Woodlawn, MD – The Charles County Chamber of Commerce has once again claimed the prestigious title in the 2023 Chamber Challenge, marking their second consecutive victory. The announcement was made during the 37th Maryland Small Business Awards Event hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) at Martin’s West on June 8.

Bonnie Grady, the President and CEO of the Chamber, graciously accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Grady expressed her gratitude in a heartfelt statement, saying, “This is an extreme honor for me. I’m retiring today after 24 years in the chamber world, so I guess you could call this ‘going out with a bang.'”

Accompanying Grady at the event was Kathy Guzman-Russell, the former Member Services Manager for the Charles County Chamber, who now serves at the College of Southern Maryland. Russell played a crucial role in the Chamber’s success by welcoming 153 new members between February 2022 and April 2023.

This year’s victory marks Grady’s third time accepting an SBA Chamber Challenge award. Previously, she led the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce in Elkton, MD, where they secured third place in the Chamber Challenge. However, under Grady’s leadership, the Charles County Chamber clinched the top spot at last year’s awards luncheon.

The Chamber Challenge is an annual competition recognizing chambers of commerce across Maryland for their outstanding efforts in supporting small businesses. Chambers are evaluated based on votes cast by their members throughout the month of March. The winners are then announced during the Maryland Small Business Awards Event.

The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce secured second place alongside the Charles County Chamber, while the Northwest Chamber of Commerce was awarded third place in the statewide competition.

This achievement coincides with National Small Business Week, an event designated by the President of the United States to honor the contributions of small businesses to the American economy. Maryland Small Business Week, in particular, celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in the state and features various activities throughout the week.

The pinnacle of Maryland Small Business Week is the Maryland Small Business Awards, which typically attracts more than 600 attendees yearly. The event recognizes the remarkable achievements of small businesses and their impact on the local community.

The Charles County Chamber of Commerce’s success in the Chamber Challenge is a testament to their unwavering dedication to supporting small businesses in Maryland. As they bask in the glory of this victory, they continue to demonstrate their commitment to fostering a thriving business environment in Charles County and beyond.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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