HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Quinetta Buterbaugh, IOM, president of the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce, challenges herself personally and professionally to achieve her best. She has recently earned her Institute for Organization Management (IOM) certification from the United States Chamber of Commerce, while continuing to work on her Master of Science in management and leadership (MSML) through Coker College.
The wife, mother, grandmother juggles classes and work with spending time with family.
She says she couldn’t do it without the support and understanding of her husband, Dallas, who takes up the slack on the home front while she pursues her career goals.
Buterbaugh received 96 professional credit hours with the IOM certification that can be applied to the required hours for the Certified Chamber Executive designation through the national Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), which she can apply for once she reaches her fifth year as chamber president in October of next year.
Buterbaugh said she has attended Institute one week out of the year for the past four years at the University of Georgia.
“My very first week on the job I attended a conference where others were talking about receiving the certification,” she said. “My board stood behind me and supported me in completing my certification. I feel so blessed to be able to complete my certification.”
She said she earned more than $2,000 in scholarships during the four years to help pay for the program.
“It was very intense,” she said. “I came back each year with greater understanding of budgets, finances, membership development, growth ideas, new marketing skills and higher industry standards.”
She said the most important thing she learned during the four-year certification was “how to add value to what the chamber offers to its members and the community.”
“I now look at things more from a business perspective and evaluate our offerings,” she said.
She said she believes the chamber’s investment in her attending the institute has paid for itself.
First of all it afforded her the opportunity to interact with chamber professionals and association professionals from all over the country and world and share ideas with them.
In addition to the networking opportunities, Buterbaugh has incorporated new programs or enhanced existing ones from ideas garnered during her time at the institute.
“I’ve now got this great network of chamber professionals from all over the country that I rely on for new ideas and perspectives,” she said.
She said the class graduated 28, and represented chamber sizes ranging from 10,000 members to 200 members. The Hartsville Chamber has 341 members, up from 246 members when she started.
“The Ambassador program is one initiative that has grown out of my time at Institute,” she said.
She said it also helped her move programs forward that the chamber already had in place.
Some of the programs initiated as a result of her attending the Institute or benefited from networking at Institute are the Women’s Leadership Symposium, which is coming up in September; Young Professionals; a Member Spotlight as well as the focus monthly on jobs available at chamber businesses. The chamber now offers new promotional opportunities as well, she said. Buterbaugh said the Leadership Hartsville program is another one that has been revamped as a result of ideas she gathered from Institute.
The chamber board is working on a tiered dues model that she learned about will earning her certification. She said with this new dues system members will no longer pay by the number of employees they have but by the benefits they wish to receive.
“This may be two or three years down the road, but is where we are headed,” she said. “It is an industry standard and one of the things I got out of the Institute.”
Buterbaugh said the certification also gives her a level of credibility and looks good for the chamber.
“I feel like the chamber and I have grown together,” Buterbaugh said. ”Leading a chamber is very challenging, but equally rewarding.”
“We are in excellent financial shape, and it is really only going to get better,” she said. “I attribute that to the value we offer our members.”
Darnell McPherson is chair of the board of directors.
Buterbaugh and her husband moved to Hartsville in 2008. Prior to her hire at the chamber, she worked for Duke Energy. They have two grown daughters, 18 and 21, and one granddaughter, 4 ½.
Making her obligations to family, community and career work is all about time management, Buterbaugh said.
“It is learning about priorities and being present when you are managing deadlines,” she said.
“While it is challenging (earning a master’s degree) it hasn’t required as much time as my bachelor’s,” Buterbaugh said. “The MSML program is geared toward working adults, which is what attracted me to the program. The work is practical, and I’ve gained a network of professionals that I have gotten to know, many who were in Leadership Hartsville.”
Buterbaugh serves on boards and organizations in the community that also take of her time. She is chair of the new satellite Sunrise Rotary Club in Hartsville.
“I really enjoy that it is different,” she said. She said it is geared more toward conversation and making connections. “The club meets the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:30 a.m. at the chamber,” she said.
Buterbaugh serves on several boards including Darlington County Progress, the Community Foundation Board and Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Board of Directors.
Buterbaugh is a busy woman who knows her priorities and is focused on making Hartsville a better place to live, work and raise her family.