CRESTVIEW — Receiving the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce president’s gavel this evening is a natural extension of her community outreach as North Okaloosa Medical Center’s physician liaison and community programs director, Alicia Booker says.
“It’s fortunate to have a job that allows me to be out and about in the community, and that corresponds to what the chamber does,” Booker said. “It was a good fit for me; it was a natural fit.”
Becoming the chamber’s first black president was not something Booker said she gave any thought to, but on reflection, realized her position can inspire minority business owners.
“Definitely you want your chamber, as with any body, to reflect in leadership roles the population of the community,” Booker said. “There is a minority component to the community.
“The chamber is not an exclusive club. There is something for everyone to do,” Booker said. “If you want to be involved, if you want to be in a leadership role, there’s an open door to come in and get plugged in wherever you fit.”
Lights! Camera! Action!
Following outgoing President Dennis Mitchell’s “Let the good times roll,” Booker’s theme is “Lights! Camera! Action!” Each component is symbolic, she said.
“‘Lights’ represents the glow of the chamber illuminating the path for businesses,” Booker said. “We all have a glow that leads other people.”
“The camera helps us focus on our members and on what members’ needs are.”
“‘Action’ is a call to action on everyone in the chamber to be of service in the community and help people achieve their goals.
“When you help someone else be successful and reach their goals, you’ve found you have reached yours.”
Booker and her board intend to develop personal relationships with chamber members, enhancing a program begun earlier this year by membership director Joe Units.
“One of the things we want to focus on is letting members know we’re there to assist with their growth within the community,” Booker said.
Booker said the chamber gets more than just her leadership. Her entire family — husband Miguel and children Alex, Ean and Amber — comes with her.
“People in the chamber know we’re a package deal,” Booker said. “It is a commitment and lot of time, so my family comes with me.”
As Booker assumes the chamber of commerce presidency at this evening’s installation dinner, she looks forward to the many ways the organization can enhance Crestview and neighboring communities.
“I love our partnerships with the different (community) organizations because it’s important not just from a business standpoint, but for the quality of life for the community,” Booker said.