Turner has big ideas for Bell Chamber

Published 5:45 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023



With roughly 100 days under her belt, Melissa Turner, executive director of the Bell County Chamber of Commerce has already made strides in her short time in office.

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“Before the Chamber I spent my time at home with my three children,” Turner said. Being a stay-at-home mom taught me invaluable skills in multitasking, patience, and effective communication, which have seamlessly translated into my ability to perform in the workplace and engage with the public,” said Turner.

A native of Pike County who graduated from EKU, Turner’s interest in the chamber stemmed from her desire to actively contribute to the local business community. Turner says she is deeply committed to the success of Bell County.

“While I didn’t originate from this area, it’s now home to both my children and me; a place we’ve chosen for the long term,” said Turner.

Turner’s mission with the Bell Chamber of Commerce is to actively foster a thriving business community that serves as a catalyst for Bell County growth and development. Turner aims to facilitate strong collaborations among businesses, promote innovative initiatives, and create networking opportunities that empowers its members.

Looking ahead, Turner envisions the Bell Chamber of Commerce becoming the center of resources, support, and inspiration for businesses of all sizes. She aspires to see it evolve into a recognized driver of economic progress, renowned for its ability to connect, advocate for, and elevate Bell County businesses to new heights of success.

In the next five to 10 years Turner aspires for the chamber to be a hub for economic growth in Bell County. Turner is working toward an expanded and diverse membership that will allow the chamber to truly be able to advocate for policies that support workplace development and showcase the allure of Bell County.

Turner’s current emphasis lies in expanding its membership base.

“This month, we are launching an exciting membership drive, featuring enticing incentives, designed to rekindle interest among business owners to become active members of the chamber once again,” said Turner.

Turner has already had some successes as Chamber director. On July 28, the Bell County Chamber of Commerce hosted an annual Chamber Awards Dinner.

According to Turner, the most significant challenge for a small chamber in Appalachia often revolves around striking a balance between limited resources and ambitious goals. Navigating economic disparities, advocating for local businesses and fostering community engagement with fewer financial and personnel resources can be particularly daunting.

“Overcoming these challenges requires creative strategies, collaboration, and a deep understanding of the region’s unique dynamics,” she said.