As we conclude this issue celebrating successful women in the business communities our magazine serves, it provides an opportunity to recognize the women who have risen to significant positions of leadership in the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
For only the second time in the 75-year history of the city’s primary business organization, a woman will serve as chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. The first female to occupy that position was Dr. Judith Carrier in 2005-2006.
Kellie Fischer, the Chief Financial Officer of The Texas Rangers Baseball Club, has received the gavel from outgoing Chairman Don Duke who, together with President and CEO Michael Jacobson, has piloted the organization through the only time in the Chamber’s history during a national pandemic.
Kellie will serve with other women who are chairing all but one of the Chamber’s major committees. They appear in the picture you see here.
Kim Crawford, a partner with Sutton Frost Cary, LLP, chairs the Finance Committee; Kelly Biegler, Public Affairs Manager for Atmos Energy Corporation, heads up the Public Policy Committee; next is Dr. Jacquelyn Minor, Academic Foundations Department Chair of Tarrant College Southeast Campus who chairs the Women’s Alliance Advisory Council; Beth Owens, Principal of BrandEra, Inc., became chair of the Marketing Committee; Stephanie Willmon, Director of Administration of Six Flags Over Texas/Hurricane Harbor, heads up the Partners in Education Advisory Council, and Joni Wilson, Senior Vice President of Affiliated Bank, is chair of the Business Development Advisory Council.
Jacobson’s enthusiasm for the roles they will fill is unmistakable. “The Greater Arlington Chamber enters its new fiscal year with a strong set of leadership,” he says. “It’s exciting to have this group of business leaders heading up our Chamber this year. We are reaping the benefits of engaging women across our organization.
“All Chamber groups are independently managed and elected. These women are active members of the Chamber and community that were nominated by their peers to champion the Chamber’s mission and core strategies. The Chamber serves an invaluable purpose in Greater Arlington as the voice of business in the community. They all have the ability to make an impact and leave their personal mark.”
It really is no surprise that women have elevated to the top of the organization. It was almost 10 years ago that the Women’s Alliance was created. Over the years, the Alliance has grown in strength, impact and numbers.
The Inspired Women’s Luncheon is a sell-out every year and is one of the Chamber’s largest events with over 700 attendees. Through the Women’s Alliance $92,500 has been raised and delivered as scholarships to deserving women.
The Women’s Alliance now has more than 340 members who actively engage together to support the growth of professional women and women-owned businesses. Thanks to the leaders in 2011, Beth Owens, Letatia Teykl, Sarah Merrill Young and Andrea Proctor, who had the vision to create an alliance that would foster an environment that would lead to the level of leadership that exists today.
This year has challenged every business, large and small, to innovate and develop ways to operate and prosper when COVID-19 lockdowns meant there would be no business as usual. A “new normal” would emerge in the ways people could access their places of employment, if at all, as everything changed for restaurants, shops, stores and even the city’s largest company, the General Motors Assembly Plant.
The emerging role of the Chamber was to innovate its service delivery system to all its members and become a resource where answers and solutions to challenges never faced before could be found.
That assignment now transitions into the hands of the new leadership described here, and all of the Chamber team fully embraces the assignment with confidence of the road forward.