Michelle Hawkins, former owner/ operator of Alabama Weddings Magazine, has been chosen as the next president of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, replacing 20-year veteran Karen Odle, who is retiring.
Sandra Cleveland, 2022 chair of the chamber, recently announced the decision made by the chamber’s board of directors.
“The search committee identified the qualities we were looking for in a new leader,” Cleveland said in a statement from the chamber. “Michelle is a perfect match. She has proven her ability to serve as a dynamic collaborator and communicator who understands the important role the chamber plays in our community. These were the type qualities we were looking for.”
Hawkins founded the luxury magazine and ran it for 20 years. She started her career as owner of PRO-Motion Marketing Group in Jasper and has worked as a software design architect with Strategic Services Inc. in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and corporate interior designer with The Woodside Group Inc. in Atlanta.
“The opportunity to bring my experiences as a successful small business owner to the chamber is very exciting,” Hawkins said. “The foundation that has been established over the years by Karen is solid. I look forward to becoming a part of the team that can provide support to businesses of all sizes in the Vestavia Hills.”
John Henley, chair of the chamber’s search committee, said the committee listened to what chamber members wanted in a new leader and interviewed several candidates before unanimously approving Hawkins.
Hawkins is a supporter of local charities, frequent guest speaker and volunteer for event design work, according to the statement.
The chamber’s president is charged with leading the organization on a day-to-day basis, communicating with the membership, working on government relations/public policy and building partnerships. She also is accountable for financial growth and management, talent development and strategic planning and implementation. The president reports to the executive board and board of directors through an annually elected chair.
Members of the search committee, in addition to Cleveland and Henley, were Donnie Dobbins, 2023 chamber chair, First Horizon Bank; Keri Bates, Rocky Ridge Drug Co.; Doug Dean, Children’s of Alabama; Jeff Downes, city of Vestavia Hills; Linda Parker, Dream Vacations; and James Robinson, Spire Energy.