ACCE 2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows Announced
ACCE is proud to announce the sixth cohort of Education and Talent Development Fellows. The Fellowship for Education & Talent Development is a workforce and education incubator that provides chamber of commerce professionals the opportunity to interact with peers, ACCE staff and national experts. This is accomplished through a combination of in-person and virtual activities where fellows delve into cutting-edge theories, approaches and best practices in talent development. This year, 21 fellows have been selected amongst a national pool of applicants to represent communities all over the country.
Commenting on this year’s class, ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly said, “The new cohort of fellows is a thoughtful, experienced and knowledgeable group with a broad range of perspectives. With the creativity and energy they give their organizations, we are delighted to offer a program where these professionals can expand their portfolios and evolve their already impressive community initiatives. This class represents some of the foremost leaders in the chamber industry, and the impact they will have on their communities, as a result of their determination, will be immeasurable.”
ACCE’s Fellowship for Education and Talent Development is designed to inspire tangible and attainable talent development goals to be implemented in participants’ communities. The program will begin in September with the first in-person meeting shortly after in October.
2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows
Adrian Hale, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce (N.Y.)
Alex Greiwe, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce (Mo.)
Alexa Kramer, Grand Rapids Chamber (Mich.)
Christopher McDermott, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (Mass.)
Corey Hutcherson, Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce (N.C.)
Cynthia Bennett, Newnan-Coweta Chamber (Ga.)
Cynthia Lyon, The Business Council of Fairfield County (Conn.)
Danielle Permenter, Orlando Economic Partnership (Fla.)
Dean Blinkhorn, Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (Fla.)
Georgina Chapman, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber (Ala.)
Karen Fox, Capital Region Chamber (N.Y.)
Kayla Rombalski, Portage County Business Council (Wis.)
Kimberly Vegliante, Greater Phoenix Chamber (Ariz.)
Laurie Radke, Greater Green Bay Chamber (Wis.)
Lindsay Keisler, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce (N.C.)
Lisa Hermes, McKinney Chamber of Commerce (Texas)
Norma Ritz Johnson,Lubbock Chamber of Commerce (Texas)
Sondra Howell, Greater Memphis Chamber (Tenn.)
Steve Cox, Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce (Ark.)
Sully Pinos, York County Economic Alliance (Pa.)
Travis Groth, Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance (Tenn.)
Chairman’s Award Presented at #ACCE19
At the ACCE Annual Convention in Long Beach, Immediate Past Board Chair Nancy Keefer, CCE, presented the 2019 Chairman’s Award to Jay Chesshir, CCE, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. The award is given annually to an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to the betterment of the chamber profession. In Keefer’s remarks, she commended Chesshir for “going beyond the call of duty, not only by leading the association in the very special role of Chairman for one year, but [he] took on a second year when our CEO transition occurred...”.
Chesshir served two consecutive one-year terms as ACCE board chair from 2016-2018.
Chamber Executives Earn Elite Designation
During ACCE's Annual Convention in Long Beach, Calif., last month, seven chamber executives were presented as Certified Chamber Executives (CCE). CCE is recognized as the highest, and most elite, professional designation in the chamber of commerce profession. It’s the only globally-recognized certification program exclusive to the chamber of commerce industry.
These seven leaders who were recognized during the #ACCEAwards Show on July 15, represent chambers of commerce in seven states, including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana and Utah:
Jeremy L. Arthur, CCE, IOM
Jeremy has served as president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) since 2012 and previously led the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce in Alabama. He is currently chair elect of the board of trustees for the Institute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, chair of the Institute Curriculum Committee and a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. Jeremy’s CCE presentation focused on the creation and successful implementation of the Alabama Small Business of the Year Awards, a statewide platform to celebrate and recognize small business success through local chambers of commerce in Alabama.
James “Chris” Clark, Jr., CCE, IOM
Chris is the president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Before assuming this leadership role in 2011, Chris was commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and deputy commissioner for the Department of Economic Development. He is on the board of directors for the Council of State Chambers and serves as its secretary/treasurer. He also sits on the boards of the Georgia Allies, the U.S. Chamber, the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and Georgia College and State University’s board of trustees. Chris’ CCE presentation highlighted the chamber’s Georgia 2030 project and the resulting innovative programs and initiatives he spearheaded to address the opportunities and risks of the state’s rapidly changing economic and business landscape.
Tiffany Esposito, CCE, IOM, MBA, APR
Tiffany was named president and CEO of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (Fla.) in 2016. She is chair of ACCE’s Emerging Cities peer group and has served on the ACCE board of directors since 2017. Tiffany focused her CCE presentation on the creation of The Hub—a shared work space that positioned the chamber as the hub for progress by offering a physical space for members to connect, convene and collaborate.
Paul J. Farmer, CCE
Paul is CEO and chief member advocate of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce (Calif.). Prior to becoming the chamber’s leader in 2012, Paul served on his board’s executive committee and was co-founder and president of OfficeStar Computer Training Centers. He was the local and then state president of the California Junior Chamber (Jaycees). Paul’s CCE presentation on the “City Budget Crisis,” highlighted a series of research articles he wrote identifying the root causes and possible solutions to the City of Salinas’ structural budget deficit.
Sherry Menor-McNamara, CCE
In 2013, Sherry became the first female and youngest president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s 169-year history, after having served the organization in different capacities since 2006. In 2018, under Sherry’s leadership, the chamber won ACCE’s Chamber of the Year title in the state/province category. Sherry serves on the board of directors of ACCE, Council of State Chambers, Western Association of Chamber Executives and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as the US Chamber Committee of 100. In her CCE presentation, Sherry discussed her leadership role in the annual Hawaii on the Hill. This statewide initiative brings more than 150 people from Hawaii to D.C. to showcase the state’s products and industries to U.S. leaders.
Jennifer Reiser, CCE, IOM
Since 2011, Jennifer has served as the chief operating officer of the Billings Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the U.S. Chamber Foundation West Institute Board of Regents since 2017, is a graduate of the CDC’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute and holds a certificate in public health from the University of Montana. Jennifer focused her CCE presentation on Transforming Information into Action through the Trailhead Leadership Academy.
Heidi Walker, CCE
Heidi has served as chief operating officer of the Salt Lake Chamber since 2010. Previously, she held several high-level management positions at the chamber, including seven years as vice president. Heidi has served on several boards in her community including the United Way, Women's Leadership Institute and nationally on the ACCE board. She received the Woman of Distinction Award in 2017. Heidi’s CCE project highlighted her leadership of the Salt Lake Chamber’s year-long plan to monetize more of the chamber’s programs and events and to create a more engaged business community in celebration of the chamber’s 130th anniversary.
“The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant's knowledge of core chamber management areas —management, planning and development, membership and communication, and operations,” says Linda Rabe, CCE, IOM, president and CEO of Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce (S.D.) and CCE commission chairman. “Chamber professionals who are designated CCEs have rightfully earned this outstanding recognition through hard work, countless hours of dedication to their field, and leadership of their chamber to achieve the chamber’s goals. We are proud to have this year’s class join a long tradition of professional excellence.”
Since the first CCE designation was conferred more than 40 years ago, about 500 professionals have become certified.
Learn more about ACCE’s CCE program by visiting www.ACCE.org/CCE.
Brown Elected to Lead International Board
David G. Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, has been named chair of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Board of Directors during the organization’s annual meeting July 15.
“David has been an instrumental part of ACCE’s success over the last 15 years, particularly in the development of our Horizon Initiative, providing groundbreaking research on the future of chambers,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “As we look to the future and implement our new strategic plan, we are fortunate to benefit from the caliber of proven industry experience David provides. I am confident that David’s leadership will accelerate our efforts as we work to elevate the capabilities of chambers of commerce around the world.”
ACCE is a professional development organization serving the women and men who lead local, regional and statewide chambers of commerce and similar private sector-led economic development organizations around the world. The Alexandria, Va.-based association represents nearly 9,000 professionals who work for and with more than 1,300 chambers of commerce.
ACCE board chairs serve one-year terms, and Brown’s term will span July 2019 through July 2020. In this role, he will oversee activities of a 70-member board of directors that provides leadership and strategic direction to the association’s 30-person staff.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with this role during such a thrilling time for our industry. Our organizational climate is changing, and chambers are striving to become the place where community building initiatives begin and endure,” said Brown. “The chamber industry has a bright future, and ACCE plays a major role. I look forward to leveraging our unified strength, exceptional talent and breadth of services to lead the industry as we look to the future and solve some of our communities most pressing challenges.”
David Brown is president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber, one of the largest, most highly accredited chambers in the nation and ACCE’s 2015 Chamber of the Year. Under David’s steady leadership, the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership has successfully landed more than 760 projects, representing 37,090 jobs and more than $8.6 billion in capital investment since 2004.
David is a graduate of Dartmouth College with academic specialties in industrial location and environmental studies and has completed courses at the National Development Council, the American Management Association, Bell Leadership Academy and Gallup University.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, David contributes his time and expertise to numerous community service organizations including the Ak-Sar-Ben Future Trust, Boys Scouts of America, College World Series of Omaha, Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics, Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben, University of Nebraska at Omaha Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and the U.S. Strategic Command Consultation Committee. Nationally, David serves on the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Board and is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.
2019 Chamber of Year Winners Announced
Last week at the annual #ACCEAwards Show, nearly one thousand chamber professionals and friends of the industry gathered at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in downtown Long Beach, California, to celebrate winners of many special awards, including Chamber of the Year.
Chamber of the Year, sponsored by MemberClicks, is the most prestigious and competitive award presented by ACCE and is the only globally-recognized industry award that honors top chambers of commerce. This year's winners (sorted by category) are:
Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce
Longview Chamber of Commerce
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Asheville, North Carolina
Greater Louisville Inc.
Those honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities, such as education, transportation, business development and quality of life.
Chambers of commerce interested in competing for the award first must qualify by participating in a vigorous multi-stage process. Organizations entering the Chamber of the Year competition must meet minimum thresholds in at least three of five key performance areas, including net revenue, net assets, membership account retention, and membership dollar retention.
Qualifying for Chamber of the Year is a rigorous process. Chambers compete based on meeting key performance criteria on the ACCE Annual Operations Survey. Qualifying chambers enter the competition with a written application addressing all aspects of organizational operation and programmatic work. Applications are scored by peer chamber executives to determine finalists. Winners are selected from among finalists based on an in-person interview before a panel of experienced chamber professionals.
Celebrating Communications Excellence
On July 15, at the #ACCEAwards Show in Long Beach, California, three organizations — Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce (Ga.), Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce (Ark.) and Greater Fort Wayne Inc. (Ind.) — were recognized as this year’s Best in Show winners in ACCE’s Awards for Communications Excellence competition.
They represent the finest entries in each of the three total annual budget categories: under $1 million, $1 to $3 million and above $3 million.
ACCE’s Awards for Communications Excellence program is designed to showcase top communications and marketing work of chambers of commerce and similar organizations. Several thousand award entries have been submitted since the launch of the organization’s Awards for Communications Excellence, which is now in its thirty-fifth year.
“Those involved in marketing and communications for chamber organizations must develop materials that can compete with Fortune 500 companies, with half the staff and budget,” says ACCE President and CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “These annual awards provide a way to recognize the innovative work that chambers across the world are creating. It is not every day that a company’s communications work not only benefits the organization but is creates materials that advance the community or region that they support.
A panel of communications and marketing executives from six North American chambers of commerce evaluated entries, which were organized by category — based on the chamber’s annual budget — and entry type: advertising and marketing, campaigns, digital and publications.
Meet the Interns: Summer 2019
Stephanie Reed - email@example.com
Hi, I am Stephanie! I am in my fourth year at the University of Georgia studying Political Science and Criminal Justice. After graduation I plan to attend law school.
What is your ideal career and why is that something you strive for?
My dream career is to work in intellectual property law, potentially working my way into a judgeship. With intellectual law is at the core of international discussions and ethical debates, intellectual property, with a focus in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, seem like the perfect blend of my varied interests.
What do you do in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy rock climbing and kiteboarding. I am also on the UGA Sailing Team and a member of Sigma Delta Tau.
If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would have to be something Italian! After studying abroad in Verona, Italy, I fell in love with the culture and the food.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
A few summers back I climbed the Grand Teton in Wyoming. It was a challenging climb that taught me more about perseverance.
How would you define a Chamber of Commerce?
Chambers of commerce are organizations that aim to advance the interests of business that encourage economic and local growth.
Haley Wadsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, I am Haley! I currently attend school at William Jewell College, studying political science, american history and economics with a pre-law emphasis. After reading To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, I knew I wanted to seek to change legal policy.
What is your ideal career and why is that something you strive for?
My ideal career is to be a judge for the US Court of Appeals. A judge holds much greater power to enact a positive change in judicial reform, and I believe that I can enact proper change to uphold the Constitution in a way that is just.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy reading, watching the news or listening to politically focused podcasts. When I am not in class or studying you can typically catch me watching or reading any variety of news outlets.
If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
BBQ, hands down. Growing up in Texas, BBQ is one of our main food groups.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
In 2016 I interned for the Conservation Corps in Colorado. I was able to be part of a project at Long's Peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park, where we reconstructed and build a hiking trail from the base of the mountain to its peak. It was astonishing to see the impact that a small group of people can make when they work together.
How would you define a Chamber of Commerce?
A chamber of commerce is a local, state or national organization that seeks to further the interest of big business, but also seeks to better the life and welfare of their community.
"Why I love Long Beach"
The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce team is excited to welcome you to their hometown next month for #ACCE19. Read their reasons for loving Long Beach and how you, too, will fall in love with Southern California's urban waterfront playground. It's not too late! Register today and join us in Long Beach!
"When I arrived in 1994, I quickly grew to love this seaside city. A city full of passionate business leaders who are not afraid to give back to their community. A city consisting of its own airport, seaport, health, gas and water departments. A city that our famous Mayor Beverly O’Neill referred as the three T’s: Trade; Technology; and Tourism. We are a first class visitor destination with top quality accommodations, award winning restaurants, unique shopping venues and must see attractions such as the Aquarium of the Pacific, world famous Queen Mary, and the largest road race in America, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. What is not to love about this wonderful city?"
"What stands out most to me about Long Beach is its beautiful diversity. Whether it’s the people who reside in it, the array of culture we possess or the number of food options we have. Long Beach is a one of a kind community that I am blessed to be part of."
"With great schools, outstanding parks and unmatched nature centers, Long Beach is the perfect place to raise a family. I love Long Beach because my family is never short on activities or ways to get involved within the community. From concerts in the park to attending a sporting event at California State University, everything you need is in Long Beach!" #GoBeach!
"The uniqueness that is Long Beach is found in our community-supported small businesses while still embracing a large corporate presence. A big city with a small town feel due to our diverse neighborhoods and business corridors – offering craft breweries, a robust local art scene, entertainment venues, and iconic views. I love Long Beach for all of these things and what’s yet to come!"
"Long Beach is often overlooked by people visiting the Los Angeles area…overlooked until they decide to go to the beach, attend an event at the Convention Center or visit the Queen Mary. In the past few years Long Beach has completely transformed itself into a beautiful place to live, play, shop and work. It has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, welcoming people from all walks of life."
"From festivals to farmer's markets, breweries to boutiques, museums and much more, Long Beach has activities for everyone to enjoy. It's a beautiful city with gorgeous views and a tight-knit community that's always looking to grow and develop. I'm proud to call Long Beach home!"
"Long Beach is truly an incredible place made up of many distinct individuals, as a result, the city offers something for everyone. Our community grows every day, not only stronger, but more diverse and exciting. For those just visiting, there is never a dull moment. For those who choose to live here, our people are warm and welcoming, with new opportunities available every day."
"I have loved being a part of Long Beach's development over the past few years. We have a forward-thinking city that is ripe for new opportunities. The residents and business owners of the city are extremely diverse, unlike any other city I've ever seen. Also, you simply cannot beat this weather."
Why ACCE's Convention is an Easy “Yes” For Me
We all know chamber work is about deadlines and meetings. And, of course, one is always getting in the way of the other. So, I’ve made it a priority to only spend my time on things that positively contribute to my chamber’s success.
Happily, the annual ACCE convention is an easy “yes” for me because I always take away great ideas, enthusiasm, and a warm feeling that I’ve spent my time well. I would say that if ACCE doesn’t produce a perfect annual convention, it’s pretty darn close every year. From the really cool convention app, to the amazing array of exhibitors, to the fabulous before, during and after parties, ACCE Convention delivers!
I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming #ACCE19 in Long Beach like a 10 year-old looks forward to Christmas! The ACCE team knows how to fill my professional head with exciting ideas in interesting and enjoyable formats. The presentations are clever, informative, and valuable to my chamber’s success. I learn a ton and am entertained doing it!
I especially look forward to the celebration of the annual winners – Chambers of the Year, Excellence in Communications and All-Star Sales. I’ll never forget the magical moment our chamber was announced as a Chamber of the Year. Talk about surreal. It was in Montreal, and we had with us a large group of staff and volunteers. We celebrated like there’s no tomorrow! I love seeing the glowing faces of all the winners each year, which makes me think fondly of our moment in the sun.
It’s hard to place a value on the opportunity to spend time with old friends and make new ones in a terrific venue like Long Beach. We can’t help but talk shop, and I mean that in the most positive way. Successful chambers thrive on the exchange of experiences and methodologies that take place in communities throughout the country. There’s no better way to get your batteries recharged than spending time with other experts in the wonderful world of chambers!
So don’t make the mistake of thinking you could be doing something better by staying home. ACCE knows chambers and chamber execs and how to throw a great annual convention. You will leave Long Beach thankful for the productive use of your time and, who knows, you’ll probably get an idea for your next best program! Looking forward to #ACCE19 and hope you are, too!
Top Three Reasons to Attend ACCE’s Annual Conference
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?