By: Brian D. Anderson Sr.
President & CEO
Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce
I cannot tell you how blessed I am to work with such a talented, giving, and thoughtful group of professionals! Your Chamber team is one of the finest I have ever worked with. If you don’t believe me just ask our member-investors. Just this morning I received a call from Kathy Burns of Details and Options Salon and Spa. Kathy called specifically to brag on the great team assembled at your Chamber of Commerce (Thanks Kathy)!
Kathy went out of her way to make sure she thanked me for the great work that our team does. She went on to say that she will always be a member-investor because of the effort the members of our team give in supporting her and her business. Although what we do is our job, it is a pleasure to work with such a great group who take the minimum and turn it into a passion.
Each and every member of our team comes to work every day with our member-investor organizations and those they employ on their mind. They plan and implement events that will enable our members to effectively network and get to know others in the community. Beth Morrison and Sonya Maney plan our member-mixers and other events as if there life depended on it. When our members call needing information or assistance, they give that individual their time and attention unselfishly and professionally. Beth cares about our member-investors like they are her own children. And Sonya is just as passionate and caring!
Beth and Sonya also produce the myriad marketing activity for the Chamber. Our award-winning Chamberlink magazine is produced by Beth and Sonya. This beautiful, informative, and well-read monthly keeps our members in touch with the work the Chamber is doing on behalf of the community.
A couple of Saturdays ago, the community celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Leadership Dalton-Whitfield Program. Under the guidance of Phyllis Stephens, this community leadership program is considered one of the best in the state and continues to re-invent itself and improve year after year. Phyllis wanted to reach another level of promising leaders in our community. So a couple of years ago, she and a few hand-selected volunteers developed and implemented a new program called the Emerging Leaders Institute. This program is in its third year and already paying dividends to our community.
Phyllis also leads all legislative action activities for our team. She starts the process in December of each year working with select members and our elected delegation planning our positions on key issues and the talking points for our members to use when communicating with state elected officials. She then plans and executes a first-class legislative reception that is regarded as one of the best legislative events of the session. And finally she leads the work of the legislative action committee that meets weekly to deliberate the legislation as it moves through the session. All in all, our message and input is heard at the state capitol because of Phyllis Stephens.
Judy Sawyer has led the Chambers administrative and financial operations for a number of years. Because of Judy’s diligence and integrity, our financial affairs and human resources oversight are above reproach. Our Board of Directors is given the good, the bad, and the ugly (as appropriate) in order that they can provide the oversight they are responsible for.
Judy also oversees the internal operations of the organization such that everything is covered and the operation runs like clock-work. It is Judy that also assists all of us in special projects like maintaining the facilities, taking the money at events, or covering lunch when some are out. She is the glue that keeps us together.
Our newest member of the team is Elyse Cochran who leads our economic development efforts. You have heard a lot about Elyse in the last six months, and let me assure you it is all true. She is doing all that we hired her to do and more. She is a true economic development professional who is passionate about improving the economic future for all of us. You will continue to see the fruits of Elyse’ labor as she works to bring jobs and investment to our community.
Karina Cervantes works on our economic development team with Elyse. Karina assist Elyse in managing projects like submitting information about sites and the community to prospects. She works with realtors and site selection consultants in packaging information for clients (typically on a very tight timeline). Karina is multi-lingual, is close to finishing her college degree (while working full-time), and is a wonderful addition to the economic development team.
My purpose for today’s column was to: introduce the members of our team to those that may not know them, highlight the roles of our team members, and to praise them for all that they do. I am simply blessed to be on this amazing team. We have issues and challenges facing us like most organizations do. But because of the wonderful individuals that make up the Chamber team, we will continue meeting those challenges and we will succeed in community development, economic development, and leadership development efforts for our community!
Thank you for your investment in the Chamber of Commerce and therefore your investment in the Dalton-Whitfield community!