Tourism director graduates from leadership training institute

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

Larry E. Gobble, Tourism Director for the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce, and Robin Lowe, administrative assistant, recently graduated from the Institute for Organization Management, a four-year professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held at the University of Georgia.
For more than 80 years, chambers and associations have used the institute as a training platform for the professional development of their future leaders. Graduates receive a certificate in Organization Management.
The week-long course is held once a week in June, Gobble said, "but that one week is from like 8 o'clock in the morning to, most nights you don't get done 'til 10 p.m. It's jam-packed with stuff all day long."
The course gives participants a broader feel for their jobs. "For example, they hold courses on economic development, management, payroll -- just anything you can think of that deals with the chamber," Gobble said.
Some of the courses Gobble took this year included "Sponsorship Solicitation and Sponsor Programs," "Inspiring and Embracing Change," "Teaching Economic Development Planning," "Advancing Your Organization through Cooperation," and "Issues and Trends at Town Hall."
One of the biggest rewards of the four-year course, he said, is "you go through with the same people and you form a bond. In my class there were like 40 other people and we went through the same thing over a four-year period.
"The e-mail makes it so nice now. If somebody has a problem out there, they just send an e-mail to everybody, and sometimes within just a matter of minutes, someone sends them a solution," he said.