New director looks to make a difference

Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm

The Louisa County Chamber of Commerce hired Keli Harold as the organization’s new executive director in February.  Since she stepped into the office, she hasn’t quit running.

“Harold is a welcome addition to the chamber,” Dr. Jack Manzari, chairman of the chamber, said. “She adds knowledge of the business community, great communication skills and leadership.”

Harold brings 13 years of experience working with non-profit organizations and their boards of directors, such as the Lake Anna Business Partnership, Leadership Greater Washington, the Virginia Horse Council and Rotary District 7610.

Among her responsibilities, the executive director focuses on providing service to chamber members, works to increase visibility of the organization  to government, businesses, tourism  and economic development.

“The chamber represents the businesses and owners. We are here for them,” Harold said. “I want to direct them to success. Letting existing and new members know what the chamber has to offer and all the wonderful benefits it provides is my primary goal.”

The chamber provides local support in the form of leadership positions when necessary for business and community interests that create and maintain economic opportunity and goodwill for our membership, she said.

The business organization  offers provides pertinent information about county government, various boards, agencies, services and other key information to locals, newcomers, existing business and prospective businesses.

Chamber member benefits include special add-on benefits through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, discount pricing through Office Max for office supplies, reduced shipping costs via FedEx and the Chamber Rx program, which provides members and the community  at-large discounts on prescription drugs at more than 58,000 pharmacies.

An advantage of small business members with 10 or fewer employees, the chamber offers free membership in the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Charlottesville Area Regional Chamber of Commerce. This program gives those members greater access to broader educational seminars, networking and marketing opportunities, according to Harold.

The executive director explained that chamber members receive assistance from staff and board members when staging events such as ribbon cuttings, grand openings and ground breaking ceremonies.

The chamber hosts various events which are geared to promote tourism within the community and support businesses.  .

The largest event the chamber hosts is the Louisa Wine Festival, which is held on the second Saturday in October at Walton Park.  This event draws thousands of visitors to the county each fall to celebrate music, good food and regional wines.

The wine festival is a collaborative effort of businesses and organizations in the community, which work together to promote Louisa County and Lake Anna. Many members and non-members get involved in this massive endeavor.

Another popular event is the chamber golf tournament, which occurs in September this year. Several members of the organization volunteer to organize a golf outing at Tanyard Golf Club. Various sponsors support the fund raising event and prizes are awarded to the golfers and teams.

To read the entire story, see the June 20 edition of The Central Virginian.

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