Meet Amy Jack­son, new Cham­ber CEO

The Catoosa County News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ta­mara Wolk Cor­re­spon­dent

Amy Jack­son is not new to the Ca­toosa County Cham­ber of Com­merce, but she is the new pres­i­dent and CEO of the group that rep­re­sents 375 busi­nesses in Ca­toosa County and neigh­bor­ing parts of Chat­tanooga.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port and con­fi­dence from the Cham­ber board in se­lect­ing me and the rec­om­men­da­tions and sup­port of Ca­toosa County, Fort Oglethorpe and Ring­gold city of­fi­cials, as well as the over­whelm­ing sup­port of Cham­ber mem­ber­ship on my se­lec­tion,” says Jack­son. “This has been a very hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Jack­son is re­plac­ing for­mer Cham­ber pres­i­dent and CEO Martha Eaker, who re­tired last year.

We asked Jack­son to share a lit­tle of her life and ex­pe­ri­ences with us. Here’s what she had to say.

Please share your his­tory with the Cham­ber.

I be­came a Cham­ber am­bassa- dor in 1999 when my fam­ily and I moved back to the area af­ter liv­ing in Sa­van­nah and Nashville for 10 years. I served as an am­bas­sador through 2002. I per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced how the Cham­ber can help in­di­vid­u­als build busi­ness and per­sonal re­la­tion­ships to in­crease sales and be­come more in­volved in the com­mu­nity while I was work­ing as the busi­ness sales man­ager for T-mo­bile in Chat­tanooga.

I started work­ing for the Cham­ber as mem­ber­ship co­or­di­na­tor in April 2016.

How would you de­scribe your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as Cham­ber pres­i­dent and CEO?

It is my re­spon­si­bil­ity to lead the Cham­ber in ef­forts to cham­pion busi­ness in Ca­toosa County by car­ry­ing out the Pro­gram of Work as ap­proved by the Cham­ber board of di­rec­tors. I’m thrilled to be work­ing with De­nia Reese, Ca­toosa schools su­per­in­ten­dent, who is the Cham­ber board chair for 2019. I love the Cham­ber’s in­volve­ment and part­ner­ship with busi­ness and ed­u­ca­tion.

What makes you ex­cited about your new po­si­tion?

The op­por­tu­ni­ties to make a greater im­pact on the Ca­toosa County com­mu­nity. I look for­ward to work­ing with lo­cal non-prof­its, busi­ness own­ers and lead­ers and ed­u­ca­tion en­ti­ties to pro­mote our com­mu­nity in busi­ness, work­force and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Does any­thing seem daunt­ing about your new po­si­tion?

Martha Eaker has held the po­si­tion of Cham­ber pres­i­dent and CEO for 12 years and has done a great job. I know these are big shoes to fill, but she has been a men­tor and has al­lowed me to par­tic­i­pate in de­ci­sions through­out my time at the Cham­ber, es­pe­cially since I was named pres­i­dent and CEO in Au­gust of last year. I look for­ward to get­ting the Cham­ber em­ployee team in place as we con­tinue the vi­sion and mis­sion of the Cham­ber.

What strengths do you feel you bring to your new po­si­tion?

Or­ga­ni­za­tion, plan­ning, re­la­tion­ship-build­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.

Any new ideas you’d like to im­ple­ment?

I’d like to have a Young Busi­ness Pro­fes­sion­als group and also an in­di­vid­ual mem­ber­ship for re­tired busi­ness peo­ple who have years of pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence to share and who would like to be a part of the Cham­ber.

Please share your job his­tory.

I was an ac­count mar­ket­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive for IBM in Sa­van­nah and in Nashville. I worked as a busi­ness sales man­ager for T-mo­bile in Chat­tanooga. And I’ve worked as the Colon­nade events co­or­di­na­tor and Cham­ber mem­ber­ship co­or­di­na­tor. I also worked sev­eral part­time jobs while rais­ing our two sons.

What are some com­mu­nity things you’ve been in­volved in?

I’m a mem­ber of Brain­erd Hills Bap­tist Church and a board mem­ber for both the North Geor­gia YMCA and Ca­toosa County Com­mu­nity Food and Benev­o­lence/ Stock­ing Full of Love. I’m on the steer­ing com­mit­tee for Ca­toosa County Schools Part­ner­ship and a board mem­ber for Ca­toosa County Schools From HERE to CA­REER! Col­lege and Ca­reer Academy.

Where did you grow up?

I’m the baby of five chil­dren. My fam­ily moved to Chat­tanooga (East Brain­erd) when I was in third grade. I went to Westview Ele­men­tary, Oolte­wah Mid­dle and Oolte­wah High School. I grad­u­ated from UTC with a BS in busi­ness man­age­ment. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, I mar­ried my hus­band Greg and we moved away for 10 years, then we came “home” to Ca­toosa County to be near our par­ents and to raise our chil­dren.

Please share some about your fam­ily.

My hus­band Greg and I will cel­e­brate 30 years of mar­riage in May 2019. We have two sons — Eric, 22, who grad­u­ated from Berry Col­lege in 2018, and Evan, 16, who is a ju­nior and a band mem­ber at Her­itage High School. My hus­band and sons are all ac­tors and have been in many mu­si­cal theatre pro­duc­tions at The Colon­nade, the Tivoli and at Her­itage High School.

Do you have any pets?

We have two pre­cious dogs that we re­fer to as “the girls.” Lexi is an 8-year-old Yorkie and Joy is a 3-year-old Shih Tzu. We adopted them both from other homes. Any hob­bies?

Watch­ing mu­si­cal the­ater stage shows, es­pe­cially ones my hus­band and sons are in. I’m a great au­di­ence mem­ber!

We just en­joyed our first trip to New York City and saw three Broad­way shows. We have sea­son passes to the Fox Theatre in At­lanta.

I love to plan gath­er­ings and game nights with my “theatre moms” group. There are 10 of us who have grown close over 12+ years of our kids do­ing com­mu­nity theatre.

I like to stay busy and plan mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences close to home.

Most of our out­ings are lo­cal or within two hours of home — At­lanta, Gatlin­burg, Knoxville or Nashville.

Fa­vorite movie?

“Gone with the Wind.” I first watched it in the the­ater at age 6 and have prob­a­bly seen it 15 times in my life­time. It’s a clas­sic.

Fa­vorite food?

Chick-fil-a and Coca Cola.

Fa­vorite per­son from his­tory?

I’ve loved Abra­ham Lin­coln from a very young age. I think it’s be­cause he held our coun­try to­gether dur­ing its dark­est days.

Sports fan?

Not re­ally. We are band par­ents and en­joy a foot­ball game for the half-time show. Fa­vorite quote?

“Don’t find fault, find a rem­edy.” — Henry Ford

Some­one who has had a deep in­flu­ence on your life.

My mother, who passed away three years ago. She cre­ated mem­o­ries and al­ways made peo­ple feel like they were the most im­por­tant per­son in the world at any spe­cific time. I love to cre­ate mem­o­ries for those I love and care about. I used to post pic­tures on Face­book so my mother could see what the kids were do­ing and what was go­ing on. My par­ents al­ways en­cour­aged me to live out­side my com­fort zone. I’m pretty sure they are en­joy­ing my Cham­ber jour­ney!

What is an event in your life that has helped de­fine the kind of per­son you are?

Learn­ing to live on my own while I was in col­lege, which pre­pared me to live in­de­pen­dently while my hus­band was de­ployed over­seas for Op­er­a­tion Desert Storm.

What are some things peo­ple may not know about you?

I’m afraid of frogs. I was once an Army wife. My hus­band was de­ployed in a tank com­pany in Iraq for seven months in 19901991. It feels like a life­time ago. Also, I love busi­ness!

In sales and in life, you have to get the “no’s” to get the “yeses.” Cold calls are a great op­por­tu­nity to meet oth­ers in my com­mu­nity and I en­joy that.

/ Con­trib­uted

Amy Jack­son, pic­tured with her hus­band Greg, was cho­sen as the new pres­i­dent and CEO of the Ca­toosa County Cham­ber of Com­merce, ef­fec­tive Jan. 1, 2019.

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