Chamber names new executive director

By Katie Demeria

After searching for almost two months, the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce announced its selection of a new executive director Tuesday.

Cheri Wright served as the executive director of the Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota before accepting her new role in Shenandoah County, according to a news release.

Board of Directors President Clay Arthur said the chamber had 31 individuals apply to the position, with 23 highly qualified applicants showing continued interest.

“We really feel that we have a quality candidate and are excited about the vision and direction she will bring to the chamber,” Arthur said.

Wright will start in her position on Sept. 2. The first 30 days in her new role, she said, will be spent getting to know the community.

“I want to become entrenched into the communities to know what everybody wants, listening to the businesses to find out what they’re looking for in the chamber,” she said.

Her goal is to enhance the businesses, she said, along with the county as a whole.

She approached her role as executive director of the Wabasha-Kellogg Chamber of Commerce in the same way, she said. Each community needs a different direction and she plans to respond to what those needs are.

One of the most important things for a community to do, she said, is to stand together.

While the chamber’s focus is, of course, on business, she added that tourism is an important part of the community.

“You want the tourist to have that once in a lifetime experience as they’re going through a place,” she said.

Each town, she said, should understand what another has to offer and encourage visitors to go visit one further down the road.

“We have to work together and we have to have each other’s backs, and that’s why it’s important to have a county chamber, because it really emphasizes that,” she said. “No small community is the same.”

According to the release, Wright has also worked as the operations manager of a trucking company and a theater company’s executive director. She holds a master’s degree in business.

Born in Miami, Wright said she is eager to get back to the East Coast, where she will be closer to her son and other family members. She plans to live in Woodstock.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com