethany Orban Joins ACCE Team

Tania Kohut on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 4:00:00 pm 

Bethany Orban joins ACCE as the marketing and communications manager after directing the communications and programming efforts for the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance in Tennessee. Bethany will lead ACCE’s efforts to revamp the association’s communications strategy to more effectively showcase the evolving role chambers play as catalytic community leaders. Bethany is passionate about storytelling and wants to hear your stories. Share exciting news from your chamber by contacting Bethany via email at

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Beth Bronder, Sarah Amoyaw Join ACCE Team

Tania Kohut on Monday, February 4, 2019 at 3:00:00 pm 

ACCE welcomes two new staff members.

Beth Bronder, vice president, development and partnerships joins ACCE with more than 20 years of development and organizational management experience. Previously, Beth spent several years consulting for the National Governors Association and held a leadership role at CQ Roll Call/The Economist Group. She also held senior-level positions at a number of companies including Bloomberg and Unisys. She can be reached at


Sarah Amoyaw joins the team as the community advancement and communications coordinator. In this role, Sarah will coordinate professional development activities for ACCE members and develop original content to highlight best practices, industry trends and community impact. She will also support the Education and Talent Development Division’s work with the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United. Sarah is a graduate of Towson University and an active member of the local Change Foundation. Contact Sarah via email at

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Big Sky, Montana: Community Housing

Kattherine House on Monday, December 3, 2018 at 12:00:00 am 

In Montana, the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce has spearheaded many of the discussions and initiatives around affordable housing, referred to locally as “community housing.” Like other resort areas, the Big Sky area has a high percentage of affluent second-home owners and a large percentage of in-commuters who cannot afford to live where they work, according to CEO Candace Carr Strauss.

In 2013, the chamber acted as a project manager for a citizens’ group that was studying and discussing the issue, making it eligible to receive funds from the local resort area tax district to fund an affordable work force housing study. The study, prepared by a consultant, made several recommendations, including that the area form a non-profit organization dedicated to the issue.

One of the next steps was submitting an application for a Community Development Block Grant. The chamber teamed with a local county to apply for a grant to fund a preliminary architectural report designed to address issues such as site options and preliminary architectural renderings. It was the chamber that provided the required matching funds; the application was successful.

In 2016, the Big Sky Community Housing Trust was formed to function as a land trust to provide affordable housing units via acquisition of property. The chamber contracted with a non-profit community action agency to provide a half-time employee to manage the trust. Town halls put on by the chamber followed, as well as a Big Sky Housing Action Plan prepared by a consultant. Now, after years of planning, education and laying the groundwork, Big Sky is well on its way to development of a community housing project. In 2018, the Community Housing Trust received $1.945 million in appropriations from the Big Sky Resort Area District and was able to sign an agreement with a developer to acquire land for a 52-unit affordable housing project.


Read more:
Learn how chambers in university towns, resort communities and fast-growing locales are among those seeking solutions for affordable housing. Click here to read the cover story, "Workforce Housing," from the fall 2018 issue of Chamber Executive.




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Amy Shields Joins ACCE Team

Tania Kohut on Monday, October 22, 2018 at 9:00:00 am 

ACCE welcomes Amy Shields as its new senior manager of community advancement. In this role, Amy will lead professional development and peer learning opportunities for ACCE members to help them improve education and workforce development outcomes; pursue sustainable and inclusive economic growth and promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the communities they serve.  

“Amy is passionate about our mission and excited to help chambers across the country create positive change,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “Her strengths in program management, stakeholder engagement and communications make her a perfect fit for this role.”

Amy joins ACCE’s bicoastal team that was formed through a strategic partnership between ACCE and the Los Angeles Area Chamber to leverage the LA Chamber’s expertise in strengthening education systems and ACCE’s national reach and professional development platform. She will manage community advancement programming and work to identify industry trends to showcase the mission-based value chambers bring to communities across the country.

Prior to joining ACCE, she served as program manager for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), overseeing GEO’s publications and managing programs to help grantmakers and nonprofits make a greater impact through their philanthropic work. Prior to that, she worked for the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, an ACCE member organization in Virginia.


Tags: ACCE, community advancement, education, Workforce Development

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ACCE launches Healthy Communities program

Will Burns on Monday, August 20, 2018 at 12:00:00 am 

Ten chambers were selected to participate in a new ACCE professional development program designed to help chambers of commerce lead effective and innovative community health initiatives and demonstrate the leadership roles chambers in smaller communities can play to strengthen quality of life and support equitable prosperity.
This year-long program will take participants through a design thinking lab to help develop and implement a plan to tackle a community health challenge. Each chamber has teamed with a community partner to participate alongside them throughout the program.
Participating chamber professionals include:

  • Jennifer Reiser, Chief Operating Officer, Billings Chamber
  • Vicki Clark, President, Cape May Chamber
  • MelissaWorthington, Vice President of Chamber Membership and Strategic Advancement, Envision Greater Fond du Lac
  • Pat Patrick, President/CEO, Lodi District Chamber
  • Kelly Hall, President, Longview Chamber
  • Robert Goltz, President/CEO, Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Bob DuBois, CEO, Noblesville Chamber
  • Barbara Ann Heegan, President/CEO, Otsego County Chamber
  • Chris Clark, President/CEO, Queen Creek Chamber
  • Ananda Sweet, Workforce Development Manager, Santa Rosa Metro Chamber

Visit to learn more about chambers of commerce that are championing health and wellness issues in their communities. Email Emily Counts, community advancement coordinator at ACCE, for additional ways to connect on this topic.

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Accrisoft is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE American Express is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE Aventura World by Central Holidays West is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Benfits Trust is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE Citslinc is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE Collette is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE Grow With Google is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE New Insperity The U.S. Chamber is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE
Avalanche Consulting sponsors ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives CardConnect sponsors ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Constant Contact POWER 10 sponsors ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives United Networks of America is an Official Corporate Sponsor of ACCE YouScience sponsor ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
Sponsorship and advertising opportunities Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives