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Royster named Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

VALLEY — Carrie Royster has been named the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, according to a news release from the chamber.

Chamber Board of Directors President Bill Gladden said Royster has the experience to fulfill the role.

“We are excited about this new chapter for the Chamber. Ms. Royster brings years of experience to the position and we are sure she will guide the chamber in a positive direction,” he said.

Royster, who is a LaFayette native, joined the chamber in 2014 and was promoted to marketing and events manager within the chamber in two years. While serving as manager, she produced the St. Paddy’s Day on the River event, the First Responders Breakfast and the Education Awards Dinner.

“I look forward to continuing to serve our community and our local businesses in the Greater Valley Area,” Royster said in a news release.

She said she wants to add on the momentum the chamber has moving into the future.

“I want to continue the success that the chamber has in the past and grow further,” she said. “We had 70 new members this past year, and we hope to break even or do even better.”

Gladden said when the board of directors looked at the options it had, he said there were some great options but none of them had experience running a nonprofit.

“We had Carrie sitting there who knew everything about running the Chamber already,” he said.

Gladden said the search took some time because the board of the directors wanted to talk to as many people as possible before deciding. All the time, Gladden said Royster was running the chamber during the search.

“Carrie when this all time came, she really stepped up to the plate,” he said. “She has really been running the place for six months. The board was really impressed with everything she had done.”

As for Royster’s marketing position, Gladden said there will be a replacement hired. However, the decision will be up to Royster as to what she wants the job to be and the duties for it. He said the board will approve the hire and that the person’s salary.

Royster said the position will most likely be an executive assistant position. She said she plans to keep the marketing and events duties for the moment. Because the organization is so small, he said it would be tough to hire somebody quickly and expect them to know the ropes right away.

However, she said adding a second person in the office would be a top priority.

The executive director position became open in January after the chamber announced its former director Ashley Crane was no longer with the organization. The chamber never announced why Crane wouldn’t serve as the executive director, citing it as a “personnel matter.”

The Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1963. The GVACC serves LaFayette, Lanett, Valley, West Point and the surrounding area.

The chamber is a membership organization that represents and promotes the interests of its member businesses. The chamber is located at 2918 20th Ave. in Valley in the Chambers Square shopping center.