Organizations: Georgia Association Of Chamber Of Commerce Executives
It’s no exaggeration to say that much of Georgia’s ongoing and impressive growth can be tied to the strength of its cities and counties.
But what’s bolstering them? Their chambers of commerce, in part. And behind every good chamber (in this state, at least) you’ll find the Georgia Association of Chamber of Com-merce Executives (GACCE).
Bill Mitchell, the group’s current chairman, has been with GACCE since 1999. He’s president of the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Toombs County Development Authority. To him, GACCE’s value is clear. First, he says, it offers a venue for chamber staff to network with one another and share best (or warn against worst) practices. “But as important – and I think this is the key to what the GACCE does – is professional development for chambers of commerce, including the executives like myself and our staff,” he says.
The group doesn’t limit its efforts to paid staff, either. Its annual leadership conference, held last month in Albany, “helps our volunteers get engaged in chamber activities,” Mitchell says. “It gets them up to date and up to speed on what they can expect as they move into leadership roles in individual chambers.”
GACCE also realizes that much of what happens at the local level is determined at the national level. To keep abreast of such developments, the annual Washington Fly-In whisks some 75-80 chamber execs from around the state to the nation’s capital to meet with their elected representatives “It’s a meeting to take chamber execs from across the state up to Washington and say, ‘Look, here’s some of the issues we feel are important’ and get some feedback one on one with our senators and [representatives],” Mitchell says.
Coming up on the group’s calendar are an annual staff clinic, held in March, which provides training and updates for paid chamber employees. Rounding out its operational year is an annual meeting – to be held on Jekyll Island in July – where the new officers will be elected and the coming year’s slate of work determined.