“We want to make sure we’re doing the most for our members that we possibly can,” Jackson told SurfKY News.
As she recalled her first day on the job - June 4, 2012, Jackson smiled at the memory that her starting day was also the day of the “Owensboro Has It!” annual expo, at which as many as 50 businesses get the opportunity to showcase their business for guests and visitors at the event. While some might think of the first day on a particular job being the same day as one of the company’s biggest public relations days of the year as “overwhelming,” Jackson summed up the experience with a different word.
“It was inspiring,” she said. “It was inspiring to see how people want to be involved in this community.”
Since then, Jackson said she has continued to be impressed and appreciative of the support for the Chamber and its work, noting that several key changes have been made as part of the overall improvement effort.
“At the direction of the board, we did a diagnosis of internal things: by-laws, recruitment, we worked on space, we remodeled,” she said.
Adjusting board member terms was one of the biggest changes, Jackson pointed out.
“We expanded the terms of our members,” she said. “We looked at gaps in the membership. We had a lot of one-year appointed positions. The real commitment to that was to get three-year term members (where they were needed).”
As president of the agency, Jackson had oversight of two specific Chamber programs: the Chamber Young Professionals, which was renamed this year to Connecting Young Leaders of Owensboro, and the leadership training program Emerge Owensboro. Jackson said she was glad to have the opportunity to be so closely involved with both groups.
“It is such a rewarding program,” Jackson said of Emerge Owensboro. “It is a great program for me to become familiar with and lead.”
Of CYLO, Jackson said she is “quite proud of how they have taken the bull by the horns.”
Other highlights for Jackson over the last year included the centennial celebration in January, but she said more than anything else, serving as the organization’s president has been its own reward. She noted that until she was hired for that position, she really didn’t understand how important the Chamber is to the community.
“I feel honored that I got chose to be a part of it,” she said of the Chamber.
So what’s next? Well, the Chamber is hiring, Jackson said. Primarily, the newly created position would require the person who fills it to work actively with the various members to help them stay informed on what the Chamber is doing, and offer them the opportunity to have direct input at earlier stages of a particular issue.
“We’re looking for someone who helps us be better at communicating with our members,” she said. “We’re strong advocates (for the community). We want to do more to focus on membership, to figure out, ‘How do we make members successful?’ We want to communicate to them what we’re doing.”
Prior to serving as the Chamber president, Jackson had a nearly 15-year career in banking, though her job at the time did give her some knowledge of the organization. Jackson was the agriculture committee member for the Chamber from 2004 to 2006.
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