Valerie Barnett doesn’t have a lot of free time on her hands.
A real estate operations manager at Hodnett Cooper, she has a demanding, full-time job. Barnett is also extremely active in the community. Among other organizations, she serves as president of the Brunswick Junior Women’s Club.
While she has her hands full and must carefully choose which groups to be involved in, there’s one Barnett refuses to give up: the Chamber Ambassador Program. She feels it has given her even more insight into the workings of the local business community.
“Joining the ambassador program was a great way for me to get involved and become aware of what’s going on in the community,” Barnett said. “It helped me get a first hand look into the great impact our board of directors have in our area.”
The Chamber Ambassador Program includes more than 40 members of the local business community who want to help further the reach and work of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce. They are tasked with being the faces of the chamber, being present at the organization’s sponsored activities and trying to recruit new members.
It’s something Barnett, now serving as ambassador chair, feels is invaluable for members of the business community.
“I am the current chair of the ambassador group which falls under Vice Chair Greer Ward’s Program of Work: Membership Recruitment and Retention,” she said. “I would recommend joining the ambassador group because it opened my eyes to the surrounding community and how to get involved and be part of future decisions.”
Sarah Butler has also benefited from her time with the program. Since becoming a member, the communication manager at ITI Marketing says she’s grown both professionally and personally.
“I love the ambassador program. At the time I joined, I needed a way to build community relationships and get in front of a variety of industries. Becoming an ambassador opened more doors than I could have ever imagined,” she said.
“I have built both professional and personal relationships, worked alongside and learned from experience community leaders, and invested myself back into my community.
As a transplant into the Golden Isles, the ambassador program helped me to find my place within the community.”
Butler feels many others who are new to the community could benefit from involvement with the business newtorking organization. She says the chamber provides many resources that help professionals connect and ultimately grow their business.
“I believe in the chamber and the tools and resources it provides. The staff is amazing and does a wonderful job at catering to their members to ensure long-standing business growth and engagement throughout the community,” she said. “If you are looking for someone who is really going to stand behind the business community as a support system — the chamber is where you are going to find that support.”
The chamber staff feels just as strongly about its ambassadors.
According to director of membership services Christy Carter, these individuals are able to provide a level of outreach that would be impossible otherwise.
“They encourage members to become involved and help them to learn more about chamber programs and initiatives. They dedicate time to interact with other business entrepreneurs, professionals and other individuals on behalf of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce in person or by telephone,” Carter said.
“They donate their time and talents to help the chamber with its many activities.”