Graham Cobb, Chamber President and CEO, to step down at end of the year

Graham Cobb, Chamber President and CEO, to step down at end of the year

The Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce announces that the President and CEO, Graham Cobb, will step down at the end of this year. Under Cobb’s leadership, the organization has evolved its brand and its value proposition to members. In addition, it has modernized its facilities and services, leaning into technology and digital platforms to serve existing Bentonville-based businesses as well as to recruit additional industry to the area. The Chamber engages approximately 6,500 registered attendees of 35 key events annually.  

  

Additionally, the organization has expanded and enhanced its delivery of services, its large and small events, and its economic development scope of work. While some key milestones can be seen in traditional metrics, others are realized as an increase in community influence and innovative practices. The chamber was recognized in 2019 by The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) for the top marketing project in the nation regardless of budget or size of the organization. The Chamber has evolved and enhanced its signature events, including the NWA Tech Summit, which reached attendees from 30 states in ten countries in 2020. Both The Board of Directors and professional staff have committed to more profound education to strengthen understanding critical issues that impact business in their service area.  

  

Since late 2017, the chamber has realized several key successes, including:  

   

  1. Increasing its number of members as well as budgeted revenue each year.  
  1. Launching the #BecauseBentonville hashtag, which has over 35,000 uses on Instagram since 2018.  
  1. Being awarded 2019 Best in Show Award for Communication Excellence by The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) for its “Because Bentonville” Economic Development business attraction project.  
  1. In 2021 chamber had an average membership NPS of 9.3  
  1. Helping to pass the 2021 Bentonville City Bond Extension  

  

In 2019 Cobb was named the Outstanding Chamber Executive by the Arkansas Economic Development and Chamber Executives Association. He served on the ACCE Board of Directors in 2020 and 2021.  

   

“I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last four years at the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber,” says Cobb. “The vision of the organization, the program of work, and the professional staff we have assembled is precisely what this dynamic community needs.  

   

My mission has the whole of Arkansas as its purview. I’m excited to focus my energy on future endeavors that will help the state of Arkansas be the best it can be for business. This path will coalesce in the next few weeks, and the work will begin in earnest in 2022.  

   

I get to remain in Bentonville, a city that has been quick to find a foothold in my heart. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of building something truly special.”  

   

Chief Operating Officer Travis Stephens, Executive Vice President Ashley Wardlow, and Vice President of Member Engagement & Events Sherry Rolsma provide collaborative leadership and collective service to the Chamber’s stakeholders, creating a robust senior leadership structure to continue excellence in day-to-day operations.  

   

Incoming 2022 Chairwoman, Monica Kumar, will immediately lead a team to identify the next CEO of The Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce. Monica will work with Cobb and the organization’s senior leaders to facilitate a thoughtful transition, continue to serve our members, and search for a new leader to help us focus on maintaining the incredible momentum that has been generated under Cobb’s leadership and expects the process to be completed in Q1 of 2022.   

   

Kumar reiterates, “Graham has done an exemplary job in revitalizing the Chamber and building a foundation for a bright and innovative future. I know I can speak for all of us when I say that we wish him all the success in his future endeavors and that we are thrilled that he has chosen to remain in the region. I also want to highlight the incredible work of the entire Chamber team and underscore how appreciative we are of their dedicated service and leadership in the community. We would not be here without each of them. I am excited to work with the team and the Board as we move forward with considering the next phase of leadership.”  

   

In 2022 The Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce will enter the organization’s 96th year. 

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