The Leading Ladies of the Chamber
The Newnan-Coweta Chamber recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. In those 70 years, many community leaders have served as Chamber Chair, working in concert with the Chamber staff to promote and develop Coweta County and its economic prosperity. Among the scores of chair people who have served at the helm throughout the years, six women have served the annual term. Four of these women have served during the tenure of current Chamber president Candace Boothby. Since the glass ceiling of Chamber leadership was broken in 1986 by Joyce Smith, these magnificent women have brought their unique experience and personalities to their leadership roles, helping to steer the community toward prosperity and inclusivity without sacrificing professionalism.
Sprite-like and ruthlessly efficient, Chamber President Candace Boothby takes everything in stride and does nothing by accident. Boothby was raised by a Baptist minister who often shared that he had “the gift of administration but prayed for the gift of compassion.” Boothby seems to have inherited her father’s affinity for administration, as illustrated by her ability to manage first herself and then her staff in innovative ways that defy established business traditions.
A graduate of Baylor University in journalism with a minor in management and marketing, Boothby has always wanted to pursue a career in public relations. She sees her life as a linear progression driven by specific goals and the consecutive development of the skills she needed to achieve those goals.
She began her career as a chamber executive in Texas at the young age of 24, a fact the Chamber board was loathe to release to the press. But Boothby’s youth did not hinder her success. In the 30 years since that first executive position, she’s served three different chambers developing each
to its maximum potential during the years she operated them. She’s also accumulated the administrative authority and confidence to run one of the nation’s top-rated chambers. As with everything in Boothby’s path, it was no accident.
Boothby came to the Newnan-Coweta Chamber in 2003 during a time of shifting attitudes and policies in Newnan and among national chambers in general.
“The Chamber,” she says, “needed a new identity and direction.”
With the help of strong volunteer leadership, committees, and data analysis, Boothby steered the Chamber away from distracting community events and toward a central mission, increasing Coweta’s appeal for business development. This transformation began with gifting several community-supported events to organizations with which they were better aligned.
As a result, the Chamber was able to refocus on its core mission, building prosperity through business relationships and marketing the community to outside corporations. This mission continued with a branding campaign, Prosperity’s Front Door, that sought to unify community messaging across multiple industries.
Boothby also realigned the Chamber work environment to streamline and maximize productivity for herself and her staff. Her innovations include a monthly “Gnat Week” during which staff members set aside time to work privately on fundamental goals without distractions and a standing sacred Monday that is dedicated to advancing specific goals in whatever way employees feel is most productive. For Boothby, that’s generally from a home office where she secludes herself from everything and everyone to focus single-mindedly and with laser precision on consequential goals. During these windows of time, Boothby doesn’t take spontaneous meetings or tolerate benign interruptions. She’s resolute in her determination to prioritize the Chamber’s mission.
While her protocols have taken some getting used to, the results can’t be debated. Boothby and her Chamber are among the most decorated nationally.
While the first 15 years of Boothby’s tenure at the Newnan- Coweta Chamber have been about building a world-class, award-winning organization, Boothby says she’s dedicated to spending the next 15 years using that collateral to advocate for the businesses, organizations, and people that have the potential to continue creating the prosperity she envisions for Newnan-Coweta. She’d like to mentor other men and women through the Chamber executive chamber accreditation process and develop leaders who can continue to use the templates she’s established to create purposeful success and prosperity.