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I feel like the official "Miss Greenbrier." Now.

Ashton Pruitt chamber greenbrier president

Today is Inauguration Day. Our 46th President was sworn in, and you know what I did? I worked. The same exact thing I did when the 45th was sworn in.

Not that I don’t “care” per say, that he was sworn in and that the current state of our country is crazy… but I guess… what it boils down to is that no matter who is President or Vice President,  I continue to live my life. I work hard. I’m devoted to the issues and causes that I care about. Back when the pandemic hit, I cared about my friends in the beauty industry that were without a job. So, with what I could do I decided to help them. By us joining forces we sold over 10,000 shirts across the state to promote their salons. I care about my school. I jump when they say they need something. I care about my other local businesses. I devote hours and hours organizing a community wide open house so people will shop, locally. I care about kids. So, I donate my resources to the Children's Advocacy Alliance and do a yearly item drive for The Call of Faulkner County. I continue to work 4 jobs no matter who is in office. I continue to work hard, give hard, play hard, do the things… all the things that I want, because I want to.

I didn’t bawl and squall when Trump won four years ago and I didn’t cry when Biden won in November. To me, there are far more important things to cry about.

I didn’t cry tears of joy when Trump won and I for sure didn’t cry of excitement when they swore in Biden and Harris.

You know what I was doing?

Listening to one of my customers agonize what she was going to buy her friend for her birthday. I helped her pick out a beautiful shirt.

You know what I was doing after she left?

Developing a proposal for the chamber of commerce and redesigning a website that focuses on economic development that our city can be proud of.

Those are the things I care about.

Am I simple? Sure. Do I care what you think? No.

This is the deal, do not think that I am insensitive to national causes that are important. I deeply care about people that depend on policies that are in place for their industries that feed their families. But for me, personally again… no matter who is in office WE MUST remember to keep on, keep’n on. I just want to remind you, to those people that get caught up in ALL THE THINGS… get caught up in your community. Your community is where you live, breathe, work, and play. You are affected directly by things going on in your community. Get caught up in whatever that cause is, that you believe in, locally. Invest at a local level on things that you want to see be different. Work hard for your local community, for your fellow man down the street. You can be kind to someone different than you that is your neighbor. That my friend is where real change begins. I’ve said it a million times. Be the change you wish to see.

The change I care about:

A few years ago I decided to get involved with our local chamber of commerce and I fully believe that you get, what you put in. I’ve learned, I’ve watched, I’ve waited for the opportunity to serve and implement events and programs that I care about. I fully believed that maybe it was my calling to step up. Maybe it was my calling to bring change. Maybe it was my calling to at least, try. During the journey I would take notes and contemplate on the things that I wished to work on. During the whole process, I always practiced “its about goal, not the role.”

Now, low and behold, I have been elected as President.

To say I am excited, is an understatement. During our first meeting I had butterflies in my stomach and I deeply worried about our board of directors being overwhelmed by my goals. However, after that meeting it became clear that I could fully focus on these goals with an amazing team. Maybe I was created for this moment, in this time, in this opportunity. Here are things that I am wanting to work on during my two years as Chamber President.

2021-2023 Chamber of Commerce Goals:
-Successfully pull off a digital chamber banquet for 2021. This is uncharted territory here. Even though it is not my favorite idea, the show must go on! I know we can do this and even make it AMAZING.
-Assessment of the Administrative Assistant Role. New job description, possible pay raise, team up with the City, etc. Update phone and hours it is answered. This role needs some fresh paint.
-Welcome to Greenbrier Business care package (extra stuff in office, card signed by the chamber, packet on how to join and what we do.)
-Kick off 2021 with a “Hello... We are the Chamber Tour.”
-A comprehensive guide on the website about “WHY and WHAT we do."
-Update the billing/invoice to a “menu” for chamber for events/sponsorships. (Business Packet) Pro Rate, etc.
-Update the Website (minutes posted on the website, economic development key points added, community calendar added) TRANSPARENCY is key. -Launch an interactive community calendar.
-Build on our newsletter and make it weekly. (Chamber members can submit happenings. Stories, press releases) Social push to get people to sign up for it. Citizens need to have access to this for promotion purposes and also be aware that they too, can be chamber members.
-Launch a “Shop Local” art contest with prize money! (10 under 8 and up) coloring contest.
-Launch a video/photo promotional campaign with our business of the month that will coincide with our mix and mingle. (Admin will need to assist in this project with the questionnaire, scheduling of the Mix and Mingle)
-Team Up with the City of Junk & Drive on 65
-Keep the “Cheer Here” shopping local campaign (printed guide and available digitally) complete with Hometown Holiday kick off, Christmas Parade, and Glisten Up Greenbrier.
-Add “Welcome to Greenbrier" video on website for potential businesses.

While these goals seem small to big cities, unimportant to someone who lives elsewhere. Trivial, to people that deeply care about policies and politics of our nation. I just want to encourage you.. to find whatever it is you are passionate about and BE THE CHANGE.

To me, it is my community. Whatever “it” is for you, write your goals down. Reflect on them from time to time. The change starts with you and your drive to make it happen.

Here is to 2021! Pray for our leaders all across our nation, especially in your local communities. That is who is building tomorrow. Pray for YOU! You are leading someone wether you realize it or not as well. Let’s get to work.

*Special thanks to the Log Cabin Democrat for their write up about my new role. You can see that right here. 

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Ashton Pruitt

Ashton Snowden Pruitt, native of Greenbrier graduated from Arkansas State University in 2009, with her Radio Television Broadcast Journalism degree. She is the former host of "The Mouth of the South Morning Show" on 101.7 KVOM in Morrilton. She is married to auctioneer Lane Pruitt, and also owns Pruitt's Mid State Stockyards in Damascus. Ashton owns Southern Savvy, a women and children's boutique in Greenbrier and Southern Belle Media specializing in wedding and commercial videography, and voice overs. On top of all of these duties, her favorite job is being a mommy to her one and only sweet girl Myleigh-Pearl! In her spare time she loves traveling, blogging, watching Hoda and Kathie Lee, eating "Joes Pizza," driving with the top down in the Jeep, going to the lake, pageants, karaoke, and drinking lots of coffee. Ashton is currently the Miss Greenbrier Pageant Director, Brierfest Youth Talent Show Director and volunteer for the Faulkner County Youth Talent Show and Pageants. She is a big supporter of folks shopping local (wherever you shop) and empowering women!

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