The Chamber Network

September 22, 2016

network“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.” -Bob Burg

Networking, for some, is extremely intimidating. Don’t make excuses or say “I’m too busy.” There are too many networking opportunities to miss. Get a face with a name. It is, sometimes, walking up to people you don’t know and introducing yourself. That’s the first step, but that’s the baby step. What if we spent as much time on follow up and creating business opportunities that are mutually beneficial as we spend sweating the small stuff, the initial introduction, how successful could we be? People do business with people they know, but to really get to know someone, you need to know their story. Stories make faces more memorable. What’s your story?

networkingAs you meet new people, make them feel important, and this too will make your initial introduction more memorable. Each networking opportunity pulls a different crowd. Did we do our research? Who will be there? The speakers and hosts are easy to approach and thank for the opportunity. Don’t get caught on your phone. Be present in the moment and listen to conversation opportunities. Overheard shared experiences are segue ways and serve as easier introductions than even the best ice breaker.

network-1Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You never know if these people can help you land a kick-starter opportunity or your dream job. The Chamber is made of more than 1,000 members and businesses. These individuals and industries are the movers and shakers in the community. The Chamber, its board, staff and volunteers, work to provide networking opportunities that encourage member participation. Together everyone achieves more! Together, we want to create economic and professional growth opportunities for our members and create a community that is a dynamic place to work, visit and live.

The Future is so bright!

September 16, 2016

ylcc-logo-snipitThis Sunday, Youth Leadership Calhoun County’s Class of 2017 kicks off with orientation. Youth Leadership Calhoun County, YLCC, is a program of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce built to prepare students for constructive leadership and responsible participation in the affairs of the community. These area 11th grade students, from public and private schools throughout Calhoun County, are chosen by their counselors and principals to represent their school as future leaders because they demonstrate leadership abilities, high leadership potential, and exhibit concern for the community.

ylcc-hearing-from-farmers-marketThe program provides these highly motivated participants opportunities for leadership skills development through participation in training seminars and program activities. Each class is a diverse representation of the diversity of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups in Calhoun County. Each student, no matter their school or background, comes together to meet and develop mutual understanding, respect and trust.

ylccEach class meeting and program day focuses on community issues, needs, opportunities, problems and resources in our communities, while providing interaction with community leaders. YLCC participants are also shown and given opportunities for volunteer community involvement and service. Program Days include: Career and Mentors, Quality of Life, Local Government, Business and Industry, Jacksonville State University , Gadsden State Community College and more!

ylccThe overall mission of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce is to promote and sustain the economic growth of the Calhoun County Region, resulting in a community that is a dynamic place to work, visit and live. Our 2016 Plan of Action included areas of workforce development and educating area students of career choices here. Through Youth Leadership Calhoun County, we encourage our youth to find satisfying job opportunities at home in Calhoun County, so they too will want to live, learn, work, worship, play and raise a family here.

May the course be with you!

September 9, 2016

golf-2“If I hit it right, it’s a slice. If I hit it left, it’s a hook. If I hit it straight, it’s a miracle.” – Author Unknown

As Bobby Jones once said, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots. You get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” The important thing is to keep calm, have fun and play golf.

golfingEach year, the Chamber celebrates September as Salute to Industry month, and one of the highlights is our Salute to Industry Golf Outing. Held at various courses around our county, the format is a four-person scramble. For any non-golfer, a four man scramble teams four players together to compete, with each team member hitting from the team box, but they choose the best shot from the tee to play all their second shots from that location. Play continues as they again choose the best shot after all four team members hit and the hole is completed. The team records the holes score, maintaining the same format for all 18 holes. This format is great for new golfers because if they have a few bad shots, their three other teammates have the opportunity to make better shots, with some “pros” carrying the team.

salute-golfDuring our golf outing, we encourage participants to not form their own team, but tee up and make great networking contacts at this golf outing. Teams will be divided into A, B, C and D handicaps by a golf pro, and then divided into flights. At the awards dinner that evening, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be recognized. Registration includes green fees, two mulligans or shot re-do, one power drive or jumping up to the next tee box, range balls, door prizes and swag bag for each golfer. For more information, call 256-237-3536, or if you’d like to register complete and remit the registration form at

Did You Know? Golf Trivia Edition

  1. What word comes from the French word for student, “cadet?”
  2. What are the chances of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf?
  3. How many times did Jack Nicklaus win the Masters?
  4. What’s the average driver swing speed for a PGA Tour Player?
  5. How many dimples are on a regulation golf ball?

Answer Key

1. Caddy               2. One in 67 million          3. 6 times             4. 108 mph          5. 336

Do you know local industries?

September 2, 2016

Industry is defined as “economic activity,industry” “the process of making products by using machinery and factories.” It’s also defined as “hard work,” and from transportation, utilities, medical, education, manufacturing and government, Calhoun County is fortunate to have a strong and diverse industrial base that helps shield our community from economic downturn. Each of our communities are impacted and supported by industry, and those industries remain a cornerstone of opportunity and job creation in our county and region.

The Chamberindustry 2 touts September as “Salute to Industry Month” with events, including a golf outing and industry scavenger hunt. Our goal is to raise awareness about all our great industries and their contributions to our communities. So, how well do you know our county’s industries? Ask yourself and others the following questions to see how well you score.

  1. Which foreign country has the most industries located within Calhoun County?
  2. Two companies from which foreign country are the newest additions to Calhoun County’s industrial base?
  3. Who is Calhoun County’s biggest employer?
  4. Which company has the most suppliers in Calhoun County?
  5. Which industrial sector is Calhoun County’s largest?

industry 3If you want to learn more about local industries or test your knowledge, join us on September 9, from 8:00-Noon as we host an Industry Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by Bradford Health Services and EASTMAN. Teams will be comprised of two individuals. Both individual members of the public and representatives from area businesses and industries can participate, as we send teams out with clues detailing area industries throughout Calhoun County.  Teams will report back to the Chamber for lunch.  To register a team for FREE, call 256-237-3536.


1. Japan                2. Canada            3. Anniston Army Depot               4. Honda              5. Automotive

Networking 101

August 26, 2016

DSC00281If you look at this weekly insert in the Anniston Star, you probably read our references to Business After Hours, our monthly evening networking opportunity held the third Tuesday of every month, or Business & Biscuits, our monthly morning networking opportunity held the first Thursday of every month. Many professionals find these “networking” events awkward, shaking hands and exchanging business cards. Networking doesn’t have to be just that. Who is someone you’ve seen in passing more than once? Have you ever introduced yourself to them? Do you make a conscience effort to get to know new people? Do you “meet” people face to face or rely on online connections and “friends.”

People do business with people they know.

networkThe Chamber provides networking opportunities, like Business After Hours, Business and Biscuits and the Business EXPO, because we want to build connections for our members, our businesses and communities. Don’t necessarily go into these meetings with the mentality of what can they do for me, but instead, try to make a new friend. Remember the first day of school? “What do you do for fun?” “Do you have any siblings?” “What’s your favorite food?” Genuine connections can be made, if you try.


Often, if we wholeheartedly listen, new doors could open that we never expected. They share, while we learn and appreciate their story. Listening also has the potential to lay a strong foundation for friendship.


“Sharing is caring.” After you listen, share and make your story memorable. Customers like honesty, trust and meaning. Don’t just share what you think they want to hear because you’ll probably be wrong. Stand out in the networking crowd.


Some are often “afraid” to attend events because they don’t know anyone. Everyone knows someone, so don’t hesitate to ask for introductions or ask a friend to accompany you. Introductions act as referrals, seeing their friend introduce you opens new doors of trust.

Be Brave

Be you; be real. Sometimes, that means sticking your hand out and simply saying your name. Try new events with organizations, like the Chamber, and you never know where the door may lead. Connect, Engage and Prosper!

jsu sbdcThe Chamber’s Small Business Committee works with the mission “to promote the growth, success and recognition of small businesses by promoting training, networking opportunities, and engaging public awareness.”

From Shop Local to Small Business Month, the Chamber also has the opportunity to partner with the Alabama Small Business Development Center for Programs and Events. The SBDC at Jacksonville State University is a member of the Alabama SBDC Network.

sba1This month, on Wednesday, August 31, from 2:00-3:30 P.M. the Chamber and JSU Small Business Development Center are partnering to present “Small Business Certifications and Financing Opportunities” at the Chamber of Commerce. This event, featuring Scott Stewart from ADECA’s Office of Minority Business Enterprise, will cover business government contracting, business certifications, opportunities for women owned and minority owned businesses, as well as small business lending and loans and SBA resources and information.

sba 2Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the Small Business Development Center, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission.

There is no cost to attend this workshop, but seating is limited. Call 256-237-3536 or 256-782-5271 to reserve your seat.

exhibitor trainingIn 2015, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce with 4-Star Accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community.

Just this week, the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) awarded seven chambers the Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce distinction, including the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. board annual meetingThe announcement was made during the state’s CCAA summer conference. According to CCAA’s program description, “The Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program sets standards of excellence for chambers in the State of Alabama. It recognizes chambers that have achieved those standards while offering guidelines for those to improve their effectiveness.”

The designation looks at six standard topicannual meeting- boards: Organization, Mission Focus, Professional Administration, Financial Management, Communications, and, Advocacy. Jeremy L. Arthur, President and CEO of the CCAA, said the seven local chambers of commerce are a true testament to the chamber profession. “The accreditation process is very rigorous and highlights that each chamber is truly the ‘best of the best’ across our state,” Arthur said. “The commitment shown by each local chamber that receives the Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce distinction shows their continued commitment to the highest professional standards and assures their business members they are investing in an organization working on their behalf for the greater good.”

“The Chamber is honored and credits the involvement of our volunteers, our membership and communities for this distinction,” says Linda Hearn, IOM, Calhoun County Chamber Manager.

BAE System (Adopt)If you truly want to make a difference in your community, your schools and more, shop local. If we switched just 5% of the dollars we spent elsewhere and bought local, it would generate over $2 Million in new local sales tax revenue.

That means…

More Jobs …. Better Schools …. Support of Local Business …. Lower taxes with an expanded tax base …. Better Parks …. Improved Public Safety   …. Better streets and highways…

shop 2In the Small Business Administration’s Alabama Profile, 757,475 workers are employed by small businesses. Shopping local is an investment in our community. Local businesses employ our neighbors, friends, families, whose livelihood depends on small business success, and these businesses are customers of other local businesses, from utility companies to the local printer, accountants, farms and more.

Money spent here stays here, recirculating in our community, expanding jobs and business opportunities. Many local businesses are also those who fund and support local non-profit and community organizations that serve our area. Think of those who sponsor the t-ball team, that golf tournament or the community event down the street.

shopAs you shop and venture out to discover something new, think and keep it local. Choose Calhoun! While we are often drawn to the lowest price, we overlook the convenience and customer service provided by our neighbors. Think long term, jobs, emergency responders, schools and community. Keep our local economy strong by purchasing and utilizing our area products and services.

It is not only customer service and a friendly face that is lost when we don’t shop local. In a study from the UAB Collat School of Business, it is estimated that $2.8 million was lost in sales and use tax revenue for 2013, just through online sales. Think of how those dollars could help our schools, our public services, our communities. Money spent here stays here. When you shop local, it is estimated that more than 50% of the money spent stays in the community.

Your dollar makes a difference in our future! Think Local, shop local!

Your Voice of Business

July 29, 2016

forumIf you search online for the “Voice of Business,” Chambers of Commerce frequently appear on search engines. The “Voice of Business” is often defined as encompassing “the primary needs” of business, and many Chambers follow legislative issues on a local, state and federal level that could impact their business community.

The Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce tagline is “The Voice of Business.” Our Public Affairs committee works with the mission of representing and being a proactive voice for the members and the overall business community with all levels of government in order to improve and sustain a positive business climate. One of our organization’s Mission Focus Areas is “Advocacy.” Advocacy is defined as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.” Our cause is area business. Our proposal is our mission, “to promote and sustain the economic growth of the Calhoun County Region, resulting in a community that is a dynamic place to work, visit and live.”

politicsWithin our Public Affairs Focus Areas, we create a legislative agenda, describing our commitment and needs to create an improved business climate and quality of life for our region, to share with local, state and federal elected officials. We host Mayors’ Roundtables with our municipal representation and legislative updates with state and federal representatives and senators. With these events and opportunities, we strive to educate and raise awareness of public affairs programs and issues affecting our communities. We also organize political forums to, as our Vice Chair of Public Affairs Jack Brim stated, “highlight the candidates, providing the community an outlet to hear directly from their candidates and make the best decision as voters.”

Join Us for Our Upcoming Political Forums

Hosted by: The Anniston Star & Chamber Public Affairs Committee


Anniston School Board of Education Political Forum

Monday, August 8, 5:30-7:00 P.M.

Anniston Performing Arts Center – 1301 Woodstock Ave, Anniston


City of Anniston Political Forum

Tuesday, August 9, 5:30-7:00 P.M.

Anniston City Meeting Center, 1615 Noble St, Anniston


City of Jacksonville & Board of Education Political Forum

Location & Time: To be Announced


Town of Hobson City Political Forum

Monday, August 15, 5:30-7:00 P.M.

New Haven Baptist Church, 100 New Haven Road, Anniston


City of Oxford Political Forum

Thursday, August 18, 5:30-7:00 P.M.

Oxford Performing Arts Center, 100 Choccolocco St, Oxford


If you would like to submit questions for any upcoming political forum, please submit them via email to or post to Facebook and Twitter using #CalCoPolitics.

chelsey (2)The Chamber Staff is here to serve you, our members and our public, and this week, we added a staff member, Chelsey
Strong, to serve as Program Coordinator.

Chelsey grew up in Sylacauga, and graduated from Sylacauga High School in 2011. In December 2015, Chelsey graduated with her Bachelors in Marketing from Jacksonville State University, where she was also a member of the Marching Southerners Color Guard for two years.

chelsey (1)Chelsey has previously worked at Desoto Caverns, Farmlinks Golf Course and Webb Concrete & Building Materials, and she also served as the Chamber’s intern during the spring of 2015.

Chelsey recently married Jon Strong and enjoys spending time with him, cooking and exploring the outdoors.

Chelsey looks forward to learning more about the Chamber’s more than 1,000 members and how they are involved in Calhoun County and surrounding areas. Chelsey says, “I have a heart to serve and help people, and I believe that is what the Chamber is—a tool to serve the people of each business.”

Chelsey, we look forward to you engaging with members and creating opportunities for them to connect to the community. Welcome to the Chamber team!

Your Chamber Staff

web linda hearnLinda Hearn

Chamber Manager



web lisa morales

Lisa Morales

Tourism Director



web kim boyd

Kim Boyd

Membership Director



web emily duncan

Emily Duncan

Public Relations Coordinator



web judy myers

Judy Myers

Customer Service




Chelsey Strong

Programs Coordinator



Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center

1330 Quintard Avenue – Anniston, Alabama 36201

 (256) 237-3536  –