Athens, GA (January 31, 2022) - Katie Williams, director of the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau, has been named one of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Gamechangers, a group of ten community leaders under 40 who are contributing to the development of a better Athens. 

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce aims to foster leadership in Athens now and for the future. In alignment with this goal, the organization launched this new initiative to raise the profile of young people in business that lead by example and collaboratively seek to implement a bright vision for the community. 

Katie was chosen for her leadership and collaboration skills, along with her adaptability. She accepted the position of Athens CVB director in late January 2020, having no idea that when she arrived in mid-March she'd be overseeing Athens' official destination management organization through a pandemic that had an immediate and devastating economic impact on the hospitality industry. Nevertheless, she stepped up to play a primary leadership role in a collaboration of many local entities to organize, brand and promote "Ready, Set, Go Safely," a campaign to encourage protocol, sanitization measures, and safety guidelines to build public trust and reduce economic loss. She also oversaw the development of "Support Athens' Own" content to profile local businesses and inform the public of how to continue to economically support them during stay at home orders.

Lead by Katie, the CVB also developed and promoted new content to highlight outdoor dining, new takeout & delivery options and picnic spots. The "Choose an ATHventure" campaign targeted the Athens driving market and promoted outdoor attractions the public could enjoy safely. In 2021, the CVB's recovery efforts continued with the inaugural Athens Restaurant Week, with two dozen participating restaurants. Katie applied for and received $45,000 of co-op and matching funds from Explore Georgia to increase the CVB’s investment in recovery advertising. The CVB also launched the Athens Beer Trail last fall, to bring more visitors and spending to Athens. In addition to leading the CVB, Katie also serves as President for the state’s CVB chapter (GACVB) and is currently a part of this year’s LEAD Athens class.

This January, the award recipients were recognized at an awards luncheon. Erin Barger, CEO of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, spoke with their friends, family, and those who nominated them to highlight not only their accomplishments, but who they are in her keynote speech. These deserving young leaders will be featured in Athens Magazine for their accomplishment.