The Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce is continuing to grow with its part-time executive assistant taking on a full-time role.
AMHERST – It’s shaping up to be a busy few months for members of the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce.
The organization has continued to experience tremendous growth over the last year or so and has decided to make its part-time executive assistant its full-time executive director.
“We’ve had so much growth that it’s really come too much for one part-time person so the board has decided to change the part-time executive assistant position into a full-time executive director position,” chamber president Gladys Coish said.
Coish said Patti Colson plays a pivotal role in the chamber from an organization point of view. By moving her into a full-time position, she said, it will give her more time to work with the board to continue to grow the chamber and increase its visibility in the community.
The chamber president said she has been reviewing Colson’s position for more than a year and went before the board in May to recommend extending it from part-time to full-time. The cost of the added hours will be made up through fundraising activities and not from club membership dues.
“One of the biggest changes we’re making is to have more control over the daily operation of the chamber,” Coish said. “Rather than having governance in the hands of a position that’s continuing to change yearly, we felt it makes more sense to have that under the executive director with input and guidance from the board.”
Colson, she said, will also work as the liaison with the Atlantic and national chambers of commerce and will make sure the chamber’s bylaws are adhered to and updated as necessary. She will also be able to counsel new board members.
“Continuity is important because we’re always having new board members each year,” Coish said.
The chamber is bringing back its quarterly meetings with the first meeting on Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. at town hall. Directors of each of the committees will be expected to update the membership on what’s taking place.
Another initiative this year includes increase education for the chamber’s leadership and its membership. Coish and Colson have already attended the Atlantic chamber meeting in Enfield and are attending one day of the Canadian chamber meeting in Prince Edward Island later this month.
The chamber is also working with its community partners, including the Cumberland CBDC and the Nova Scotia Community College, to host Small Business Week activities between Oct. 20 and 24.
Another fundraising event is the Little Black Dress Ladies Evening at the Amherst Golf Club on Oct. 24 featuring an evening of fun, a dinner and entertainment. Only 130 tickets are being sold for the event.
The chamber has also begun a sponsorship drive. Coish said the chamber is hoping to get 10, $1,000 sponsors. To date, she said, the campaign is approaching the 50 per cent mark.
Membership dues, she added, are being used to support programs for the membership.
Coish is also hoping the chamber can continue its partnership with the Town of Amherst.