At the humbling age of 27, Morri Yancy took on a job that changed her life and helped to mold her into the person she is today.
Yancy was born and raised in Guntersville. She graduated from Guntersville High School in 1991 and attended Snead State Community College in Boaz for two years before transferring to Auburn University where she would earn a degree in psychology and a minor in criminology.
According to Yancy, in April of 1996, she began her first “real” job when she started to work at the Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce as the Membership Director.
Then, in December 1999, she interviewed and accepted the position of President with the Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce and officially began on January 3, 2000.
To this day, 21 years later, she still proudly hold this position.
"I started this position at the age of 27 and although I had worked with the Chamber it was a huge challenge to step into this role," she said. "Luckily, I have had some incredible individuals to help me along the way and I have had the opportunity to gain experience and grow into this position."
Yancy said, looking back, she was not the most qualified (on paper) for this job at the time, but the Board took a chance on a young lady that was willing to give it her all for a town she loved.
"This has been an amazing opportunity," she continued. "I have been able to be a part of so many great moments in Guntersville and I have seen so many changes occur since I began serving in this position.”
Of course, there have been some challenges along the way.
She said one of the biggest challenges with her position is that everyone has their own idea of what the Chamber should be doing.
"it is sort of a ‘catch all’ for projects," she continued. "Through the leadership of the Board, we have been able to develop a solid strategic plan and program of work that serves us well in determining the projects the Chamber takes on. The fun and funny times certainly win out over the hard and challenging times. A lot of people think the Chamber is in charge of everything and can answer any question, and we try our best.”
She has certainly had her list of interesting questions over the years.
Some of those include:
• What time does the lake open?
Open 24 hours a day & 7 days a week
• Are the 4th of July fireworks at 9AM or 9PM?
• What should I buy someone for a graduation present? How much should I spend?
Give money, a book, a gift certificate to a favorite local store. I would say the amount depends on your relationship. Close relationship/relative $50+ vs someone you rarely see or interact with $25.
• Can you get rid of the pelicans?
Behind closed doors, Yancy is constantly learning, studying and gaining accolades for jot only herself but for the town of Guntersville.
In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Jamie Wallace Award from the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA), the highest honor given in the Chamber of Commerce profession in Alabama. The award is presented for outstanding service, dedication, and professionalism.
She is a graduate of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management (IOM) and currently serve as the Chair of the Curriculum Committee for IOM. Yancy is also a faculty member for IOM at the University of Georgia in Athens. She serves as the Chair of the CCAA Foundation “Building a Better Alabama;” a member of the CCAA board of directors; a member of the Board of Directors of Business Council of Alabama; a member of Leadership Alabama Class XXIX; a Board Member of the Marshall County Leadership Challenge; and a Past Chair of CCAA. Yancy says she has discovered in the last 10 years she is passionate about leading classes, seminars, and small group facilitation in the areas of community, chamber, and non-profit leadership, strategic planning, and event planning.
Yancy said what has shaped her the most is being the youngest of four children.
“I have a very close-knit family and they are also my closest friends. My siblings, Patti, Carol, Jeff, and sister-in-law Kim; my nieces & nephew Anna, Elena, Becca, and Jordan. These are the people, along with Mom, Dad, David, and Devan, who keep me going and inspire and motivate me to be a better human being," she said.
“I have had the privilege of working with some amazing individuals over the years that have served on my staff and on the Board of the Chamber. So many of these individuals have become close friends and mentors that still help me out anytime I call on them.”
Yancy is the daughter of Barbara and Bill Yancy.
She is married to David Murray, and they have one son, Devan. Both are currently serving in the U.S. Army.
David is deployed to Africa and Devan is stationed in Florida.
In her spare time, she loves to travel and visit new places.
“I have recently become a cycling enthusiast. Most evenings or Saturday and Sunday mornings you can find me on the trails biking on my cute yellow bike,” she said.