We at the Sedalia Chamber of Commerce were very sad to see Connie Smith, Executive Director, resign her position. She was a great addition to our staff and brought some new ideas and a lot of energy. While she was with us she hired an outstanding individual as an Intern from the office management program offered at State Fair Community College, Debra Andresen.
Debra though a bit reserved initially quickly grew to be an outspoken and passionate advocate of the Chamber and the wide variety of programs and member services offered to the business community. After several months Connie asked the board to hire her on a full time basis as Office Manager. She quickly became the go to person at the office. In her new position she learned the inside operations, the nuts and bolts of the business of the Chamber, making sure that everything is at hand and in place for all the activities of the chamber. Debra is the person who will continue to oversee the day to day operation of the Chamber as Interim Director.
Although we lost the familiar face of the chamber, we definitely did not lose the spirit of the chamber. Every member should be at ease, the Chamber is much bigger and more dynamic than one person. The Chamber is, after all the culmination of all the members. We currently have over 300 active members a number that often increases monthly if not weekly. We must remember it is the focus and spirit of the members that make a chamber successful, not a single person. The person that occupies the leadership position can set the tone and tenor of the organization, but it is the collective will and commitment of the membership that sets the direction.
Speaking for myself, the Executive Committee and the long term members of the Chamber we are in good hands. Debra is a capable and steadfast administrator. All the programs and services we offer will continue uninterrupted until we find the next Executive Director.
Everything in life is an opportunity, an opportunity to better ourselves, to better our community, to better the lives of the people we interact with every day. We have an opportunity before us as we seek a new director, an opportunity to better the business community. Take the time to be involved with chamber activities, add your voice to the voices that offer guidance and direction to those who make up the business community.
Above all, rest assured that the staff of the Chamber/CVB will continue to serve and promote the business interests of the community as well as create opportunities for our members both current and future.
Doug Benitz, President Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors