Editorial: New chamber name offers more inclusion

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The Phenix City-Russell County Chamber of Commerce announced this week its name change to East Alabama Chamber of Commerce.

As a board member, I’m thrilled to see the name changed for a couple of reasons. First, typing “East Alabama Chamber of Commerce” in a story is a lot easier than typing “Phenix City-Russell County Chamber of Commerce.” But second, the name opens the door for more inclusion.

Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe ran his campaign on inclusion and continues to advocate for everyone coming together under one community. He talks about it every chance he gets, and I hope people around here are buying into it.

I feel like the chamber changing its name follows suite. There are quite a few businesses in Smiths Station that need to join the chamber and all it has to offer. But joining one that doesn’t reflect your identity feels amiss. Ladonia is certainly in Russell County, but that area is starting to form its own identity as well. Crawford, too. Calling the organization “East Alabama” just feels right when you’re trying to attract the members who are outside of the Phenix City area.

I wanted to be on the Board of Directors for the chamber for a number of reasons. I believe in the ability of the organization to bring new businesses to the area. I believe it has the responsibility of helping already established businesses reach full potential by advertising through social networking. I also believe in the practice of shopping local. Finally, I believe the chamber has the ability to inspire young people in the community to get more involved in events and businesses like the Columbus chamber has done through its Young Professionals program. Our chamber had a similar program that it launched, but we’re working on making it better.

Those are all reasons I wanted to be involved in the chamber and now that it is more inclusive, I’m happier than ever to be part of it. The name change didn’t just happen. It was voted on by chamber members, so it seems the community was looking for the change as well. I’m excited to see what else is in store.

By Denise DuBois, Executive Editor