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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Macon gains new leader focused on growing the city

The Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce gained a new asset, President and CEO Yvonne Williams, this fall.

Her vision for the city includes branding a riverwalk along the Ocmulgee River, building more greenways and linear parks and making Macon friendly to bikers, walkers and skaters.

Williams said that she hopes to help the Chamber of Commerce become a “non-traditional” chamber that respects older establishments but welcomes young vision and young minds.

She wants Macon to become a hub for young entrepreneurs looking to “start their first technology company or creative business.”

“The Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce is a working partnership of business and professional people,” according to its website.

The new CEO returns to Macon, where she attended middle and high school, from Marietta after leading an extensive career in economic development and urban revitalization. Williams said that she worked for “18 years building the Perimeter Center in Atlanta.”  

During her time in Marietta, she also helped in the development of about $1 billion worth of infrastructure.

Williams holds degrees from Valdosta State University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Georgia. Additionally, she was involved in two Harvard Business School executive forum studies in nonprofit strategic planning and benchmarking for nonprofits.

Since beginning her new position, Williams has attended a myriad of appointments across the city and said she is attempting to “meet with people of diversity-- young people...institutional organizations.”  

Williams said that she anticipated meeting Mercer University President William D. Underwood at Mercer’s first home game Sept. 8.

Mercer University is a Cornerstone member of the chamber-- the highest level of membership within the organization and one held by only three others: Georgia Power, Coliseum Health Center and Navicent Health.

Currently, newly-elected Mercer Student Government Association freshman senator Harrison Ivins is working with Williams and the chamber to write a grant to receive funds to further revitalize downtown through art.

“(Mercer students) are going to have a seat at this table,” Williams said. “It is young people that will make up the Chamber’s young entrepreneurial network and that will help us define what the next five years will look like for Macon. I need the talent of the young people.”

Williams said it is her sincere hope that “conversations may be unified” and that the community and its leaders may work together to build one, successful Macon.


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