Chamber moves forward with new Ambassadors Program

W. Curt Vincent -

ELIZABETHTOWN — If a plan by the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce to implement a first-ever Ambassadors Program goes as its board thinks it will, the sky could be the limit for future growth.

On Thursday, about 18 Chamber members gathered at San Jose in Elizabethtown to begin the process of creating the new working arm of the Chamber.

“We’re excited about the potential to advance the exposure of the Chamber,” said Lisa Clark, who is serving as the chairman of the Chamber’s committee to select the first class of ambassadors. “We need to stop thinking small and start thinking on a larger scale. To do that, we have to have more feet on the ground.”

The Chamber board has been working on the aspects of an Ambassadors Program for a number of months in an effort to put together areas where the ambassadors can assist the Chamber in its mission to promote businesses throughout the county. It is the hope of Chamber board members that the Ambassadors Program will help to extend the Chamber’s reach into other areas of Bladen County.

“We hope this is something that just grows and grows,” said Dawn Maynard, executive director of the Chamber. “Not only the Ambassadors Program, but the Chamber as a whole.”

Maynard has served a number of years at the helm of the Chamber, and has often been forced to take on projects and events almost single-handedly. With the Ambassadors Program, that could start to change. Clark said the new ambassadors, in addition to assisting with existing programs, may decide to initiate an entirely new fundraising event and other Chamber activities.

Charlotte Smith, president of the Chamber, said she is thrilled to see the new program getting kicked off.

“We’re super-excited to get this new program off the ground to help promote business and chamber events,” Smith said. “The positive possibilities are endless.”

Clark took the benefits of an Ambassadors Program a step further.

“I’ve been a part of an ambassador program before and it really created a special bond with the members that has lasted beyond serving on the committee,” she said. “Not only will people notice you out in the communities more, but you will meet and work with people that wouldn’t have been possible before.”

About 12 chamber members filled out applications to become ambassadors in the first class, and several others are expected to file applications soon. Clark said the board is hoping to start with a class of 12 ambassadors, but that number could grow some depending on the applications.

The Chamber board will peruse the applications and discuss them at its April board meeting. At that time, the board could vote on appointing ambassadors and, at the Chamber’s annual banquet in June, the first Ambassadors Program class will be officially inducted and introduced to the Chamber membership.

According to Smith, a new application process will begin in March for the Ambassadors Program. At that time, current ambassadors can reapply and new applications will be taken — and the process will start anew.

Anyone who may be interested in applying to be a Chamber ambassador should go online for an application at or contact Smith at 910-876-5393, or Maynard at the Chamber office at 910-862-4368.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent

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