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James Named Chamber President

01/24/2017


Article from Commercial Dispatch January 5th, 2017

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Article from Commercial Dispatch January 5th, 2017

Lisa James is the new president of the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce.

Leadership with the Golden Triangle Development LINK, which oversees the Chamber, announced today it had removed the interim tag from James' title, offering her the permanent position.

James, 23, took over as interim president in August after her predecessor, Joey Bragg, abruptly resigned his post. She first joined the chamber in December 2015 as programs and events coordinator.

"We're excited about the potential for new growth and innovative programming from the Chamber staffers," said Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins. "They bring energy and initiative to the organization, and I'm confident that they'll take the Chamber to a new level."

In her new role, James said she will focus on growing the organization's membership with the goal of doubling it to 1,000 businesses and individuals.

Part of that recruitment effort, she said, involves making sure members get the most for their annual dues and that the Chamber better communicates member benefits.

"Membership (recruitment) has been neglected," she said. "We want to grow a more diversified, well-rounded organization. Because the bigger we are, the stronger we are and the more resources we have at our disposal.

"I'm basically just going to start by cold-calling people," she later added. "If you're not a member, watch out. I'm coming for you."

She will also work with the Chamber's board of directors, facilitate the organization's education and military committees, and help oversee the Lowndes Young Leaders and Golden Triangle Leadership programs.

James said she wants to bolster Chamber programs -- particularly through advertising, networking opportunities and taking advantage of increased technology -- to deliver a more tangible product to members. To do that, however, she said members must get involved.

"The chamber is an organization that you get out of it what you put into it," she said. "It's like a gym membership. If you get one, and you never work out, it doesn't do much good."

A Collierville, Tennessee native, James earned a communication degree with an emphasis on public relations from Mississippi State University in 2015. She lives in Columbus with her husband Josh James, a pilot stationed at Columbus Air Force Base.



New programs and events coordinator

The Chamber has also named Columbus native Emily McConnell as its new programs and events coordinator.

McConnell, 25, is a graduate of Heritage Academy who went on to earn a master's degree in sports management from MSU. Before joining the chamber, she worked for her family's business, McConnell Brothers Transfer and Storage.

"I'm really excited about her joining the team," James said. "As a graduate student at MSU, she organized (Southeastern Conference) track meets, and I know she'll be a great fit here. She knows the importance of a successful family business, and in her role here, she'll be representing businesses across the county."