Van Buren grad returns to lead Van Buren Chamber

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 640 views 

Julie Murray, a graduate of Van Buren High School, and recently executive director of the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, has been named president and CEO of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to her four years at Heber Springs, Murray worked at the Walmart corporate office in strategy and development, and the global communications department. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree in leadership and ethics from John Brown University. In 2018, she graduated from the Community Development Institute and earned the certification of Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED).

As head of the Heber Springs Chamber, Murray oversaw the transition from a festival driven chamber to a membership driven organization, according to the Van Buren chamber press release.

“She also helped secure a new, more visible location for the institution. Murray also established a working chamber foundation and procured grants to establish a Chamber Champion Leadership Development program. Murray and her staff accomplished all this while maintaining a 90% membership retention rate,” noted the chamber statement.

Murray will begin April 8. The Van Buren chamber has between 400 and 450 members.

Julie Murray

Terry Carson, who has served as interim Van Buren Chamber director since March 2018, called Murray’s hiring a “wise choice.”

“My goal in taking the job was to help with membership recruitment and retention while the board continued in its search for a permanent placement. It has been a privilege to lead the organization over the last year and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served. I am leaving this job in very capable hands, as the board has a made wise choice in naming Julie Murray as the new President/CEO,” Carson said.

Chamber Board Chairman David Young said Murray’s advantage is in building community relationships.

“Julie brings with her a wealth of chamber experience and has a strong background in business and marketing. She has a passion for economic development and as a Van Buren alum, has important ties to our community. She also has a proven record for driving growth and in strengthening relationships among chamber members and community groups”