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Sara Ray Douglas County Chamber

Sara Ray

President & CEO

Douglas County Chamber

Location: Douglasville

Founded: 1945

Industry: Chamber/Nonprofit

Sara Ray doesn’t feel that the most significant risk she took in her career was a single bold move but rather a deliberate, persistent shift in focus when she turned the Douglas County Chamber into a truly inclusive and equitable space for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. “My vision wasn’t just about changing policies or programs; it was about reshaping the Chamber’s very identity and culture,” said Ray.

Before assuming the role of president and CEO of the chamber, she held roles in marketing at the organization and initiated the creation of small business programming resulting in the support for over 800 businesses.

The Douglas County Chamber is a nonprofit organization governed by an 18-member volunteer board of directors made up of chamber members. The chamber has several active committees that drive the mission-driven organization to consistently meet the needs of businesses, no matter the size or revenue.

Under Ray’s leadership, the chamber has experienced year-over-year financial growth with the development of an investment fund of over $1 million. Ray has created a chamber with the culture driven by inclusiveness and launched a county-wide Equity Dinners program that has become the place for critical conversations in the community. In 2023, she launched a new series titled “Reshaping the Lens of Equity” which has provided a space for dialogue around topics of equity including healthcare, workforce, small business, race, disabilities and more.

“Looking at the landscape of our community as a whole and even more specifically, our business community, I saw the need for a more inclusive chamber,” said Ray. “I believe that by supporting all businesses, the entire community could thrive.”

The programs Ray has been instrumental in creating have impacted more than 1,200 individuals and additional revenue that exceeds $100,000 annually. Under her leadership, the level of advocacy on behalf of more than 5,000 businesses has increased significantly.

These accomplishments have led to Ray’s recognition as one of the state’s and nation’s top chamber executives. She is a member of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and has been recognized by the national Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Most recently, Ray was nominated and received a unanimous vote to join the board of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Known for her knack for forging relationships, Ray said that connections are key as a leader. “Building strong, genuine connections is a core principle for any great leader,” she said. “By prioritizing long-term relationships that transcend personal gain, it ultimately fosters trust and collaboration.”

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