ACCE's 2019 40 Under 40

ACCE Staff on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 12:00:00 am 













Emerging Leaders Shaping the Chamber Industry

ACCE is dedicated to recognizing and supporting the most talented professionals in the chamber industry. This new annual recognition program showcases 40 of the industry's best emerging leaders who have demonstrated success in their careers and made significant contributions in the communities they serve. The list includes CEOs and staff professionals from a wide variety of roles and chamber sizes. Their creativity, dedication and commitment to identifying innovative solutions will help shape the future of the chamber profession.

Learn more about this year's class and what their nominator had to say as part of the Summer 2019 edition of the Chamber Executive magazine.

2019 Education and Talent Development Fellows

Abby Osborne, Salt Lake Chamber

Alesha Washington, Greater Cleveland Partnership

Alisha Benson, IOM, Greater Spokane Inc.

Allen Smith, CCE, Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce

Allison B. Walden, CFRE, IOM, Tulsa Regional Chamber

Amber Mooney, The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Andy Johnston, IOM, Grand Rapids Chamber

Beth A. Bowman, CCE, IOM, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Celia Richa, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Christie Rogers, CMP, NKY Chamber

Corey Atkins, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

David Pruente, IOM, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Ellen Cutter, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Erin Aylor, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

Erin Erkins, Boise Metro Chamber

Heather Valudes, Lancaster Chamber

James Reddish, CEcD, Little Rock Regional Chamber

Jessica Verderame, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce

Jessica Welch, IOM, Greater Irvine Chamber

Joe Murphy, Greater Des Moines Partnership

Jonathan Long, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce

Joshua Gunn, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Juliet Abdel, IOM, Westminster Chamber of Commerce

Kate Bates, Arlington Chamber of Commerce

Kate Lufkin, Kalispell Chamber of Commerce

Kelle Marsalis, CCE, IOM, Plano Chamber of Commerce

Kristin Craig, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce

LaKendria Robinson, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

Lindsay Henderson, Conway Area Chamber of Commerce

Lindsay M. Keisler, IOM, CCEC, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce

Lisa Hermes, CCE, IOM, McKinney Chamber of Commerce

Mark Fisher, Indy Chamber

Paul Rumler, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce

Sara Swisher, IOM, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, Greater Louisville Inc.

Sarah Moylan, Greater Omaha Chamber

Savannah Whitehead, Edmond Chamber of Commerce

Sherry Taylor, Mason Deerfield Chamber

Simone Thornton-Salley, IOM, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce

Tim Giuliani, CCE, Orlando Economic Partnership 

 Applications for the next class of 40 Under 40 will be available in March of 2020 here.

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Think big, Shop Small

Ben Goldstein on Friday, November 3, 2017 at 11:00:00 am 

Small businesses are the backbone of local economies, and oftentimes are some of the most engaged members of chambers of commerce. Small Business Saturday, which falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was launched by American Express in 2010, as a way to encourage people to patronize small businesses.

Each year, American Express invites community organizations, businesses and chambers of commerce to pledge to be Neighborhood Champions, and provides them with resources and marketing materials to promote the day.

Here are a few ways chambers are celebrating, and why they’ve made it a priority to do so.

How is the chamber celebrating Small Business Saturday?

Jessica Hart, Billings Chamber (Mont.): “For the past five years, we’ve made a Monopoly board featuring our small business members. Because it’s grown so much since then, we’ve decided to make a checkers board instead for this year. The way it works is people shop at the businesses on the board and return their game pieces to any of the participating businesses. That way they can enter to earn gift cards and prizes from our members.”

Robert Killen, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce (Ore.): “Now that Small Business Saturday is fairly-well established, we’ve decided to launch a full suite of programs throughout the month of November, which we’ve identified here as business development month, like a leadership symposium, some lunch-and-learns and a half-day business conference. We’re also creating a bingo card filled with businesses participating in our downtown region, and once somebody gets five in a row they can turn that into the stores and enter into a raffle for some gift baskets we’ll assemble, too.”

Anna Rainhouse, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce (N.Y.): “We’re having a kick-off party where we’re giving out goody bags of promotional materials and save-the-date pamphlets for our member businesses. We’re also promoting what we call the “12 Days of Shopping Small,” where we’re using little passports, and anybody who shops locally over the next 12 days can get their passport stamped and return it for prizes and rewards.”

What is the value of celebrating the work that small businesses do?

Jessica Hart (Mont.): “I think that small business is about building your community. Spending your money locally helps your friends and neighbors build something better for your community, so we can keep these businesses open and thriving.”

Robert Killen (Ore.): “Supporting small business is support for an entire community. We know that a dollar spent in a small, locally-owned business largely stays in the community in ways that making purchases any other way simply can’t. The more dollars we retain in a community, the stronger it is for everyone.”

Anna Rainhouse (N.Y.): “The small businesses in our area are really the heart and soul of our economic system in a small town like Watkins Glen, so promoting them and supporting them in any way we can is going to be really beneficial for the whole community.”

This year, ACCE invites members to participate in a contest that highlights Small Business Saturday successes. Tell us how your chamber of commerce is encouraging the community to #ShopSmall. Learn more.

Tags: #ShopSmall

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Statement: Hurricane Harvey

Ben Wills on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 4:05:00 pm 

Hurricane Harvey has impacted many communities, leaving behind devastating floods and catastrophic damage. While the magnitude of the storm is unfathomable for most and the full scope of damage is unknown, ACCE members are eager to help.

ACCE has received many inquiries from chambers of commerce around the world asking what can be done now to assist peers in affected areas. We are monitoring the situation closely; our Urgent Response Task Force has been activated and is in contact with chamber leaders in communities that have been impacted. Until immediate humanitarian needs have been addressed and water begins the recede, we won’t know how to safely and most effectively help.

At this time, ACCE asks members to stand by and consider specific ways to assist with recovery efforts. We are exploring opportunities to provide direct aid to chambers of commerce and will share more information as it becomes available.

Recovery will take time, and work cannot begin until rain subsides and water recedes. The safety and welfare of Texans and Louisianans is the highest and most immediate priority.

In the near future, ACCE will ask members for assistance. In the meantime, please consider ways your chamber can assist when the appeal is made.

A few ways you can help now:

  • Donate to the Texas Association of Business (TAB) Foundation's Chamber Relief Fund, which will exclusively support Texas chambers that have been most impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Checks, made payable to TAB Foundation, can be sent to: TAB Foundation Chamber Relief Fund, Attn: Aaron Cox, TAB/TCCE, 1209 Nueces St., Austin, TX 78701. TAB Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) and contributions are 100% tax deductible.
  • Participate in the “Adopt A Chamber/Community” initiative led by a partnership of the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Texas Association of Business
  • Donate to American Red Cross or Salvation Army, for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
  • Send notes to people you know in Texas and Louisiana, letting them know that they are on your mind and that you’re ready to help when the time is right
  • Put money aside, so that you can contribute directly to or join chambers of commerce that have been most severely impacted

Please consider that our friends (your chamber peers) are working to address immediate needs, both personally and professionally. Many homes, offices and communities have sustained serious damage and total devastation.

The chamber of commerce community is strong, and we’ll work together to help our friends with recovery at the appropriate time.

(For information and resources on disaster recovery, visit this page.)

Tags: Disaster, Urgent Response

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The origin of certificates of origin

Ben Goldstein on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 12:00:00 am 

For almost a century, governments around the world have relied on chambers of commerce to verify the origins of overseas exports. And, while the issuance of certificates of origin—first assigned to chambers through the Geneva Convention in 1923—is an essential function of the chamber world, it is also one of the least understood.

What is a certificate of origin?

A certificate of origin is a stamped document that verifies where goods are manufactured, so governments can assess tariff rates and enforce embargoes on imports. They are required for all international trade, unless exempted by parties to a trade deal like the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The origin of the goods refers to the location the final product was assembled, not its parts. For goods that were manufactured in multiple countries, the country that bore more than 50 percent of the costs of assembly is considered the country of origin. All valid certificates must be signed by the exporter and then verified and stamped by a local chamber of commerce.

Advice from the pros

At the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Executive Assistant to the President Kristin Gochenour uses eCertify, an electronic certification software, to issue certificates digitally. The chamber charges exporters $20 per certificate, $5 of which is paid to eCertify, meaning it profits $15 per certificate, not counting the $1000 annual fee for the software. For exporters that hit 100 certificates within a calendar year, the cost is reduced to $10 per certificate, while nonmembers pay up to $75 each.

Asked if it would make sense for a smaller-sized chamber to issue certificates of origin, Gochenour said it “all depends on their volume,” adding, “They’d have to do at least 200 certificates a year just to recoup the eCertify cost for the fee, not even counting the $5 charge per certificate. It’s a substantial number.”

At the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, Vice President and Chief of Staff Justin Simmons swears by eCertify as the most efficient way to issue certificates of origin.

“The old, paperbound process required a courier or staff time for the company, and you’d have to actually sit down and manually stamp and sign,” said Simmons. “The efficiency gained for the exporter enables them to do it from their desk, with a much shorter turnaround than what it would take to drive them across town.”

Rife with fraud

Because of the decentralized nature of the certificate of origin process in the U.S., American exports have attracted scrutiny from foreign officials who have been tipped off about fraudulent behavior in the issuance process. Examples include documents signed by fictitious employees and chambers lending out their seals for companies to stamp themselves.

“The basic problem is lack of oversight,” said Chris Mead, senior vice president at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. “It’s been compared to a Wild West-type situation. Foreign countries are more on their toes now, so chambers should be careful that they’re issuing these certificates the right way.”

Scrutiny of fraudulent certificates of origin increased in 2011, after the Egyptian Consulate in Houston launched an investigation into improperly labeled food shipments. After determining that the goods were actually of Latin American origin, the consulate restricted certificates of origin for all but two chambers in a host of states.

“They did a test and quite a few of these certificates were not legit,” said Mead. “Egypt doesn’t have a strong food inspection system, so this potentially endangered the people living there.”

Bottom line

When deciding whether to issue certificates of origin, chambers should ask whether it will be a profitable enough activity for them to commit the resources needed to do the job right. And those who opt to issue should always act with integrity.

“Don’t lend out your stamp,” said Mead. “It’s like lending out your checkbook or the plaque you got for graduation. You just don’t do it.”

Want to learn more? Check out our Chamberpedia page on certificates of origin.


Tags: Certificates of Origin, Exports, International Trade

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Sheree Anne Kelly named ACCE’s next CEO

Ben Wills on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 9:03:00 am 

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives is excited to announce that Sheree Anne Kelly has been named as the organization's next president and CEO.

Sheree Anne, who currently serves as senior vice president at Washington, D.C.-based Public Affairs Council, will join the ACCE team September 5. Mick Fleming, who has served as ACCE's president and CEO since July 2001, will continue to serve the organization throughout the transition.

Sheree Anne Kelly says hello to ACCE members

"Finding a talented leader is often a daunting task when searching for the best person to lead a proven and successful association," said ACCE Board Chairman Jay Chesshir, CCE, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. "Everyone involved in the executive search process has been extremely impressed with Sheree Anne and we look forward to working with her to build upon the amazing impact, strength, and resources we've created over the last 16 years."

Kelly was the unanimous choice of ACCE's 15-member CEO Search Committee, chaired by Roy H. Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. The committee worked with executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry.

"We went through a very methodical, disciplined process to find the right person," Williams said. "And at the end of that process, I believe the entire committee felt we perhaps exceeded our own expectations by finding Sheree Anne. Her attitude, enthusiasm, skill set, and personality should combine to take ACCE to a new level."

Kelly currently serves as PAC's chief public affairs expert and deputy for the organization, and executive director of PAC's Foundation for Public Affairs. In addition to strategic planning, operations management, and research oversight, she directs the Council's public affairs staff responsible for consulting, thought leadership and training on best practices and ethical considerations. She launched the international practice for PAC, which opened its first overseas office in Brussels in 2013. She's a frequent keynote speaker and guest lecturer, having delivered presentations across North America, Europe, and Asia. Prior to joining PAC, Kelly worked in the government affairs department of the National Association of Home Builders, and held positions at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in corporate relations and corporate development.

"Since my first job out of college was working for the U.S. Chamber," Kelly said, "ACCE is a real full-circle career moment. I've always had this idealism about giving back to communities and groups, and being a productive contributor to a mission-driven organization, so working with chamber leaders and ACCE's staff is a thrilling opportunity."

View the full press release

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