OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The Opelika Chambers of Commerce has selected a new President and CEO. On Wednesday, the chamber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve Ali Rauch for the position following a nationwide search.
Rauch is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois where she graduated Suma Cum Laude and earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication. She also holds an Associate of Science degree in Communication from Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois.
Rauch most recently served as the Director of Marketing for Chicken Salad Chick’s Corporate Office headquartered in Auburn, where she helped to grow the Chicken Salad Chick brand from its infancy of just three locations, to its now 150+ locations over her more than seven years with the company.
People from all across the country applied for the position, but it was Rauch who stood out according to Brooke Kastner, Chair of the Opelika Chamber’s Search Committee. “The interest level and response to our search within our own community and from across the country was high,” says Kastner, “We had many qualified applicants, Ali Rauch was the most qualified, the best fit for our community and the ideal choice.”
“I am honored and extremely excited to join the Opelika Chamber,” says Rauch. “My husband, Todd, and I first chose Opelika 12 years ago, while he was attending Auburn University. Prior military and transplants from very small midwestern towns, we fell in love with everything about Opelika.”
The draw to Opelika for Rauch was the small-town feel, the beautiful downtown, and the kind people. The unique atmosphere the city provided made Rauch and her family want to call it home. “We’ve done just that, and we’ve made this our home,” says Rauch, “I can think of no better way to play an integral role in continuing to help shape the community than serving in this role.”
Rauch is looking forward to the future and eager to get to work. “The chamber’s work has never been more vital to the community than it is right now and I look forward to working with the chamber’s board, volunteers, staff and greater community to grow the organization and to promote the interest and ensure the livelihood of our business community,” says Rauch, “I have long been an advocate and supporter of our chamber and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get started with the team.”
Rauch has served on the Board of Directors, of the Opelika’s Chamber 20 Under 40 program and has been on the committee for the Opelika Chamber’s Women’s Business Council. She is a proud member of Leadership Lee County, Class of 2014-2015 and was named to Fast Casual Magazine’s Top 27 Women in the Lead in 2019.
Chairman of the Chamber, Carlton Hunley, says Rauch has a proven track record and will be a great fit. “Ali brings a wealth of experience in management, operations, marketing, and communications to our Chamber, with her exceptional background and her commitment to Opelika, not to mention her wealth of relationships in the community, she is uniquely positioned to represent every stakeholder in our business community,” says Hunley, “She is a community advocate and a proven leader with an obvious commitment to supporting local businesses of all sizes and her wealth of marketing experience will be an asset to our chamber.”
Rauch will succeed Pam Powers-Smith, who left the Opelika Chamber in May to become the Director for Business and Industry Services for the Rome-Floyd Chamber located in Rome, GA. Rauch will begin work officially on July 6th.