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Chamber receives CCAA accreditation

The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce was in rather elite company Friday as one of four chambers to receive distinction as an Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce.

Greenville joined the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah County as the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) made the announcement at the organization’s summer convention in Point Clear.

The Accredited Alabama Chamber program is one of the most prestigious in the CCAA, and it sets the standards of excellent for chambers across the state.

It also recognizes chambers that have achieved those standards while offering guidelines for those to improve their effectiveness.

Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Francine Wasden said that she was excited to be a part of the state organization and to have the opportunity to apply for an honor of this caliber.

“We went through some rigorous standards through financing—we had to give them a lot of information about our chamber,” Wasden said. “We’re excited that we were able to do that, and that we’re running an operation that meets all of the qualifications.

“We’re in good standing as far as finances are concerned, we have all of our insurance in place and we’re running the organization the way it needs to be run.  We’re a member organization, so we really feel strongly that we’re representing the 330 businesses in our community.  We want to do that to the highest standards possible, and that’s what this really signifies to me—that we’re doing that really appropriately.”

Though 330 businesses many seem like a large figure, the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce was one of the smallest chambers to receive the distinction, which made the occasion all the more special in Wasden’s eyes.

She attributed the Greenville chamber’s board members and its history of organizational skills for its appeal to the CCAA.

“I really think it was several different factors,” she said. “I think being organized and having all of this information readily available—and I have to say that we have kept good records for the past 10 years.

“We have a great board of directors who are very supportive in helping me put this together.  It takes a team effort, and we have a really good organization that works together, and I’ve very proud of them.  And I hope they’re proud of us, because I feel like we really work hard to be the best we can be.”

The Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program looks at six standard topics: Organization, Mission Focus, Professional Administration, Financial Management, Communications, and, Advocacy.

“As one of CCAA’s most prestigious programs, the Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program shows that each chamber receiving the distinction is committed to the highest standards of organization management.  This distinction recognizes local chambers of commerce in Alabama that strengthen free enterprise by protecting their local business environment,” said Bill Sisson, President & CEO  of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and the CCAA’s 2017 Chairman of the Board of Directors. “They most certainly represent the highest standards in our profession.”

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.”

Though the accreditation doesn’t offer any tangible awards for the chamber, the legitimacy is a prize in and of itself.

“It’s just saying that what you’re doing is relevant, and that’s what it’s all about,” Wasden added. “Working for our businesses, working to improve our quality of life and working to bring new businesses in—that’s what we do every day.