“I initially went into the program thinking I would immerse myself in it and try to graduate earlier. But, you are inundated with so much information, which turned out to be good because it allowed us to slowly implement pieces over time.”
— Christina Oxley, Craig Chamber of Commerce executive director, on graduating from the Institute of Organization Management, a leadership training program sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
After the New Year, Christina Oxley, Craig Chamber of Commerce executive director, took a trip to Tucson, Ariz., with her husband, Kevin, and newborn baby girl, Kaliyah.
But, it wasn’t to introduce the six-week-old to family or for vacation.
Rather, Oxley was at Marriot University Park to take part in a graduation ceremony from the Institute of Organization Management, a leadership and training program sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“The program was originally touted as the best professional development opportunity for Chamber or association executives,” Oxley said. “I attended the first year and found that all of the hype was very well-deserved.
“I can’t wait to put what I’ve learned to work for the benefit of the Craig Chamber and Moffat County.”
Oxley said she’s already been putting skills she learned during the four-year IOM program to use.
“I initially went into the program thinking I would immerse myself in it and try to graduate earlier,” Oxley said. “But, you are inundated with so much information, which turned out to be good because it allowed us to slowly implement pieces over time.”
While studying in the IOM program, the Craig Chamber reformed some of its financial and policy initiatives.
The next phase is to continue to expand the local Chamber’s reach in areas such as government relations and government affairs, Oxley said.
“That is one of the main reasons why Chambers are created,” Oxley said. “Advocacy on behalf of businesses at a state, local and national level.
“Doing that in a small community, with a small staff, is sometimes difficult, but learning what other Chambers have done throughout the country and bringing some of those ideas here will really benefit our members and the community.”
Since it began in 1921, the IOM program has educated thousands of association, Chamber and nonprofit leaders on how to build stronger organizations, better serve members and become stronger business advocates.
Participants must complete 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management, leadership, advocacy, marketing, finance and membership to receive IOM graduate recognition.
“Institute graduates are recognized across the country as leaders in their industries and organizations,” said Raymond Towle, IOM vice president. “These individuals have the knowledge, skills and dedication necessary to achieve professional and organizational success in the dynamic association and Chamber industries.”
Even though Oxley has graduated, she said she plans on returning to Tucson next year to earn continuing education credit or to serve as a classroom advisor.
“We live in exponential times,” Oxley said. “Our world is changing fast, particularly in the field of technology. IOM was, and will continue to be, a great resource for Chambers to ensure that we’re providing the necessary and cutting-edge services to our members, which is always our goal.”