By Tim James, Chamber President and CEO – During this important and nationally recognized month of African American History, the Greater CWC Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Programs would like to recognize distinguished CWC Chamber trailblazers who have made history, being first to achieve specific milestones within Chamber of Commerce.
In 2019 Tina Washington of Giles Insurance was elected by her peers to serve as the first African American Female Chair of the Greater CWC Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Programs.
Tina became involved with the Chamber when she and Craig Giles began the independent side of insurance, it was Craig that suggested her to join some local groups. Tina, who loves her community decided upon the Chamber, where Tina says she quickly learned that the Chamber is much more than just a referral business group, it is an important part of the community.
In addition to Chair, Tina’s leadership with the Chamber includes Ambassador programs, where she says the Chamber kept everyone updated on community events. “I like promoting people and businesses in my community on this side of the river”, said Tina. “Because I come from a military family, I moved constantly and was always the new girl, but when we moved here, I immediately felt at-home and I saw so much potential in the Cayce -West Columbia community, we are so close to downtown and other amenities, we should therefore help to promote our great community.
Tina is quick to reference her mother and father as the respected leaders she learned most from, “my parents having several kids at young ages both had to make hard decisions, the older I get I recognize their great work ethic they taught me and my siblings”. Tina also has the highest regard for her bosses in the Insurance business, Brad, and Craig Giles, who she gains great insight from, “They taught me almost everything I know about business development & success”, says Tina.
In asking about Tina’s time as Chamber Chair, she reflects upon her accomplished goals and remarks, “I like to think I encouraged our group to actually talk about hard things and be more tolerant, reminding them that it is never too late to discuss changes for OUR community”. Tina assumed the role of Chamber Chair reminding us, “My goal as the First Black Female Chair was to get the word out and pass along some good news to other people of color, because like me, most didn’t know what the Chamber & Visitor program does.” Further stating, “While I am no longer chair, I still promote the Chamber as much as possible and I will continue to work and bring on more people who look like me and get them involved”. You can contact Tina Washington at Giles Insurance via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org