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Making a difference

Conway Chamber hires new membership director

By Tammy Keith

This article was published February 2, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

jimmy-d-warren-ii-28-of-conway-was-hired-as-director-of-membership-for-the-conway-area-chamber-of-commerce-he-and-his-wife-moved-to-the-city-three-years-ago-and-are-heavily-involved-in-the-community-he-said

Jimmy D. Warren II, 28, of Conway was hired as director of membership for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife moved to the city three years ago and are “heavily involved” in the community, he said.

Jimmy D. Warren II is used to working hard, so he’s not worried about his new job as director of membership at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.

Warren, 28, said he held jobs while attending Crossett

High School and Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

“Initially, I started out thinking I was going into management and marketing,” he said. “After I got my first-semester report card, I knew I needed to choose a different path.”

Warren said he decided to major in communication because he reasoned that no matter what the job, “you need to communicate effectively.”

He took a lot of journalism classes.

“I actually worked for the Arkansas Tech newspaper briefly, [and] I was on the debate team and in the Student Government Association,” he said.

After he graduated, he worked as a graduate assistant at Tech in the education department.

He then worked for Hewlett-Packard in Little Rock and moved his family to Conway about three years ago when Hewlett-Packard opened its facility in the city.

Warren said he started in the area of the company that had layoffs but had “already moved to inside sales” when that happened.

He said he has long been interested in making a difference in his community.

Warren volunteered in January 2013 for a National Day of Service in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration.

“We were making sure that people were pledged to volunteer,” he said. “We worked with numerous organizations — the American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club, making sure people had good understanding of those organizations and how they could be involved.

“I met Chelsea Clinton and Eva Longoria; she was there.” Warren said the actress “does a project that puts books in communities with impoverished children.”

He was more excited to meet the former president’s daughter, though.

“She talked about the importance of being involved in the community and how our generation has to make sure that we are visible in the community in volunteering and making sure we’re laying the foundation for the next generation,” he said, “because they’re going to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Warren said he started looking at opportunities to make a difference in the community that he’s grown to love.

“I love it. I love the environment, the atmosphere, the people,” he said. “We are heavily involved in the community.”

He and his wife, Shakira, have two daughters, Amaya, 6, and Alivia, 2.

Amaya, a student at Carolyn Lewis Elementary School, participates in basketball, cheerleading and gymnastics, he said. Alivia is in gymnastics.

He started his new job Jan. 6. Warren is taking over for Whitney Cummings, who moved to director of events for the chamber.

Warren said his responsibilities include “day to day, making sure that the chamber has a positive relationship with all of its members; collecting on any past-due memberships; and helping with numerous events, such as Toad Suck Daze, luncheons and Membership Maximizers.

“I’ll be having my hand in it in some type of way,” he said.

Brad Lacy, president of the chamber, said Warren “brings a great skill set to our organization, including his experience in the private sector.”

“Jimmy impressed us with a number of things, including his experience in a sales organization that is results-driven and focuses on the customer. We believe he will bring that same level of strong customer service to our members. He is doing an outstanding job in the few short weeks he has been here,” Lacy said.

“We really put a lot of thought into what we were looking for in the position. This is the first time since I have been the president of the chamber that we have had the luxury of having a membership person who is solely devoted to membership,” Lacy said. “In the past, the position was a mix of membership and event management. Our growth is now allowing us to have Jimmy dedicated to serving our members. Everyone wins in that scenario.”

Although he’s been on the job fewer than four weeks, he has already seen a lot, Warren said.

“I’ve learned that there are lot of people who want to see Conway be successful, and it’s overwhelming the amount of people who want to see you succeed,” Warren said.

He said he will also be working hard to get the word out about the chamber and all it can offer.

“I hope to see Conway grow economically, and I also want to see it have top-tier schools that are ranked high in the nation and continue to see everyone work together to make Conway better,” he said.

Warren said he wants people to know the chamber’s doors “are always open.”

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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