Heather Valudes, Vice President at the Lancaster Chamber, has been designated as a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) by ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
ACCE is an association based in Alexandria, Va., that has over 1,600 chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations as members, representing more than 9,000 professionals in the industry.
The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant’s knowledge of core chamber management areas —management; planning and development; membership, communications and revenue; and operations. Chamber professionals who are designated CCEs earned this prestigious recognition through hard work, countless hours of dedication to their field and leadership of their chamber to achieve the chamber’s goals.
“In the past year, these chamber leaders not only dedicated themselves to addressing local challenges brought on by the pandemic, but also invested many hours in their professional development to earn their CCE designation,” said Matt McCormick, CCE, IOM, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce (Mo.) and CCE Commission chairman. “We commend their achievement and are very proud to have them join a long tradition of professional excellence.”
Heather is one of sixteen chamber professionals to earn the Certified Chamber Executive designation in 2021. These leaders represent chambers of commerce in 11 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, as well as the Canadian province Ontario.
Here is our Q&A with Heather in regards to this exciting recognition!
Why are you excited for this recognition?
I am honored to have received my CCE. It is a rigorous process that really has you evaluate your knowledge of your chamber and how you make an impact in the community, while also looking at how you are contributing on behalf of businesses. I learned a lot through the process and am excited to have been awarded this distinction.
What do you appreciate about the Lancaster business community and community at large?
The Lancaster business community never fails to rise to a challenge, support one another, and focus on solutions. I am inspired by our business and community leaders and the focus on making Lancaster somewhere that everyone can thrive. Throughout COVID, we’ve seen businesses step-up in so many ways, but that comes from a long-standing history in our community and I’m so proud to be a part of it!
Looking forward, what initiatives or things are you looking forward to as a chamber executive?
We are facing a workforce crisis and yet, there are so many ways to come at it and address it. I’m looking forward to strategizing as a community on how we approach it from many different angles (education, diversity and inclusion, immigrant integration) and ensure that we have a world-class workforce here. Additionally, there are exciting things ahead for the chamber – we are a Chamber of the Year finalist, we are celebrating our 150th year next year – and all of that comes from the support and strength of our business community!