Tommy Clark Begins Term as Chair at Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
On Jan. 1, Tommy Clark began his one-year term as chair of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce with a commitment to "keep fighting every day for a better business community in Albany."
"We have seen progress in Albany inch by inch. I know it's been slow growth and that it can feel like it is flat but as a banker, I can tell you this is sustainable growth," said Clark who is a vice president at Heritage Bank of the South.
"Our Chamber staff and volunteers have to keep buckling their chin straps every day and continue pushing forward. We can't fall off one bit."
Clark has been involved with the board of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce since 2010. He served as treasurer and chair-elect in the years leading up to 2015. After attending the Georgia Association of Chambers conference last November, Clark came away convinced that Albany is fighting the same battles as every other small town and big city in Georgia.
"Sometimes we think because Albany is located in rural southwestern Georgia that other areas have it better than we do. But really, we all face the same issues. It was eye-opening," Clark said.
In good order
The Albany Chamber begins the year in good order, with a balanced budget and an engaged and motivated membership, according to Clark.
"We have a great balance of youth and experience in the Chamber. It's a big advantage because we have the energy and fresh ideas from younger members mixed with the wisdom and experience of our older members."
That mix helps the Chamber stay relevant to the business community. Among the recent programs added to engage younger members is the Leadership Institute. Launched in August, the program provides training for young, emerging leaders. It includes classroom training and pairs each participant with a mentor.
"We have 13 participants in the first class, which graduates in May. We've had such positive feedback that we will probably expand the class to 15 or 20 participants this year," Clark said.
A return on investment
Over the course of the year, Clark hopes to encourage more members to get involved with the chamber and get non-members to join. He believes involvement is the only way to drive value.
"What is your value if you don't get involved? People pay to be members of the chamber but you will only get a return on that investment if you get involved. And you can only create value for the community if you get involved," Clark said.
The chamber provides a number of ways for members to get involved – from attending Lunch n Learn and Business After Hours programs to volunteering for a board committee. More information on the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is available at albanyga.com.