The Canton Chamber of Commerce Main Street Association named Pam Confer, a Jackson resident who has been on the chamber board since 2015, as its new president in December 2017. She is the first African American woman to serve in the position, which she will hold until December 2018. She has more than 20 years of experience in community and economic development, environmental management and public relations.
"As the chamber president, my responsibility is to set the economic-development agenda for the chamber in 2018 and help build relationships in the community," Confer told the Jackson Free Press. Though she lives in Jackson, she volunteers in Canton and is involved with its community and economic development. She says she wants to use her skill set to work with the mayor and local stakeholders in the city.
Confer graduated from Lane College in Jackson, Tenn., with a bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in communications in 1993. She received her master's degree in public policy and administration from Jackson State University in 1996.
Confer has served as public affairs director for the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation, worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help local municipalities enroll in a hazard-mitigation grant program after Hurricane Katrina, and works as a consultant for small and minority-owned businesses in Jackson. She also runs "Speak BIG," a communications program she established in 2003 that focuses on boosting confidence, effective communication, elevator pitches and relating to a target audience.
Over the years, she has helped businesses as a speechwriter, a motivational speaker a business and professional development consultant, and more. She hosts workshops and training courses on topics such as whether to be a profit or nonprofit, and how attitude and attire may contribute to success.
On the day that the Canton Chamber named her as its president, Confer unveiled her new slogan and plan for the organization: "I 'SEE' Canton."
"SEE" stands for "spurring economic development, encouraging ownership and exploring uniqueness." Confer's plan includes working with the mayor and local leaders to bring new businesses to Canton Square, constructing signs welcoming visitors to the city, and exploring ways to encourage students in the Canton Public School District to stay and invest in the city when they're older. She plans to update the Canton community on the progress of those goals each month.
"Canton is a small town that's ripe for opportunities, and I want to help its entrepreneurs to grow, network and find the clientele they need," Confer said. "I also want to get local businesses involved in working with the school system so that students know the city loves them and is investing them. It's a privilege and an honor to be able to invest in the future of kids."