The Louisiana Chambers Association, LACCE, announced the state chambers of the year at the association's annual conference. The winners were chosen by an out of state panel of chamber executives who reviewed the nominees' applications. The winners are: Small chamber of the year - Rayne Chamber of Commerce, Mid-size Chamber of the Year - River Region Chamber of Commerce representing St. John, St. James and St. Charles parishes and Large Chamber of the Year - East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce. The winners were announced at the annual awards event conference held this year in Metairie, Louisiana and hosted by the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.
"We are excited to recognize Louisiana's Chambers and the valuable work they do for their business membership and communities. Louisiana has over 70 local chambers of commerce representing tens of thousands of businesses and their employers. These chambers are highlighted through their excellence in organizational management, professional development and community advocacy. All three components are necessary for the chamber's ultimate role of business development and advocacy." states April Wehrs, 2016 president of LACCE.
LACCE's annual conference provides professional development opportunities to Louisiana's Chambers executives. This year's conference keynote speaker was Mick Fleming, President of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives - a worldwide chamber executive association. Mr. Fleming presented ACCE's "Horizons 2025 Report" highlighting the future of communities and businesses and the chamber's role. Other topics included regional collaboration for public policy advocacy, board engagement and social media trends. Cathi Hight is also scheduled to present on membership retention and chamber trends.
New for 2016 is the Louisiana Accredited Chamber designation. Recipients of the designation include the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce and the Ascension Chamber of Commerce. Each submitted a comprehensive outline of their organization's fundamentals including governing documents, finance policy, communications, facility management and other considerations. April Wehrs stated, "The Louisiana Accreditation will propel our state's chambers to a new level of exposure to their members and communities. Being recognized as an accredited chamber is an honor to these chambers. We anticipate we will add several more chambers to the list soon."
Also recognized as US Chamber Accredited Chambers: Bossier Chamber of Commerce, Central LA Regional Chamber, East St. Tammany Chamber, Greater Shreveport Chamber, Houma-Terrebonne chamber, Jefferson Chamber, St. Tammany West Chamber and The Chamber SWLA.
Chamber professionals recognized for completing the US Chamber's Institute of Organizational Management throughout the years include: Deborah Randolph, Ron Erickson, Dawn Sharp, Lindy Broderick, Betsy Breerwood, April Wehrs, Chassity McComack, Judy Copeland, Lacey Toledano, Michelle Biggs, Avon Knowlton, Paula Ramsey.
Also recognized are chamber executives who received the regional certification from Centers for Chamber of Commerce Excellence, a collaboration with Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana chambers. Past graduates include: Sherrie Despino, Ron Erickson, JoBeth Kavanaugh, Dawn Sharpe, Tony Davis, Avon Knowlton, Paula Ramsey, Amanda White and Lynn Guillory.
Recognized for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives designation of Certified Chamber Executive, with a limited amount of designees in the country are: Dawn Sharpe, Lindy Broderick, Avon Knowlton.
Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, LACCE, is the largest business organization in Louisiana based on number of businesses represented. The association's role is to provide professional development and collaboration of the local chamber of commerce industry to strengthen business and economic impact to their regions. Website: www.louisianachambers.org.