2015-2017 Business Plan

Chamber Resources Division             Vice-Chair Melinda Dally

Ambassadors - Chair Sheri Hawes

Goal: Serve as the liaison between the chamber board and membership

These volunteer leaders represent member businesses and help promote a positive community image, assist in welcoming new Chamber members, contacting current members and provide leadership for Chamber events and retention efforts. The goal is to have 25 active ambassadors.


  • Meet monthly to build relationships, assign member contacts, updates on events, complete point sheets
  • Attend and assist with Ribbon Cuttings, Luncheons & Special Events; Make contact to assigned members to encourage connection with the chamber; assist with annual “treat” deliveries
  • Monthly Ambassador Ambush
  • Quarterly award presented at the Membership Luncheon

Membership Development – Chair

Goal: Improve Membership Retention, Recruitment & Benefits Programs

This group supports the member investment plan levels and benefits packages and works on strategies for retention and recruitment.   Through a coordinated effort with staff, this committee distributes treat bags annually to our members.


  • Host quarterly New Member Receptions
  • Promotions of New Member Referral Program - $25 Chamber “Bucks”
  • Assist with coordination of monthly luncheons including program speakers, sponsorships, etc.
  • Assist with coordination of Wake Up Walton Breakfast (2 annually)
  • Coordinate Annual “Member Thank You” treat bag deliveries
  • New Member Net Goal:  10% Increase

Marketing & Communications – Chair Tony Price

Goal: Increase awareness of the Chamber, its events, benefits and activities

This committee works with staff to develop chamber on-line and printed marketing strategies and goals.  Marketing and communication efforts include but are not limited to:  Web-Site(s), E-News, Social Media.


  • Create a Marketing Plan for the chamber:  Community Marketing & Membership Marketing, exploring marketing opportunities- social media, web-site, e-news, print media, radio, television, etc.
  • Develop plan for signage for Spring/Midland intersection at office building
  • Expand Social Media to include Twitter, Instagram and enhance current social media

Special Events Task Force

Goal:Raise Non-Dues Revenue through fundraising while providing networking opportunities for the members

The event task force groups meet to plan, execute and evaluate each event and members can choose to serve on one or multiple event planning groups.

  • Annual Banquet
    Chair Ginny Givens
  • Golf Tournament
    Chair Sean Ellerbee
  • Walton Derby
    Co-Chairs Keith Prather
  • Walton 5K & Half Marathon
    Chair David Dickinson
  • Business2Community Showcase
    Chair Renee Park

Chamber Operations Task Force

Goal: Maintain and implement guidelines for an efficient chamber


  • Set up 501(c)(3) Education Foundation
  • Satellite Office Locations Review

Community Development Division       Vice-Chair Patti Souther

*Education Committee - Chair Meredith Malcom

Goal: Support Public and Private High Schools as well as Higher Education

This group plans and implements the annual County-Wide Career & College Expo, Annual STAR Banquet and runs the Reality Check Program.  This group works closely with the Walton Proud Initiative.


  • Coordinate STAR Banquet
  • Coordinate College & Career Expo (High School Juniors)
  • Coordinate Reality Check Program in Schools
  • Assist with Walton Proud Initiative

Governmental Affairs Committee      - Chair Melissa Shannahan

Goal: Build strong relationships with city, county, state and federal officials

This group plans Legislative Day held annually in November and hosts political candidate forums for city, county, state and federal elections.  The group organizes participants for the State Chamber D.C. fly-in event.

  • Host Legislative Day in Walton with The Partnership
  • Assist with luncheon topics/speakers:  State of the Cities, State of the County, Post-Legislative Update
  • GACCE D.C. Fly-In – Walton Representation
  • Develop Legislative Agenda/Promote GA Chamber Legislative Agenda to membership

*Leadership Walton – Chair Kevin Little

Goal: To develop new and talented leaders for Walton County

Community members must be nominated and selected to be part of this group which meets for nine sessions to explore Walton County, building better leaders for our community.  The maximum class size is twenty (20) annually.


  • Annual Leadership Walton Class
  • Goal of 20-22 in each class annually
  • Coordinate involvement of Leadership Alumni Members

*Walton Proud – Chair Kenny Smiley

Goal: Promotions of A+ Education in Walton County

This committee will work to promote the Walton Proud Brand


  • Promotions to local industries
  • Annual Fall Bus Tour – possibly split into 2 days
  • Lunch & Learn at each school
  • Promotions:  Commercials on web-sites, decals for autos, t-shirts, thumb drives to business prospects, HR managers

*Youth Leadership Walton Program – Co-Chairs Marsha Queen & Kathy Ivie

Goal: To improve student awareness of Walton County and build leaders

This program is a combined effort of Leadership Walton Alumni and the chamber.  It is a 2-year program beginning the high school Junior year with CEO level leadership training, followed by community awareness programs for the students their Senior year.   The program is county-wide with participation from all Walton County schools.


  • Annual Youth Leadership Walton Class
  • Promotion through high schools for nominations
  • Coordinate involvement of Leadership Alumni Members

Economic Development Vice-Chair Ammie Elliott

Business Council – Chair Ginny Givens

Goal: Promotion of local business members to maximize their business growth

This committee promotes our member companies through recognition at chamber luncheon events and handles the nominations, selection and presentation.  This group organizes seminars and workshops for the membership and coordinates our Buy Local Campaign.


  • Member Recognition Awards
    • Re-evaluate monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly recognition
    • Re-evaluate by business size (small 25 or less employees and large over 25)
    • Host workshops/seminars for members
    • Buy Local Campaign


Existing Industry Council – Chair Brock Toole

Goal: To bring focus and awareness to our local existing industries

In an effort to bring more community awareness to our local industries, we host a minimum of one Industry Tour annually, inviting elected officials and chamber members to attend.  In addition, this group offers training opportunities on specific industry topics as needed or requested.


  • Host annual local industry tour
  • Coordinate Existing Industry Survey to include wage and benefits information
  • Host luncheon at Athens Technical College
    • Networking, Discussion of mutual challenges, issues
    • Workshops on topics of interest to manufacturing and distribution industries

Tourism Council – Chair

Goal: Promote Walton County as a tourism destination

This committee works on tourism promotions for Walton County and its tourist attractions, including researching areas of interest and promotion county-wide.


  • Antiques Capital of Georgia
    • Continue Promotions:  local map, rack card for welcome centers, web-site, social media
    • Quarterly meetings of members
    • Antiques Capital of Georgia Festival – April 2015
    • Promotions of city and county events
    • Support sports/athletic events and tournaments

*Workforce Development – Chair Jimmy Hogg

Goal: Implementation of programs to assist local employers and bring awareness to county youth of requirements, life skills, opportunities for employment in Walton County

This group will work with existing companies to better understand their labor and training requirements and needs and try to better match those with public and private education, K-12 and post-secondary.


  • Compile jobs listing of local industries, including minimum requirements, average wages, etc. and distribute to high school students
  • Promote vocational education training opportunities through a collaborative effort between Athens Tech and local schools
  • Work Ready Testing – discuss funding sources for test fees
  • Coordination and implementation of Intern for the Day Program
  • Support efforts of Walton Proud Campaign

*Programs funded through Walton Forward, Inc. Foundation


To download a complete copy of the 2015-2017 Business Plan click here