Quarterly Luncheon brings Benham as featured speaker
by Jessica Loeding
Jul 27, 2014 | 1787 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With an extensive family business history, Georgia Supreme Court Justice and Bartow native Robert Benham brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise as the guest speaker for the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Luncheon.

Scheduled to be held Monday, Aug. 4, at the Clarence Brown Conference Center, the Quarterly Luncheon places an emphasis on quality business programs.

“According to the Supreme Court of Georgia’s website of historical information, since its creation in 1845, only 29 justices have served as chief justice. Bartow County is fortunate to have Robert Benham as one of those 29 justices,” Committee Chairman Parnick Jennings said. “To have someone with his knowledge, background and expertise in our community has been a tremendous asset. Not only has he been an advisor to many local business owners and community leaders, but he has worked closely with many elected officials and business owners on a state and national level.

“In addition, he has unselfishly given of his time as a volunteer to our community’s youth. This has served as an encouragement to young people that with a good work ethic built upon a solid educational background they too can achieve much on life.”

Appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1989, Benham served as presiding justice from 1994 to 1995. He became chief justice in 1995 and held that position until 2001. Benham continues to serve on the court, having been re-elected in 2008 to a fourth six-year term.

Benham said he looked forward to returning to Cartersville, a community he is “indebted” to, and will speak “how important civic responsibility is to making our community a healthy community.”

“Basically, the impetus for this comes from ... [U.S. Supreme Court] Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is now retired from the Supreme Court,” he said. “She has been conducting a national drive to improve civic responsibility, and her focus has been on why it is not taught in the schools as it once was.”

Benham, a lifetime member of the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce and member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, comes from a long line of businessmen.

“Over the years, I have known of my family’s involvement in the business community,” he said. “My great-grandfather had a business downtown in the beginning and early part of the 20th century, the 1910s, 1920s or so. My mother had a department store downtown on Cherokee Street and then on Main Street. My brother had a business downtown on Bartow and Main Street, and on the public square. I had a law office downtown, and various relatives had businesses in Cartersville.”

Attracting “several hundred Chamber members” each quarter, the luncheon event exposes members of the business community and the public to elected officials, motivational speakers and business leaders from every level.

“Because of the quality of our programs, we have attracted several hundred chamber members to our luncheons. We have also attracted people who were not chamber members when they first came to the luncheon, but by coming to the luncheon, they saw the benefit in chamber membership,” Jennings said. “One thing we had not anticipated was the number of people that come from other parts of our region to the luncheons. Because of the quality of our program, we have people drive for over two hours just to hear the speakers.

“And how does it further the chamber’s role in the community? ‘Chamber serving Businesses … Businesses serving the Community.’ That is the chamber commitment, so even though we would like for all local businesses to be a member of our chamber, we know that is not the case.”

“The chamber is a great force of bringing people together to promote ‘Unity in the Community’ and serving others. We are truly blessed to live and work in a community that works together and serves others,” Chamber President and CEO Joe Frank Harris Jr. added.

While Bartow County and Cartersville benefit from an ideal geographical location, Benham said the community prospers also because of its people.

“We’re extremely blessed in [our location and leadership]. In one survey we were listed as one of the hundred most beautiful towns in America. In another survey we were listed as the 16th friendliest town in America, and in a recent magazine article, we were listed as one of the best small towns in Georgia in which to live,” he said. “I think that did not come about just through geography. It all came about because of the type citizens we have here. We are blessed that we are surrounded by mountains; Cartersville is located in a valley.

“… We have the revitalization of downtown. We have the museums, we have the college and we have all the recreational facilities. But, all of that aside, we still have some of the best citizens in the state and I think they drive the community and that drive comes in part through … the Chamber of Commerce.”

Networking for the Quarterly Luncheon will begin at 11 a.m., with a buffet at 11:30 a.m. and the program at noon. For more information on individual tickets or table sponsorships, which includes 10 tickets, contact Cheryl Hyde at 770-382-1486 or cheryl@cartersvillechamber.com.

“There are several local business owners that have told me the contacts they have made at the Quarterly Luncheon have literally ‘kept them in business,’ so there is still value in shaking someone’s hand, looking them in the eye, and telling them what your business is all about,” Jennings said. “I am so confident that you will enjoy, find value and grow your business by coming to the Quarterly Luncheon that I make the following promise: if you don’t think you benefited by coming to the luncheon, I will pay for your ticket to the next luncheon. That’s as close to a money-back guarantee as you can get.”