Rayford Completes Community Development Certification; Recognized for Leadership, Integrity 

Jamie Rayford, Chief Operating Officer of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, recently completed the Community Development Institute (CDI) training at the University of Central Arkansas. 

CDI is the go-to resource for community and economic development training. Professionals from across the south attend CDI for applied training in community and economic development.

Experienced practitioners provide attendees with practical tools and techniques to take back to their communities to make an immediate difference. Graduates leave with the knowledge to connect community assets with opportunities, build consensus with local and regional leaders, and sustain the economic development process over time. CDI Graduates who have practiced a minimum of 3 years and fulfilled field experience requirements can sit for the Professional and Community Economic Developer (PCED) exam. 

Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Crystal Johnson recognizes Rayford’s impact. 

“Community and economic development work requires a unique talent for developing and facilitating strategy and leading diverse groups,” she said. “Jamie’s natural talent and desire to invest in professional development and stay up to date with industry trends makes her one of the strongest community and economic developers in the State of Arkansas.” 

The CDI 2021 graduating class chose Rayford as the Ernest Whitelaw Award recipient. The award recognizes individuals for their dedication to professional community development practice and demonstrated enthusiasm and willingness to assume leadership roles. Graduates praised Rayford’s integrity and spirit of caring and inclusion, shown by a desire to assist, enable and involve fellow students in the CDI experience. “I am proud to have her on our Chamber team and to lead our community,” Johnson continued.