Irene Barton named East Cobb Citizen of the Year

PHOTO CAPTION: (l to r) Sharon Mason, President & CEO of the Cobb Chamber; Irene Barton, 2023 East Cobb Citizen of the Year; Greg Teague, 2023 Cobb Chamber Chairman

(l to r) Sharon Mason, President & CEO of the Cobb Chamber; Irene Barton, 2023 East Cobb Citizen of the Year; Greg Teague, 2023 Cobb Chamber Chairman (photo courtesy of the Cobb Chamber)

Irene Barton, the Executive Director of Cobb Collaborative, was selected by the Cobb Chamber’s East Cobb Area Council as the 2023 East Cobb Citizen of the Year.

The award is based on nominations received from the community.

Cobb Collaborative describes its mission as “Engaging, Educating and Empowering the community to improve the well-being of children and families.”

The East Cobb Area Council is one of six are councils of the Cobb Chamber that also include area councils for “Cumberland, Marietta, Northwest Cobb (Acworth, Kennesaw, West Cobb), Smyrna and South Cobb.”

The press release from the Cobb Chamber described Barton’s contribution to the East Cobb community as follows:

“As the Executive Director of the Cobb Collaborative, Irene Barton works every day to ensure that the East Cobb community is a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Barton has greatly increased the capacity of the Cobb Collaborative to improve outcomes for all children and families in the community.

“Since becoming the Executive Director in September 2018, she has quadrupled the organization’s budget through earned income, grants, donors and sponsorships, launched the Connecting Cobb Veterans program, established key partnerships with local organizations, brought critical mental health, suicide prevention and trauma-credentialed training to over 4,000 individuals through the Mind Your Mind mental health awareness campaign, distributed over 8,300 books to children, installed over 50 Little Free Libraries across the county and grown the membership from 78 to 125.

“Additionally, Barton has been a part of East Cobb Civitan Club since 2020, serving as Secretary in 2021, President-Elect in 2022 and President in 2023. As the President, she plans the twice-monthly meeting agendas, arranges for speakers and service projects, and promotes the mission of Civitan International. Along with her fellow Civitans, she works to raise awareness about individuals with developmental disabilities and champion the international research center in Alabama.

“Barton has been involved in a number of professional organizations such as McCleskey YMCA Board of Directors, Creation Care Team at Catholic Church of St. Ann’s, Georgia PTA, Cobb Community Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse (CCAPSA), Leadership Cobb Class of 2024, Get Georgia Reading Cabinet, Regional Advisory Council, South Cobb Business Association, Cobb Executive Women, and Honorary Commanders Alumni Association. Throughout her 25 years in Cobb, Barton has consistently put service above self in all she does, dedicating herself to helping improve the quality of life in East Cobb.

About the Cobb Chamber

The Cobb Chamber, incorporated with the state as the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, is the largest business organization in the county.

The President and CEO of the Cobb Chamber is Sharon Mason, the Chief Operating Officer is Dana Johnson, and the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors is Britt Fleck.

Projects of the Cobb Chamber include Cobb Executive Women, Cobb Young Professionals, and the Area Councils: Cumberland, East Cobb, Marietta, Northwest Cobb (Acworth, Kennesaw, West Cobb), Smyrna and South Cobb.

On its website the Cobb Chamber promotes itself as follows:

As one of the most influential business advocacy organizations in Georgia and one of the top three chambers in the nation, the Cobb Chamber is dedicated to bringing the community and its leaders together to create jobs and strengthen the economy and quality of life so businesses and the community can achieve more.

Who We Are: We are a community of businesses working together to advance a vibrant economy.

Why We Do It: When businesses thrive, communities flourish.

What We Do (Our Mission): Together, with diverse partnerships, we:

  • Attract, recruit and retain jobs.
  • Help companies start, grow and prosper.
  • Advocate and collaborate to enhance our state’s business climate.
  • Connect members to opportunities, new networks, and resources.
  • Develop workforce and support education.
  • Cultivate current and future leaders.