The Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce’s search for a new leader has ended.
The board announced last week that Clinton native Kaitlin Norris has been named to the position, which was left vacant after the resignation of Laura Deans, former executive director who resigned in late November.
Deans was hired in June 2015 to replace outgoing director Janna Bass, who left the Chamber for a position at Sampson Community College.
“I think we are very fortunate,” Anthony Sessoms, current president of the Chamber said last week after he announced the decision to hire Norris. “She will do a great job and I think we have the right person, in the right job, at the right time for both her and the Chamber of Commerce. I think she will bring a great deal of passion for the mission of the Chamber of Commerce to the county.”
Norris is a graduate of Clinton High School and recently graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Parks Recreation and Tourism Management. The new director worked as an intern at the Garner Chamber of Commerce and has experience with the Chamber’s software system.
“I am very excited about working with the Chamber,” Norris said Monday afternoon, following her first official duty as the new director. “The Chamber is something I am very passionate about. I am looking forward to helping the Chamber continue to grow.”
According to Sessoms, the Chamber director works a great deal with the community and the businesses within the community.
“As Chamber director, Kaitlin will work with the Chamber’s members and business community to ensure an increased quality of life and help make a stronger business community,” Sessoms noted about the position.
Sessoms said he feels Norris is a great fit for the director’s position. Norris will continue to write the Chamber Chat column weekly, as well as work with the local radio station. She is also expected to continue the Member of the Weeks, which was initiated years ago by The Sampson Independent and then Chamber director Amber Cava.
“I am confident Kaitlin will take things above where they are now,” Sessoms added.
During the end of 2015, Sessoms noted that the Chamber experienced several administrative changes. During December, the Chamber was guided by the board, who Sessoms said dedicated many hours to ensure that the Chamber ran smoothly in the absence of a director.
The former director, Deans, and administrative assistant Megan Henry announced their resignation mid-November, but then Chamber president Alison Carr said both Deans and Henry had done an excellent job in their short tenure in maintaining the Chamber as an organization dedicated to promoting the economic growth of Sampson County.
Carr said the several months that Deans gave to the job were part of a successful year, even if it was one that has been a bit in flux.
“This year has been one of great transition within our Chamber offices,” noted Carr, saying that the Board of Directors wish to extend their heartfelt thanks to Chamber members for their patience and assistance. “Despite the constant change we have faced, our Chamber has continued to strengthen and grow with over 425 business and individual members, Business After Hours networking opportunities, Monday morning Member of the Week gatherings, new member ribbon cuttings and the continuation of our signature projects and façade/capital equipment grant program.”
She said Chamber officials were similarly thrilled with the success of the Young Professionals of Sampson County organization, which was founded in June.
“While the months of December and January will likely be somewhat out of the ordinary with a lack of staff members, I can assure you that our dedicated group of volunteers that comprise our Board of Directors and Ambassador program will continue to work diligently for you,” Carr told members in her release about the resignations to the public.
The board is continuing the search for an administrative assistant to help Norris with the duties at the Chamber.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.