Chamber takes retirements in stride

The start of a new year often triggers a variety of changes. Those changes can be personal or professional, and sometimes they are both.

As a new fiscal year begins for the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, many changes are in the works, most notably among the people who help the nonprofit organization achieve its goal of helping businesses and promoting the city.

“Once one person put in notice, it triggered a chain reaction,” said Brina Marcus, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. “They have done so much for the community, now they get to enjoy it.”

Office manager Rana Williams is retiring after eight years; her last day is Friday. Also retiring are Connie Mancillas, membership investment director, who has been in that position for about a year; Carol Campbell, who has been volunteering for the past 30 years and handles the chamber’s correspondence and history; and Joan Steinke, who works in the office on Monday afternoons.

Val Olsen has been hired to replace Williams and has been working at her side for the past six weeks to ease the transition, said Jill Rowland-Lagan, CEO of the chamber.

The timing was perfect because there are issues that only arise at the end of one fiscal year and start of another that Olsen was able to learn about, she added.

“I enjoyed it so much,” said Campbell, whose last day as a volunteer was July 6.

Campbell said she first started working at the chamber as the city was getting ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary. A friend asked her to come in and stuff some envelopes and help get a few things ready for the celebration.

“I agreed to give a few hours and I never left,” she said.

Once she began volunteering on a regular basis, Campbell answered phones and worked the front desk. That lead to her answering the mail, sometimes as many as 35-40 letters a week. The letters came seeking information about the community from those planning to move here, visit the area or write a report for school. The letters from children were her favorite, she said, and what she will miss the most.

Computers and the Internet have reduced the amount of letters and requests for information the chamber receives, she said, but there was always something for her to do.

Rowland-Lagan said Campbell’s work chronicling the history of the chamber and its activities have become invaluable assets.

Her work as a historian will be taken over by Rita Bowman.

Despite the sadness that accompanies these departures, Marcus said the changes will be good for the organization, which will be infused with new energy and new ideas.

Rowland-Lagan said when they learned about all the retirements it was a good opportunity for the board to re-evaluate how much work was being put on the volunteers and start defining tasks and establishing goals.

That, in turn, resulted in several new volunteer positions.

In addition to serving as chairman of the board, Marcus will take on the role of membership investment director.

“I’m always out and about in the community, so it’s easy to talk about the chamber,” she said.

Monica Preston has taken over as communications director and Julie McAnany is now the events director, with assistance from Kayla Porter.

Rowland-Lagan said the new positions and assignments are designed to prevent anyone from feeling overburdened.

The chamber also is benefitting from its new membership structure, which allows people to select a level of membership based on different services. Marcus and Rowland-Lagan said the switch has worked well, allowing businesses to take advantages of services offered by the chamber and see the results.

“They see an immediate return on their investment,” she said.

Another change on the horizon for the chamber is a revamped website, which will be more user friendly and allow members to post their own events on the calendar. It is expected to debut soon.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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