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Chamber Names Chairman

Pat Williams was named chairman of the Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce at the Chairman's Luncheon Jan. 18.

"Pat Williams is one of those rare people who manages to get everything right," said Eileen Curtis, president and CEO of the chamber. "She is smart, savvy, gracious, involved and caring."

Curtis said Williams — former vice chairman for the chamber — was chosen as the 2005 chair of the board of directors because of her strong sense of business, among other things.

"She is a proven entrepreneur," said Curtis, explaining Williams has succeeded in two different business endeavors. "She understands the issues and needs of small business."

Founder and president of GraceFul Care — an organization providing assistance and companionship to seniors in their homes — Williams first joined the chamber in 1977 when she ran a travel agency.

After selling that company Williams founded GraceFul Care which resulted in her receiving multiple business awards.

In 1997 Williams was the recipient of the chamber's "Best New Business" award. Two years later she was honored with the Hyatt Dulles Award for "Best Community Service," and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce included her as a finalist for their annual "ACE" award.

Williams was also recognized for her assistance to the elderly by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in December when they appointed her to serve on the Long Term Care Coordinating Council.

In 2002 Williams was presented with the "Acts of Caring" award by the county's supervisors and the Area Agency on Aging.

In addition to being honored for her business, Williams has also helped the chamber by integrating the areas businesses.

THIS PAST OCTOBER Williams helped create the Hispanic Business Committee, hoping to introduce the area's Hispanic businesses to the chamber.

"The idea was important to me to be able to start integrating the minority class of the business world of the community into the chamber," said Williams in an October interview. "I didn't see their presence in the chamber — there are businesses from many cultures — but Hispanic is where we decided to start."

It is because of this leadership that Curtis said Williams was appointed as chairman.

"Pat is a born leader who accomplishes great things," she said.

Williams will replace Scott Gessay — former chairman — and become the third woman to hold a chairman's position with the chamber.

"The chamber offers basic benefits that are tremendous to all who have been involved," said Williams in an October interview. "It's a network of people who get together, meet and support each other's businesses."