Chamber Leadership Development Program

August 12, 2019




The Chamber Leadership Development Program will provide comprehensive business development and leadership training to state and local chamber leaders and leaders of organizations that advocate on behalf of small and diverse-owned businesses.

The CLA program will leverage knowledge from subject matter experts in the higher education and business community to provide leaders with the necessary tools to grow sustainable chambers/chapters and advocacy organizations to effectively build and strengthen minority, women, LGBT, disability, and veteran business communities.

CLA's Four Core Competencies that participants will learn in-depth knowledge about:



Project Overview


The Chamber Leadership Development Program (CLDP) is aimed at educating and developing leaders of diverse state and local chambers of commerce to support diverse entrepreneurs. The CLDP will include university partners and will affect more than 400 chamber leaders through innovative programming designed to empower chamber leaders to better serve their local communities of diverse businesses. The training programs will happen in conjunction with each CLA members’ annual conference.


Meet the Experts!


Louise Chernin, President & CEO of Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA)


Louise Chernin is the President & CEO of GSBA, Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied Chambers of Commerce. GSBA is one of the oldest and is the largest LGBTQ Chambers in North America with over 1300 members. In addition to business development and advocacy on behalf of business and civil rights, GSBA sponsors a Scholarship Fund, which since 1990, has awarded over $4 million to 650 LGBTQ and allied students in Washington State. GSBA is also the sponsor of Travel Out Seattle, an LGBT Tourism Initiative created to increase revenue in the state of Washington.

Louise is a Board member of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and in 2015 was appointed by the Governor to the Seattle Colleges Board of Trustees and is the current Chair. Louise was honored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) with its Leadership Award and also so named by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the top 20 most Influential women in Puget Sound. In 2013, the Seattle Storm, Washington State’s WNBA team, presented Louise with its 2013 Inspiring Women award and the UW Women’s Center honored Louise with their Women of Courage award. In 2016, Louise was honored by the Puget Sound Business Journal with a Lifetime Achievement Award and this June, Louise was named by Business Equality Magazine as one of the 50 over 50 Legacy Leaders in the United States.


Deborah Carroll, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida and Director Public Administration at the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management

Deborah A. Carroll is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Administration as well as the director of the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management.

Her research focuses on management and policy issues of state and local governments, particularly related to taxation, revenue diversification, and urban economic development, as well as the interconnectedness of the public and nonprofit sectors and the implications for tax policy, nonprofit management and public service provision.

Her research appears in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Public Administration Review, Public Budgeting and Finance, The American Review of Public Administration and Urban Affairs Review, among other academic journals.

She served as treasurer of a local grassroots nonprofit organization called BikeAthens for three years. She was elected to the governing board of the Southeastern Conference for Public Administration (2011-2013), the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (2006-2008), and served as the editorial board member of Urban Affairs Review (2009-2011). She currently serves in the appointed positions of treasurer for the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management and associate editor of Public Administration Review.


Suzanne Smith, Founder & CEO of Social Impact Architects, Public Speaker & Top-Rated Blogger

Suzanne Smith (@snstexas) has a deep belief that everyone is a changemaker. As a serial social entrepreneur, she strives to harness the powerful force of organizations, including nonprofits, foundations and socially responsible businesses, and individuals, especially students and young entrepreneurs, to maximize the potential of the social sector to create real, scalable impact.

Suzanne has been at the epicenter of game-changing social solutions for more than two decades as a social intrapreneur. Her first jobs at the City of Garland and Texas Municipal League taught her the power and potential of local government to impact change. Later, she worked for Phoenix House to scale evidence-based prevention and treatment programs to Texas and for the American Heart Association to build a national state advocacy strategy. One of her greatest achievements was co-founding the Alliance for a Healthier Generation – one of the country’s first movements focused on combating childhood obesity – with a team from the William J. Clinton Foundation. She also co-founded Flywheel: Social Enterprise Hub in Cincinnati, Ohio, to help nonprofits build meaningful and sustainable social enterprises.

Suzanne holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where she was selected as the CASE (Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship) Scholar. Nationally, she was selected as a member of Peter Senge’s Society of Organizational Learning and Young Entrepreneurs Council. She also served on the national board of the Social Enterprise Alliance.


Angela White-Jones, Ph.D., Lecturer of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida 

Dr. White-Jones's primary research interests include:

· Grant and Contract Administration (pre-post award, monitoring);

· Social enterprises, NGOs, and Community Values

· Research Administration and Research Law

Dr. White-Jones teaches Grant and Contract Management, Strategic Planning and Management, Leadership and Organization Models in Research Administration, and Public Program Evaluation Techniques within the Research Administration and Nonprofit Management Graduate Programs.

Dr. White-Jones brings extensive professional experience in grants and contract management, research administration and advocacy in a number of sectors, but most extensively in NGOs/nonprofits. Dr. White-Jones believes in the connection between theory, developed data, and the dissemination of ideas through practical application and best practice development in the professional realm. Professionally, Dr. White-Jones has written and been awarded over $20 million in grants and contract funding in her young career.


Tony Vedda, IOM, CCE, President & Chief Executive Officer of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce

Tony has been the Chamber's President & CEO since 2007, following two years of service on the Board of Directors. His career in chamber management began thirty years ago as a membership specialist for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. Since that time he has worked with several general market chambers in Arizona and California, as well as five years as Executive Director of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Business Association, the nation’s first GLBT chamber of commerce.

Tony is one of 530 chamber leaders, and the only LGBT chamber leader, to receive the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) designation from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He is also a graduate of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management (IOM). Currently Tony has served on the US Chamber West Institute Board of Regents and the Institute Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the board of the North Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Association, and the Visit Dallas executive committee. He is a member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives (TCCE), as well as the Leadership San Francisco, and Leadership Dallas alumni associations.