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Chamber President Named GACCE Executive of the Year
by Chamber News on July 25th, 2014

Myrna Ballard, President of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, was presented with GACCE’s top award last week – the GACCE Executive of the Year Honoring Kent Lawrence.  The announcement was made Thursday, July 17 at the 2014 GACCE Executive Leadership Conference held at the Lake Lanier Islands Legacy Lodge. 
For more than twenty years, the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (GACCE) has presented the Executive of the Year Award.  The association’s most prestigious award, it was created to recognize those members who give so generously of their time and talents for the betterment of the organization, for the assistance and support of their colleagues for the improvement of Chambers of Commerce, and for the advancement of the profession. The award is named in honor of Kent Lawrence who gave unselfishly to build the Chamber profession and to assist Chamber professionals in every possible way.  Kent retired from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and in recognition of his many years of outstanding service, GACCE renamed the award in his honor in 1991 – it is now referred to as the GACCE Executive of the Year Award Honoring Kent Lawrence.
Myrna has served the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber since 1997, and she has 28 years experience in community and economic development.  Through her leadership, she has driven her chamber to be recognized as 5-Star Accredited Chamber through the US Chamber of Commerce, has increased chamber membership by 73%, and was Georgia’s first chamber to be designated as an “Entrepreneur Friendly Community.”  She is a past Board Member and Chair of GACCE.   
Myrna is active in several community and professional organizations.  She serves on the South Georgia Workforce Investment Board, the Valdosta Early College Academy Board, the Valdosta Rotary Club, and the Valdosta Technical College Board of Directors.  She was the recipient of the Toastmasters Communication Achievement Award in 2013, and the Vocational Services Award of the Rotary Club of Valdosta in 2003.
Myrna was nominated for the GACCE Executive of the Year Award by not one, but seven former chamber chairmen.  As stated from Councilman Tim Carroll in his letter of recommendation for the award, “Ms. Ballard has consistently provided strong leadership with our Chamber Board.  She persistently strives to bring community stake-holders in both business and government to the table in order to tackle issues affecting business.”
Tom Gooding, Chamber Chairman in 2008, also added, “She quite simply in our collective opinion is…the best Chamber President anywhere.”

We congratulate Myrna on receiving this award!
GACCE is the professional society of chamber of commerce executives and staff in the state of Georgia.  The mission of GACCE is to educate, engage, and empower chamber professionals. 

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