Graham Cobb, The President and CEO of the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, will be stepping down at the end of this year, the Chamber has announced.
Chamber officials say that the organization has made great progress under Cobb’s leadership– such as modernizing its facilities and services, and leaning into technology and digital platforms to serve existing Bentonville businesses as well as recruit additional industry to the area. The Chamber engages approximately 6,500 registered attendees of 35 key events annually. Additionally, the organization says it has expanded and enhanced its delivery of services, its large and small events, and its economic development scope of work.
The Chamber has also evolved and enhanced its signature events under Cobb, 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.
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.
In an official statement released by the Greater Bentonville Chamber of Commerce, Cobb said:
“I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last four years at the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber. 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.”
A senior leadership team consisting of Chief Operating Officer Travis Stephens, Executive Vice President Ashley Wardlow, and Vice President of Member Engagement & Events Sherry Rolsma will take over day-to-day operations by providing collaborative leadership and collective service to the Chamber’s stakeholders.
Incoming 2022 Chairwoman, Monica Kumar, will immediately lead a team to identify the next CEO of The Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce by working with Cobb and the organization’s senior leaders to facilitate the transition, which is and expected to be completed in Q1 of 2022.
“Graham has done an exemplary job in revitalizing the Chamber and building a foundation for a bright and innovative future,” Kumar said. “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.