From the humble halls of the Folly Beach Exchange Club, James Island's Margaret "Margie" Miller has risen to president-elect of the National Exchange Club.

Miller, whose Exchange Club service dates back to 1998, will serve as president-elect for a year and become president in 2010, with an inauguration at the national club's annual convention in Palm Springs, Calif.

"It's going to be a big job, but I'm up to it," the energetic Miller said. She was elected in 2008 to a second two-year term as Region 10 (Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina) vice president, and said she plans to spend her year as president doing "a lot of traveling," and trumpeting the Exchange Club and its good works.

Her goals are to build membership and increase the number of clubs.

"I want to shine a light on Exchange Clubs across the country, and what we do. We are a very well-kept secret," she added.

The national club's Web site, at www.nationalex, defines Exchange as "an all-volunteer, national service organization for men and women who want to serve their community, develop leadership skills and enjoy new friendships."

Exchange is made up of nearly 800 clubs and more than 25,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, the site states.

The largest of all the nation's Exchange Clubs is the Charleston chapter, with 278 members. The Charleston unit, however, does not accept women as members.

Miller said she hopes Exchange clubs that exclude women will open their doors to them. She hopes her leadership will show men-only clubs what they are missing, but doesn't otherwise plan to push those clubs to change their policies.

"I will encourage clubs to invite all to become members," she said.

Though Miller could not become a member of the Charleston club, she said the club helped her lead and advance at the regional and national levels.

"They supported me as district president and regional vice president. I certainly could not have done it without the support of the community that includes the Charleston club. They are a wonderful club and do great work, so I don't find fault with them," Miller added.

Miller and husband Fenton Miller, a retired Navy officer, have two grown children and a grandson.

Margie Miller began her Exchange Club service with the Folly Beach club and is still active with that club and with the Medical University Exchange Club.

She's retired as a civilian accountant for the Navy and from the U.S. State Department as an international banking specialist. She now serves as clerk of court for the Folly Beach Municipal Court, volunteers for the Low Country Food Bank and serves on the administrative board and chair of the Stewardship Committee of the Folly Beach United Methodist Church.

Her vast and varied work experiences, and the fact that she's "a people person," helped her accomplish many goals and to propel her to the top of the Exchange Club, she said.

"I've been cultivating a lot of friends over the years," she added with her customary smile.

Miller said that in her year as president-elect, she will work with others to develop strategies to help her meet goals she's set.

In July 2010, she will become president for a year, and after that serve as immediate past president for a year.

"It's a three-year commitment," she explained.

Reach Edward C. Fennell at or 937-5560.