CARTHAGE — There will be a new face at the Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce starting July 15. The board has hired Rebecca J. Wallen as the new executive director to replace Jeanette A. Turner, who stepped down to pursue other interests.
Mrs. Turner has worked for the chamber for nearly three years.
“I have enjoyed working with the chamber and will miss it dearly,” she said.
During her time as director, Mrs. Turner feels one of greatest achievements was making the office mobile. Trading in the landline for a cell phone and the desktop computer for a laptop allowed the director to get out in the community more.
“Being more mobile allows me to visit members at their business,” she said. “Being out in the community is the purpose of the chamber.”
Leaving the chamber will allow Mrs. Turner to concentrate more time on her other pursuits including her quilting and custom sewing business as well give her time to spend with her grandchildren. However, she said she will continue to volunteer at chamber events and may pursue other volunteer opportunities.
“Peter and I don’t have any immediate plans to leave the area,” she said. “We plan to continue to stay active in the community.”
Mrs. Turner said she will also continue to be active with the Twin Village Christmas event which she initiated five years ago and has since been established as a chamber event.
“During Jeanette’s tenure with the chamber she has been able to enhance and improve many chamber events,” Tina Lanier, chamber president, said. “We saw an increase in attendance to many of the chamber events which has given the chamber many opportunities to give back to the community. This was shown many times with the donations that were made to the Village Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry. Also with Jeanette’s vision, she was able to increase our membership which in turn helps us expand our events to include our fourth of July Celebration, Winterfest, the Twin Villages Christmas Celebration. It is her understanding and caring that she has for the Carthage community that will be missed.”
The new director is no stranger to the chamber, having served on the Board of Directors for a year. With her new position there is a vacancy on the board and anyone interested in serving is urged to send a letter of intent and resume to the chamber.
Mrs. Wallen, who has background in marketing and working for non-profit organizations, is also the facility director at the Carthage YMCA, a position she will continue with her part-time duties at the chamber.
The chamber president said it was Mrs. Wallen’s “ many years of marketing and leadership that made her our choice.”
“Rebecca is familiar with the workings of the chamber and she has many ideas to help enhance the chamber further,” Mrs. Lanier said. “I know with her guidance and experience not only will the chamber thrive but our members of the chamber will also. We are confident that Rebecca will continue on where Jeanette left off to continue to grow our community and our events.”
“I love building connections,” said Mrs. Wallen as to her interest in the director position. “I’m looking to grow the chamber, enhance memberships and create connections with the community and businesses.”
The chamber office at 120 S. Mechanic St. will remain open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of the director managing the Farmers Market on Fridays during the summer.
Mrs. Wallen said she and her family came to the area with the military and decided to make the north country their new home, settling in Carthage.
Her family, which includes husband, William, daughter, Phoenix, 15, and son Gavin, 9, have enjoyed attending chamber events, especially Winterfest. The new director said she looks forward to seeing the events from the other side.
“I can’t wait to dig my heels in,” she said, adding she hopes to expand events and find new ways to advertise chamber activities.
Mrs. Turner said she is confident that Mrs. Wallen will do a great job but since during the pandemic she is not able to train the new director on all activities, she will be on hand to help and answer questions.
“The chamber board made a great choice when selecting her to fill the director position,” Mrs. Turner said. “I hope she receives the same warm welcome and support that I have received.”