WESTFIELD-While applicants from as far away as Kansas have applied for the executive director position at the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, search committee members are hopeful they will find a “local candidate” in the coming weeks.
“We have received over 35 resumes from as far as Kansas,” said Dino Gravanis, Chamber president. Gravanis is also general manager at the Springfield Country Club.
Gravanis noted the committee had posted an advertisement on LinkedIn, Indeed and local media outlets.
“We really are interested in finding a local candidate who knows our area, our challenges and has a local network in place,” he said.
Kate Phelon, who had served as executive director for many years, retired at the end of September.
Gravanis serves on the search committee alongside Dan McKellick, vice president, who is an associate lawyer with Bacon Wilson, P.C.; Julianne Krutka, second vice president, and realtor with Park Square Realty; Mike Roundy, director, and a partner at Bulkley Richardson; Andrea Allard, director, and CEO at the YMCA of Greater Westfield, and Dawn Thomas, director, who is retired.
Gravanis said committee members have vetted several candidates and are scheduling in-person interviews with three candidates at press time.
“As a committee we want to make sure that we hire the right person who will continue to direct the Chamber in positive growth while improving our greater Westfield business environment,” said Gravanis.
Gravanis added committee members are seeking a leader who will take the time to get to know the Chamber members and work with municipal leaders to create a fostering environment for all.
“We also want to make sure that we encourage stability, provide access to resources, and attract new interest that will benefit our community as well as our Main Street businesses,” said Gravanis, adding, “We don’t want to just hire to fill a vacancy.”
Once a new executive director has been chosen, the committee will plan small “meet and greet” events that observe COVID-19 protocols.
Gravanis said the events will introduce the executive director to Chamber members and also provide members with the chance to share their input on issues they feel are important for the Chamber to focus on.
“We need to work together to promote our interests in this city as we are all stewards for the next generation,” said Gravanis.