chamber honored: Fran Bihm, executive director of the Rayne Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, holds the “Small Chamber of the Year” award presented to the Rayne Chamber during the recent Louisiana Chambers of Commerce Executives conference in Metairie.

Rayne Chamber garners state award

The Rayne Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture was named “Small Chamber of the Year” during the recent Louisiana Chambers of Commerce Executives annual conference in Metairie.
The winners were chosen by an out of state panel of chamber executives who reviewed the nominees’ applications.
On hand to accept the award was Rayne Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fran Bihm.
“It is so exciting to be judged by your peers and be recognized as a leader, not only in Louisiana, but by out-of-state judges,” Bihm said. “This shows that the Rayne Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture is a vital leader in our community, and is continuing to implement programs and projects for our membership and business community.”
Entries were encouraged to submit project examples and to cite multiple examples of projects for each award criteria in a clear, succinct manner. Recognition is based on the past 12 months beginning July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.
To be considered, a Chamber must submit examples of growth and progress in three areas vital to an organization’s success:
1) Community Development – How has your Chamber spearheaded or played a key role in positive community changes?
2) Organizational Development – What unique or highly successful programs makes your Chamber a stronger organization? and
3) Professional Development – How have you distinguished yourself as a leader in your community and your profession?
“I submitted the application for the Louisiana State Chambers of the Year award because I am extremely proud of what our Chamber has continued to accomplish these past two years,” Bihm explained. “My name is engraved on the award, along with the Rayne Chamber of Commerce, however, it is because we work together that we accomplish all that we do!
“Together we are the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives ‘2016 Small Chamber of the Year’.”
Jimmy Prevost, who served as president of the Rayne Chamber’s board of directors for 2015-16, credited Bihm for the honor.
“I  have always been impressed with Fran’s work ethic,” Prevost said. “She is a great salesman, organizer and promoter. She leads by example when it comes to working hard, promoting Rayne and working with the businesses in Rayne.
“We are fortunate to have a good person that loves what she does for a living.”
Other awards presented included Mid-size Chamber of the Year - River Region Chamber of Commerce representing St. John, St. James and St. Charles parishes; and Large Chamber of the Year - East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce.
“We are excited to recognize Louisiana’s Chambers and the valuable work they do for their business membership and communities,” said April Wehrs, 2016 president of LACCE.
“Louisiana has over 70 local chambers of commerce representing tens of thousands of businesses and their employers.  These chambers are highlighted through their excellence in organizational management, professional development and community advocacy.
“All three components are necessary for the chamber’s ultimate role of business development and advocacy.”
LACCE’s annual conference provides professional development opportunities to Louisiana’s Chambers executives. This year’s conference keynote speaker was Mick Fleming, president of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives - a worldwide chamber executive association.
Fleming presented ACCE’s “Horizons 2025 Report” highlighting the future of communities and businesses and the chamber’s role.
Other topics included regional collaboration for public policy advocacy, board engagement and social media trends.  Cathi Hight is also scheduled to present on membership retention and chamber trends.
The Rayne Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture has been an active member of this Association since 2014.

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