Southaven Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carmen Kyle has achieved recognition from a program sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Kyle, who has been Chamber executive since 2014 has, along with her work with the Chamber, been part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Organization Management (IOM), which is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, an arm of the national non-profit Chamber organization.
"I was involved in the Southeast Institute, which is in Athens, Ga. and attended there for four years," Kyle said. "They are week-long sessions and you have to complete 96 hours of course work. It covers everything from marketing to finance, communication, technology, membership and leadership. They take you all the way from how to create a leadership program to how you can become a stronger leader."
The U.S. Chamber has offered the IOM program since 1921 and it is aimed not only for local Chamber leaders, but also geared to benefit other association and non-profit leaders. Close to 1,000 people attend the Institute annually at four locations across the country, including Georgia, where Kyle took part in the program and received her certification diploma on June 28.
Using the skills learned over the past four years, Kyle believes she can help forge a stronger Chamber of Commerce to help in the growth of Southaven.
"The stronger a Chamber of Commerce is, the healthier your business environment is," Kyle said. "When you have a healthy business environment, people want to come and set up shop. It creates jobs and creates a tax base, which creates a quality of life for the amenities that a municipality is able to provide."
Kyle added that the connections she made over the course of the program have helped discover what other organizations are doing in their communities, items she has been able to bring back to Southaven.
"I have been in the same class of about 35 people for the past four years," Kyle said. "Right now, I can shoot them an email and ask what their marketing package looks like, or what does their economic development package look like. It's a sharing of information among the class that you are put with. It's that collaboration and sharing of information of what somebody else does all across the country."
But Kyle said she also learned there many things the Southaven Chamber is doing right in their work with the business community.
"I think when our focus is on how we impact the bottom line of a business, that's how we thirve," Kyle said. "The relevancy is impacting our local businesses and learning how to do that. I think we're doing that."
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.