AMBASSADORS & EMISSARIES
The Chamber offers two different programs that allow their members to get further involved with the community. Chamber Ambassadors are individuals who help represent and promote the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, as well as promote their own business to other companies. Chamber Emissaries are chosen individuals who act as messengers to advocate the Chamber to current members.
What is an Ambassador?
Chamber Ambassadors are individuals who help represent and promote the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, as well as promote their own business to other companies.
The Ambassador Program consists of enthusiastic volunteers from the Chamber membership who donate their time to help build member commitment and raise community awareness of Chamber activities and benefits.
What Are the Benefits to the Ambassador Company?
The Ambassadors grow professionally and personally by building business relationships within the community. Getting involved with the Ambassador Program is one of the first steps you can take to become more involved with the Chamber. The program is ideal if you have a desire to become more active in the local business environment, raise awareness of your business or organization and give back to your community.
The Ambassador Program provides opportunities for you to connect with local business leaders and build lasting relationships. You will have an insider’s perspective of the local business community and a high level of prestige and credibility is extended to your business or occupation through your involvement with this well-respected goodwill group.
Download 2018 forms:
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Chamber Emissaries are chosen individuals who act as messengers to advocate the Chamber to current members. Emissaries are assigned (or can choose) a minimum of 24 member companies (12 should be new members) to which they act as a liaison for the Chamber. Companies should be chosen based on an opportunity to do business in the future. We want the member company to fall within the Emissaries natural scope of work (no hard sales) so that it is easy to place them in their natural contact rotation. This program is an effort to increase membership value and retention rates. For the Emissary, it is a chance to build a business relationship (again, no hard sales). Those chosen have already shown a strong sense of commitment and dependability by being outstanding Chamber members and are extended an invitation by the Chamber leadership, Membership division and/or the Guidance Committee, to become part of the Emissary Program.
For more information, see 2018 Emissary Handbook.
Shannon O'Meara Drake is a native of Huntsville and a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. Shannon has a diverse spectrum of experience from her technical background at Intergraph and her marketing background at ADTRAN. She also has a passion for nonprofits where she spent four plus years at Still Serving Veterans as the Director of Community Engagement. She recently joined the team at IronMountain Solutions as the Corporate Community Relations Coordinator where she is able to work with many nonprofits throughout the community, as well as, create opportunities for IMS employees to become engaged in their local communities. Shannon joined the Chamber of Commerce in 2006 as a way to network and become more familiar with the businesses in the Huntsville/Madison County region. This enabled her to become familiar with the programs the Chamber offered and led her to becoming involved in various activities such as the Total Resource Campaign (now ChamberOn) and the Emissary Program. Shannon lends her success to the great networking opportunities and activities the Chamber offers to connect their members. Shannon is currently presiding as President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of North Alabama and a member of the Character Foundation. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching classical ballet to area students.
Kellie is the Founder of the Huntsville Hub, the original alternative workspace provider in Huntsville, AL. She has a passion for helping small businesses grow and succeed! The Huntsville Hub caters to the needs of the local business community by providing their clients with quality shared office space, state-of-the-art technology, and a support team dedicated to outstanding customer service. The Hub goes a step further than most shared office facilities. They don’t just provide office space, they get actively involved in their customer’s businesses to help them succeed. Kellie is creative, innovative, and helps her customers come up with unique and effective ways to grow and develop their businesses. Kellie's background is in project and operations management, strategic planning, market planning, new business development, and customer service. She is experienced in all aspects of starting, growing, managing, marketing, and expanding new businesses.
With more than 20 years of management experience, Connie currently serves as Director of Recruiting with New York Life Insurance Company in Huntsville, Alabama. She takes great pride in building relationships with applicants and clients. With experience in sales, event planning, marketing, leadership and community awareness. Connie has been involved as a volunteer with the Emissary and Ambassador programs for the Chamber of Commerce Huntsville/Madison County for a number of years . She was also a Total Resource Campaign (TRC) participant and was the "rookie of the Year" 2014. Connie lends her success to the great networking opportunities and involvement with the Chamber of Commerce. Connie joined the Chamber in 2004 and was named ambassador of the month in April of that year. Connie is a second generation Huntsville Native who stays involved in the community by volunteering with non-profit organizations and is currently serving on the board of CAFY (Community Awareness For Youth), as well as, serving as a team leader with the March of Dimes.
Kevin Fernandez is the President/CEO of Fernandez Financial Group LLC, and an agent with New York Life Insurance Company. He’s a native of Puerto Rico and moved to Huntsville in 2011. Since 2011, Kevin has been working in insurance and financial services. His firm specializes in retirement planning, personal life insurance and corporate owned life insurance. They help their clients develop strategies for certain types of Key Man policies, Buy Sell arrangements, Stock Redemption programs, and other plans to safe guard benefits for employees and ensure company continuation. His clients include some of the most successful business owners and corporations in the Huntsville area.
Crystal Gilreath serves as a Commercial Lending, Business Loan Officer for Avadian Credit Union in Huntsville, Alabama. In her role, she focuses on being a trusted and dependable resource for her members to help them achieve their financial goals. Crystal has over 12 years of financial service experience in multiple capacities within the local economic market. She is a graduate of Athens State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and Human Resource Management. Crystal joined the Chamber of Commerce in 2014 and has had the privilege of meeting many extraordinary people. She stays active in the local community as a volunteer with Junior Achievement, Southeast Family YMCA and attends Whitesburg Baptist Church. Crystal is married to her husband, Chad Gilreath, and currently resides in South Huntsville.
Stephanie Hendon serves as Vice President, Private Client Relationship Manager for IBERIABANK in Huntsville, Alabama. In her role, she focuses on providing comprehensive financial solutions and offers unparalleled service to individuals and small business owners. Stephanie has over 14 years of financial services experience. Prior to joining IBERIABANK, she served as a Vice President, Branch Manager for Cadence Bank. She is a graduate of The University of Alabama Huntsville with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has also obtained her Life and Health Insurance licenses. Stephanie’s community involvement includes serving as Past President of the Board of Directors for CASA of Madison County, Loaned Executive for United Way of Madison County, member of the Huntsville Hospital Development Council and member of the Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville.
As an experienced, professional business executive and master networker/relationship-builder, Dave Knowles is honored and excited to return to serving as an Emissary for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Originally trained as an educator, since 2002 he has provided sales and marketing expertise to two highly visible local companies – as the Director of Sales at the high-quality, niche publications Who’s Who in Huntsville and Who’s Who in Huntsville Technology magazines and as the Sales and Marketing Director at nationally/locally recognized LEAN Frog Business Solutions, Inc. He is now pleased to be the Community Liaison for Rosenblum Realty. Since 1957, Rosenblum Realty has offered realtor services in residential sales and leasing, property management, and commercial sales and leasing in the Huntsville/North Alabama area. A family-owned, fourth generation, award-winning business, Rosenblum Realty is known for its professionalism and integrity. Dave is also actively involved in the All Saints Lutheran Church’s “Outreach Committee – Kitchen Ministry”.
As an Associate Wealth Advisor at Investor’s Resource my job is to service existing clients as part of a team as well as develop a select group of new wealth management business. I believe integrity and transparency in this business are key to having the best client relationships. I am a Huntsville native and studied Finance and Portfolio Management at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I serve on the Investment Committee within our firm and oversee the Outside Account management program, which delivers advice on assets like 401k’s and TSP plans outside our firm. I specifically enjoy helping a select group of engineers, business owners and government contractors have a clear plan for retirement or other financial goals important to them. Besides currently holding the Series 7, 66, Life and Health insurance licenses, I am studying for the AAMS® certification which is a prerequisite for the CFP® designation. My favorite quote to live by is “Do things that failures don’t like to do” – Stephen R. Covey author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I met my wife Lina on the tennis courts at UAH and continue to play at a high level on local USTA leagues. Other hobbies include Golf, Snowboarding trips, and always planning the next travel destination.
Jennifer Middleton grew up in Huntsville and graduated from Huntsville High School. She has spent most of her career in the Hospitality Industry. After graduating from the University of Alabama she served as Sales Manager for the Bevill Center at UAH hosting meetings and events for the US Army Corps of Engineers, UAH students, staff, Research Park Companies and the community. She went on to sell and manage the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel for Premier Hotel Corporation where she earned Director of Sales of the Year Award in 2005. Jennifer joined LBA Hospitality in 2009 as the Director of Sales at the Homewood Suites - Village of Providence. In 2009 she received a Steward Ship Award for Outstanding Community Service and Director of Sales of the Year Award of Merit in 2010. She left Homewood to serve as the Interactive Media Director for Rocket City Broadcasting before returning to LBA Hospitality in 2012 as an Area Director of Sales for the Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn by Marriott. In 2015 she joined IHG as the Director of Sales for the Candlewood Suites Huntsville-Research Park. Jennifer credits the Chamber with giving her the opportunity to network and build relationships as key to her success. A Chamber volunteer since 2004, Jennifer has served as an Ambassador, Total Resource Campaign Volunteer and Emissary and member of the Leadership Council. She has also served on other boards such as the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Executives, Public Relations Council of North Alabama and currently serves as the Vice President of Communications for the Huntsville Youth Orchestra and the 2nd Vice President of Membership for the Rocket City-Alabama Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. When not networking to put heads in beds at the Candlewood Suites Huntsville-Research Park, Jennifer likes to spend time with her husband, Chris and daughters Hannah and Raegan.
Cassie Watson Scott is the Director of Corporate Development for Quadrus Corporation, a defense and aerospace engineering company, and for Capital Management Services (CMS), a janitorial and property management company. Scott is responsible for all facets of corporate strategy formulation and planning, special strategic projects, and business development activities for both companies. Her previous work in the community involved leading organizations in the nonprofit arena, with a focus on serving those in need within Huntsville/Madison County with human services, education resources, and basic needs. Her passion is in education and workforce development. She is actively involved with the Madison County School System where she coordinates business development opportunities for the school system, community partnership opportunities for the teachers and administrative staff within the individual schools, and intern partnerships for students across the entire system. Her recent outreach for the community was with HEALS, Inc. where she danced her way in raising ~$35,000.00 during the Stars Dancing for HEALS event. Cassie is married to her husband of 13 years, Jason, and they have one son, Memphis (11). Her spare time is spent at numerous baseball fields as her husband is the head Varsity baseball coach at Madison County High School and her son plays year-round travel baseball.
Patti Walker brings more than 24 years of experience in the banking and financial industry in various lending capacities, including commercial and small business lending, loan administration, as well as private banking. Currently, Patti serves as Vice President and Commercial Lender for Southern States Bank. In this role she is charged with developing relationships with businesses in the market and strengthening the lending network for the bank’s expanding business banking team, while enhancing existing client relationships. Actively involved in the local community, Patti was a member of the Board of Directors of the Optimist Club of Huntsville and former Vice President of the Huntsville Chapter of the Risk Management Association. She is a graduate of the Connect Class 7 through Leadership of Huntsville and served on their Connect Advisory Council. Additionally, she lent her expertise as a Leader on Loan and Pacesetter Leader on Loan for the United Way of Huntsville. Patti currently serves as a business coach for The Catalyst (WBCNA), a former Board member of Crisis Services of North Alabama and is a member of WID (Women in Defense) Tennessee Valley Chapter. She also volunteers with Still Serving Veterans and Burritt on the Mountain and serves as an Emissary for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Patti received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of North Alabama.
David began working at CALIBRE in May 2012, after 25 years of military service in the United States Army and attained the rank of Colonel. He is working in Huntsville, Alabama as a Director and business development professional in the Logistics Management Services (LMS) Division. David is also instrumental in CALIBRE branding efforts in Huntsville and increasing the CALIBRE presence in the Huntsville market. David joined the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador program in July 2012. David is a second generation Soldier. He received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Tampa in 1987. David served in various leadership positions to include Battalion Commander in Mosul, Iraq. He culminated his 25 year career as the Chief of Readiness, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G4 (Logistics), Headquarters, Department of the Army. David’s education includes a Master of Science in Strategic Studies, United States Army Senior Service College; Master of Science in Business Management, Saint Mary University, Leavenworth Kansas and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Tampa. David is married to the former Ms. Karen Davis of Leesville, Louisiana and they have one son Brandon Michael Whitaker (BMW), age 7. They currently reside in McMullen Cove, Gurley, Alabama.
Tom White is the Director of Sales and Outreach with the US Space and Rocket Center, Home of Space Camp. He oversees leading a team of inside and outside sales professionals to produce revenue for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center by selling a variety of different programs domestic and international, including Space Camp, Aviation Challenge, Robotics Camp, Cyber Camp, Corporate Space Camp, museum guests, museum groups, and field trips. His team works as the call center operations for the Space Center and he works on the Development team on marketing, media relations, and sponsorships. Mr. White attended Western Governors University studying in Sales and Sales Management. He is a graduate of Leadership Class 27 of Huntsville/Madison County Leadership. He works within the community as a sports official refereeing football and lacrosse, serving on the board for Huntsville Lacrosse Association. As well as volunteering as a baseball coach in Madison Baseball Association, lacrosse coach with Huntsville Lacrosse Association and football coach with Madison Academy Youth Football. He is married to Michele White, 3rd grade Teacher at Heritage Elementary in Madison. They have three children, Nick, Jack, and Madison.