Clayton Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Dana Wooten, was named Chamber Executive of The Year by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. This award recognizes Wooten’s ambitious vision for Clayton, her dedication to this community, and the Clayton Chamber of Commerce standard of excellence. After a year pause as a result of COVID, Wooten also earned her Institute of Organizational Management (IOM) credential at the conclusion of the meeting.
In October 2021, The Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executive hosted the Annual Management Conference in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. This conference connects chamber executives from North and South Carolina and helps them stay updated on trends and management strategies. Both of which Wooten believes to be vital to achieving success within the community and her goals for CCOC.
At the conference, Wooten’s passion and strategic approach to work is what led to her recognition. This award recognizes long-term executives who have excelled within their communities and projects. It celebrates innovation, leadership, organizational management, professionalism, community reputation/involvement, and personal attributes.
Wooten began her career at CCOC with 12 years of non-profit management experience, and this December will be her sixth year with CCOC.
When Wooten became the Clayton Chamber of Commerce Executive, she established a plan. She is goal-oriented and focused on the future of Clayton. Her projects and efforts have served our town educationally and economically and have improved the overall quality of life for Clayton and Johnston County residents.
“It’s very important to have a road map. You need a plan to build upon,” said Wooten.
Wooten has expanded her 3-Year Strategic Plan for Clayton through various projects and by setting intentional goals for the present and future of our community.
Identifying the Clayton Chamber of Commerce legacy events was one of Wooten’s early goals. She worked to streamline the organizational processes and marketing efforts for such events. For example, her work with Harvest Festival helped ensure the event bounced back better than ever after the COVID-19 related cancellation in 2020.
“What can we do to give back to Clayton and our investors?” This is a question Wooten often asks herself.
To give back, she emphasizes producing and cultivating value through the CCOC projects. CCOC involvement in JoCo Works, Launch JoCo, and the STEP have brought value to our town and surrounding areas by nurturing business, the workforce, and our students.
Joco Works is a program that introduces Johnston County 8th graders to career development. The CCOC was responsible for producing the program's marketing materials. Launch JoCo is a recently developed initiative led by CCOC. The focus of this project is to supply mentoring, networking, and funding to local, budding businesses. STEP, Students To Entrepreneurs Program, partners with Clayton High School to provide students an opportunity to explore entrepreneurship with the guidance of a mentor.
Each of these projects targets unique audiences with a similar intention. CCOC strives to create a mutually beneficial cycle. They generate effort and opportunity, and in return, Clayton produces businesses, big ideas, and a community full of innovation and excitement.
Wooten’s next goal for the Clayton Chamber of Commerce is to receive national accreditation from The Association of Chamber Executives and the National US Chamber.