The Van Buren Chamber of Commerce has named Julie Murray as its new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
A graduate of Van Buren High School, Murray is an experienced business professional with an extensive background in strategic planning and community development. She spent the last four years as Executive Director of the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Prior to her directorship at the Heber Springs Chamber, Murray worked at the Walmart corporate office in strategy and development, as well as the global communications department. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Science in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University. In 2018, she graduated from the Community Development Institute and passed a rigorous exam to earn the certification of Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED).
As head of the Heber Springs Chamber, Murray oversaw the transition from a festival driven chamber to a membership driven organization. She also helped secure a new, more visible location for the institution. Murray also established a working chamber foundation and procured grants to establish a Chamber Champion Leadership Development program. Murray and her staff accomplished all this while maintaining a 90% membership retention rate.
Murray will step into the role previously filled by Terry Carson. Carson was hired by the board last March. From the beginning, Carson indicated his tenure would be short-term. “My goal in taking the job was to help with membership recruitment and retention while the board continued in its search for a permanent placement,” he noted. “It has been a privilege to lead the organization over the last year and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served. I am leaving this job in very capable hands, as the board has a made wise choice in naming Julie Murray as the new President/CEO.”
Board Chair David Young agreed. “Julie brings with her a wealth of chamber experience and has a strong background in business and marketing. She has a passion for economic development and as a Van Buren alum, has important ties to our community. She also has a proven record for driving growth and in strengthening relationships among chamber members and community groups. We are thrilled to welcome her back to Van Buren and are excited to see all that she will accomplish.”
Murray will begin her new role on April 8.