Published on August 30th, 2023 | by TLV News0
The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce Announces New Leadership, Naming Pam Swain as New President and CEO
The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is very excited to announce the promotion of long time staff member Pam Swain as the Chamber’s new President and CEO after last week’s board meeting vote. Swain has been the Chamber’s Senior Vice President for 21 years and according to the board was the natural choice for the position.
Swain started with the Chamber in October of 2002, and has had the opportunity to watch the Chamber grow and change throughout her tenure. Not only that, she has watched Oxford and Lafayette County grow by leaps and bounds, and says she loves being a part of this strong, successful community.
Swain’s vision for the future of the Chamber and engagement in the community is what seemed to make her the best person for the job. She has spent over two decades creating and cultivating relationships with the professionals and businesses of this community, which in turn is what makes the Chamber so successful.
Jason Plunk, Chamber Chairman of the Board and owner of Bullseye 95.5, said of the hiring of Swain “We looked at hiring someone from outside who would take a year or two to grow the Chamber… or we could let Pam grow it from day one. It was a unanimous yay vote in favor of Pam from our board of directors.”
Swain’s list of accomplishments during her tenure at the Chamber include nearly doubling the membership, from 400 to 750 members, taking the annual budget from $250,000 to over half a million in annual revenue raised, and also tripling the amount of programs the Chamber offers for members to plug in to.
The most notable programming additions Swain has added to the Chamber’s annual program of work include the LOU Ambassadors program, the Young Professionals of Oxford organization, and the highly acclaimed Red Carpet Gala event. She has also grown the Double Decker Spring Run from around 300 racers to close to 2,000.
“Not many people know that the local chamber of commerce is a non profit and we are supported by only dues and sponsorships of events. Having over half a million dollar budget in a town our size speaks volumes to her leadership and connections to this community,” said Tony Deal, Chamber Chairman elect and owner of Deals Auto Repair.
City of Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said, “Pam Swain has been the face of the Chamber for many years. Pam’s passion and enthusiasm for promoting Oxford’s business community is unmatched.”
“Having worked alongside Pam [as a volunteer] for the last 10 years, I knew that nobody knew more about her dedication to the chamber than I did, and I knew she was the right person for the job. In my mind, her dedication to the Chamber all these years was the only interview we needed. We knew she was right for the job,” Plunk added.
Plunk added, “Her [Swain] list of resume qualifications would fill a book and way more than could be mentioned in one interview. I would truly have trouble narrowing her list of accomplishments down to a top 10.”
“Oxford’s thriving economy is the result of businesses and business owners who genuinely care about their community and look for ways to leave it better than they found it. I’d put Pam at the top of the list of those who are constantly looking for ways to improve on the quality of life we all enjoy. I am so grateful for her service to the LOU community,” Tannehill added.
In looking at the future for the organization Swain’s plans include continued growth in membership, with a goal of 800 members by next May, and an ultimate goal of 1,000 members over the next few years. She said she also wants the Chamber to continue to be a relevant to its members, give the members even more networking and marketing opportunities, and get even more visibility for the Chamber and its members. Within the next 6 months Swain plans to launch a new member to member app, a new brand and logo for the Chamber, and to continue to grow the events for the members.
Swain shared that it has been a busy year leading up to this change, “Our total number of events, including committee meetings, networking meetings, and other meetings is well into over 3,000 in the past year. With that many events we estimate an impact in total attendees to close to 20,000 people.”
With those numbers as a challenge, Swain intends to impact and gain more members through the work the Chamber and its wonderful staff does. She said she is “blessed to work with such a dedicated team of people who share this vision of working so hard together each day” and her challenge is to continue to adapt and change with the times, as well as give each member what they need to grow.
Swains community involvement includes being a member of the Baptist Hospital Community Advisory Board, United Way Board of Directors (where she was honored as Board Member of the Year in 2019), serves on the Oxford Tourism Council Board, is a Leadership Mississippi graduate, and is a member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council, the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, and the Southern Public Relations Federation.
As a parent of three boys in the Lafayette County schools, she knows the importance of a great education system in a community. She has been honored by the Lafayette County School District as Parent of the Year five times in the past eight years, was President of the Lafayette Endowment Fund for Education (LEFE) for eight years, chaired the Lafayette County School District Specialty License Plate Initiative in 2015 and also chaired the 93% yes voted Lafayette School Bond Referendum Chair in 2018.
Swain is married to Cory Swain and they have three boys, JP (17), David (14), and Jonesy (11).
The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce is the most dynamic business organization in the community where businesses and professionals come together to work to improve the business climate and quality of life for this area. With over 750 members, the Chamber strives to undertake programs and projects which seek a positive business climate conducive to growth of the private enterprise system, raising per capita income and providing strong financial, physical and human resources, for the citizens of Oxford and Lafayette County.
For more information on the Oxford Chamber go to www.oxfordms.com.