Chamber of Commerce names Settle new director [Orange County Review, Va.]
(Orange County Review (VA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 31--The Orange County Chamber of Commerce has found its new leader and it didn't have to go very far to find her.
Madison County resident and current Dogwood Village resident services coordinator Amanda Settle was chosen as the chamber's new director from among more than two dozen applicants.
"We're really excited," chamber president Sam Kessler said. "We were happy with the applications, but it made our job harder. We had really qualified applicants, which was encouraging."
Kessler said Settle stood out as the right person for the job.
"We were impressed with Amanda and we're glad we were able to get someone from the area who already knows about [what we have] and has a good grasp [on that]," he said.
Settle was chosen by a search committee to fill the director position, left vacant in April when Barbara Bannar resigned after nearly 21 years in the position.
The Orange County Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1924 and annually hosts major local events like the Orange Street Festival and the Montpelier Wine Festival.
Kessler said with Settle on board, the Chamber may look at ways to grow events like the wine festival and Orange Street Festival to be even bigger, better opportunities to showcase Orange County and its businesses.
"Who knows how big the [street festival] could be," he said.
However, he said the Chamber isn't just about events. He said in searching for a director, the organization wasn't looking a for an event planner, but rather someone who could reach out to the community and help grow the chamber into an important, thriving piece of the community--something Settle said she's ready to tackle.
"I have a lot of ideas," she said. "My first goal is really membership. I want to get out in the community and meet the current chamber members and also help potential members find value in the chamber and become members [themselves]."
Settle said she'd also like to increase community involvement and outreach. She said she'd like to see the chamber offer internships and job shadowing opportunities for students. She also said it would be nice to see groups created for women and minority business owners.
"I'd like to look for those niches that we can fill," she said.
Kessler said he hopes to see the chamber become a source of local information for small business owners about what is going on in the towns and county.
"If you're running a small business you're so wrapped up in the business that you can't attend [supervisor and council] meetings," he said. "I'd like to see the chamber relay that information."
Settle agreed and said she sees the chamber as a liaison and advocate for its members.
"Some people may not be members because they aren't sure what the chamber does," she said. "It's about educating them and helping them to see the value in it."
The Chamber promotes the general welfare of county citizens and the prosperity of the county by developing a mutually beneficial network of local businesses and stimulating public support for the business community.
Settle comes to the chamber from Dogwood Village where she currently serves as the resident services coordinator. She has a bachelor's degree in business from Mary Baldwin College and has been involved with the Culpeper County Chamber of Commerce. She lives in Madison with her husband and three children, but said a move to Orange County may be in the future.
Settle's first day on the job will be Nov. 25 and she plans to hit the ground running.
"I'm very excited to be joining the chamber," she said. "I think it has the potential for tremendous growth and impact. I'm excited to be a part of the future of the chamber."
The Orange County Chamber of Commerce is located at 103 N. Madison Road and will host its new member reception and annual mixer Thursday, Nov. 14 at Reynolds Buick-GMC Truck-Cadillac-Subaru in Orange. For more information about the chamber and membership, call 672-5216.
(c)2013 the Orange County Review (Orange, Va.)
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