Chamber appoints new president

Published 2:01 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

When Mary Lou Williams treated her out-of-towner sister to a Montevallo outing, she was again reminded of the city’s rich diversity.

The ladies strolled through Orr Park, took in art exhibits at Parnell Memorial Library and the University of Montevallo’s Bloch Hall Gallery, lunched at the university cafeteria, shopped at the university bookstore and visited a local knit shop.

As the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce’s new president, Williams now wants to remind residents and out-of-towners of the city’s tourism and recreational opportunities.

“People who live here don’t always see what a great place this is to visit,” said Williams, who was appointed by the chamber’s board of directors last month. “And we need to help (tourists) be prepared to have the best possible experience here.”

Williams began work at the Chamber Jan. 5. She succeeds Ben McCrory, who is now the mayor of Montevallo. John Kirby, chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors, said he and the board are looking forward to working with Williams.

“We latched on to her in a hurry,” Kirby said. “She’s well known by the community so we’re all excited about having her.”

Williams, of Boaz, retired as University of Montevallo Director of Development and Alumni Relations in March 2008 after 28 years at the post.

Williams said her responsibilities at the Chamber are closely aligned with her past responsibilities at the university – event planning, fundraising and membership development. William’s first priority is member recruitment and developing member incentives.

Williams encourages prospective members to attend the Chamber’s regular monthly meeting Jan. 21 at noon at Parnell Memorial Library. Margaret E. Daum of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. will be the guest speaker.

During her tenure, Williams hopes to broaden outsiders’ perspectives of her adopted hometown.

“I have a prejudice toward small towns,” she said. “Life in a small town is so gratifying.”