Influence. Affect. Change. Touch. Transform. These words describe and define the action of making an impact on something or someone else. But what does it really take to be named a Chamber Impact Maker? And in what areas of Montgomery life are they most needed? We asked our past Impact Maker award winners to share their thoughts.
IMPACT MAKER 2019 NONPROFIT - Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: Karlyn Edmonds, Chief Executive Officer
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN IMPACT MAKER? An Impact Maker cares deeply about our community and works hard to make every day count as they strive to make it better. Impact Makers represent forward-thinking that will push our community and help it thrive. They are in the trenches, working every day to make a difference. An Impact Maker reflects so well the promises we make in our Girl Scout Law. They are honest and fair, courageous and strong, responsible for what they say and do, respect themselves and others, and use resources wisely. Perhaps most of all, an Impact Maker makes our world a better place.
WHAT ISSUE OR CHALLENGES IN MONTGOMERY NEED MORE IMPACT? We must make certain there is a bright future ahead for the children of our community. They need high-quality education and the opportunity to have experiences that prepare them for a successful life. To provide for their wellbeing now ensures that the River Region will thrive in the years to come.
IMPACT MAKER 2019 SMALL BUSINESS - The Montgomery Zoo: Melanie Golson, Marketing & Public Relations Manager
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN IMPACT MAKER? An impact maker is someone who sees a problem in the community and finds the solutions as well as the people who can address the problem and make changes. This person may not be able to physically implement the solution but has the ability to lead a team of people who can. An Impact Maker must be a strong leader who is not afraid of change or dealing with the push back from those who are resisting change. They must be a good communicator, able to explain the problem and solution in a way that many people can understand so they can get on board with implementing a solution.
WHAT ISSUE OR CHALLENGES IN MONTGOMERY NEED MORE IMPACT? The biggest issue I see in Montgomery is that people are afraid of criminals. They do not want to speak up when they see something or have some knowledge that will help the police with their investigation. We need more mentoring programs so that not just children but also adults have someone to teach them coping skills, leadership and conflict resolution techniques. We need to concentrate on adults, in my opinion, because children mimic what they see, and if adults are able to handle conflict without resorting to violence, children will learn the same things.
IMPACT MAKER 2019 MID-SIZE BUSINESS - Guardian Credit Union: Rachel Stewart, VP of Marketing
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN IMPACT MAKER? Being an Impact Maker is an honor as a member of the local community. The importance of the connections we make with each other are important on a personal and professional level. Impact Makers are genuinely looking to serve others. Making an impact does not always have to be a grand gesture; often the impact comes when we focus on the small details.
IMPACT MAKER 2019 LARGE BUSINESS - Alabama State University: Lois G. Russell, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN IMPACT MAKER? An Impact Maker leaves an indelible mark on her/his community. Impact Makers are legacy builders who work to make a difference by providing innovative and thoughtful solutions to community issues. Some of the characteristics are that they are innovative, aware and mission-minded. Impact Makers aspire to do great things while inspiring and helping others to achieve their own greatness.
WHAT ISSUE OR CHALLENGES IN MONTGOMERY NEED MORE IMPACT? One challenge is “brain drain,” particularly among millennials who choose local universities for higher education but then relocate after graduation to pursue their careers. The city would benefit greatly from cultivating local talent and showcasing more proactively the best that Montgomery has to offer and by building links between institutions of higher education and employers. Also, the pandemic has highlighted socio-economic disparities that exist nationwide and in the River Region. Having ongoing, city-supported initiatives that address disparities would create an equitable distribution of resources to form an economic shield against occurrences such as a pandemic. Institutions of higher education need to be at the forefront of these efforts.
IMPACT MAKER 2019 INDIVIDUAL - Charles Lee, Executive Director, That’s My Child
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN IMPACT MAKER? Being an Impact Maker to me means being an example for my community; examining ways I can make a positive change for those in my community; being able to listen to others acknowledge and affirm their feelings; showing kindness to all as well as respect and generosity; and holding myself and my community accountable. Impact Makers are also leaders, have a positive mindset, are the people others know they can always count on and last but not least, are trailblazers who are not afraid to make their own tracks!
WHAT ISSUE OR CHALLENGES IN MONTGOMERY NEED MORE IMPACT? Well, I wouldn’t be Charles Lee if I didn’t say that our youth are the main issue in Montgomery. Our kids are lacking in education, job opportunities and just a safe haven to grow. They are our future, and we have to start now developing their young minds.