VINTON–Liz Munn-Lively grew up in North Carolina, lives in Salem, works for the Roanoke Times, and is the new president of the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce (VACC). She came to Vinton by way of enthusiasm.
She has long been a supporter of the Vinton Chamber’s events. With many friends in town, she started attending the Wine Festival, the Mingle on the Market events, the Galas, and then began volunteering at different Chamber activities.
Munn-Lively has always loved volunteering, beginning as a child active in Girl Scouts and church, where she discovered her internal driving force, her guiding passion in life—her desire to create the positive.
She became a member of the Chamber about three years ago, and eventually joined the Board of Directors. That led to the Chamber asking her to take over as President as Sabrina Weeks of Valley Bank finished up three years of leading the Chamber.
“Every group has the eternal optimist who exudes good energy and motivates the people around her,” says the American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Roanoke. “Ours is our membership committee chair Liz Munn-Lively.” That’s the feeling she evokes among Chamber members, also.
Munn-Lively assumed her duties as Chamber President for 2013 with the coming of the New Year, which she celebrated at her favorite Vinton Chamber event, the New Year’s Eve Gala, at the Vinton War Memorial.
“It’s a great event, a time to spend with family and friends, toasting the New Year,” said Munn-Lively.
She grew up in the small town of Creedmor, not unlike Vinton, located just north of Durham. She completed her undergraduate degree in communication at Appalachian State University.
Her Master’s degree, also in communication, is from Radford University, where she graduated in 2006. She chose Radford for its well-established graduate program in communications, for its student-focused curriculum, and for its generous scholarship program.
Once she finished her degree, Munn-Lively elected to remain in Virginia to give back to the state which had helped her complete her education, and because she liked the area so much.
She first accepted a position with Pepsico, where she had completed an internship during her graduate years, working for the company in different locations throughout the state including Wytheville, Appomatox, and Lynchburg. She missed the Roanoke area, wanted to put down roots, and eventually accepted a position with the Roanoke Times as an account executive.
Her work experience with Pepsico was a good training ground for the work she does now with the newspaper, where she has been employed for over three years.
Munn-Lively is married and has a two-year old son. Her husband Scott, who is from Beckley, West Virgina, is the controller for Oak Hall Cap and Gown located in Salem, hence the reason Munn-Lively lives there and not in Vinton. She also serves as adviser for Phi Mu sorority at Roanoke College in Salem, her sorority at Appalachian State.
As President of the Vinton Chamber, Munn-Lively plans to focus on the businesses that form the Chamber, not the Chamber events, which she sees as excellent and in little need of tweaking.
Angie Chewning Lewis, executive director of the VACC, and Kathryn Sowers, executive assistant, manage the day-to-day operations of the Chamber and coordinate the special Chamber events: the Gala, the Winter Concert Series, the Senior Expo, the Vinton Relay for Life, the Wine Festival, the four Mingle events, the Golf Tournament, Fall Festival, downtown Trick-or-Treating, the State of the Town address, and the Christmas Parade.
“Angie has seen her role explode in the past year with new memberships, and with new events to seek sponsors for, and to coordinate,” said Munn-Lively.
“The Vinton community is very fortunate that there is so much going on here already, so many great activities,” said Munn-Lively. “My focus will be on the businesses which make up the Chamber and increasing their numbers. I want to make sure the Chamber is here in 10 to 20 years, to see our budget keep increasing, and to add to services for Vinton businesses.”
She sees her job as Chamber President, and the task of the Chamber Board of Directors, as being the “preeminent business advocates for the Town of Vinton and the primary driver of economic development in the Town of Vinton,” as their mission states.
“Vinton has so many strengths and so much integrity,” said Munn-Lively. “There’s a strong Town staff and government, excellent businesses and business owners, a great facility in the Vinton War Memorial, proximity to the Parkway, and wonderful citizens. Small town life is nothing without the people and the people of Vinton are a supportive family.”
“Vinton sees the bigger picture,” said Munn-Lively. “The Town and the Chamber want Vinton to be part of the bigger picture, part of the Virginia’s Blue Ridge concept.”
Another reason Munn-Lively was anxious to take on the job of Chamber President at this particular time is the Downtown Revitalization Grant that Vinton received from the Virginia Department of Housing and Urban Development this summer.
“Vinton is growing,” said Munn-Lively. “There are so many positives and possibilities with the downtown revitalization grant; it’s an amazing project. I wanted to be part of it. I think I can add a different perspective than those on Board who live and work in town. I can take a step back and take a more objective look at proposals.”
Munn-Lively is also delighted with the composition of the Chamber Board of Directors, who meet monthly, discuss the issues, and then work to reach a consensus on concerns involving the 200+ members of the VACC.
“Everyone on the Chamber Board of Directors loves the area,” said Munn-Lively. “They are an enthusiastic, collaborative, diverse group who share the same vision and same mission. Everyone knows what they want the end result to be. They are all highly invested and promote Vinton not just during their five day work week, but all seven days of the week.”