This week, the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce welcomed Nancy Simpson as their new executive director of the organization. Simpson, who has been with the Chamber since 2013, moved from her previous position as General Manager with the departure of Lou Gagliardi from the organization.
The Chamber’s Executive Committee came together and made the formal recommendation to make Simpson the new executive director and it was made official by a unanimous vote on Friday by the Chamber Board of Directors.
Simpson, originally from Calumet City, Illinois, moved to Portage in 1997 with her husband. She spent six years with the Portage YMCA where she gained experience working with staffing, member services, oversight, event management and budgeting. During that time she sat on the Chamber Board before eventually moving over to the Chamber full time to become General Manager.
One of the first things Simpson will be looking to do is replace herself in the G.M. position.
“I’m looking to try and bring a younger feel to the Chamber,” Simpson said. “I’d love to get some new stuff out there and be more connected socially through Instagram and Twitter. That reach really helps.”
“We’re going to be doing two Progressive Dinners this year which are a really fun, laid back way to do some good networking,” said Simpson. “We’re going to be offering some education classes to our members. We partner with the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and we just need to get the classes rolling. They offer an array of classes like marketing and Quickbooks.”
Simpson will be looking to make sure the events that the Chamber is involved in are driving their mission and are aligned with what their vision is. One of the major changes that Simpson worked on with former director Lou Gagliardi was implementing a new Chamber-wide software switch to a program called ChamberMaster.
“Members can log in to ChamberMaster and they can take charge of their own account with their own information,” Simpson said. “If members have a hiring change, want to change their level of sponsorship or they want to register for an event they will be able to do it all online with a credit card, all under one roof. It’s going to make things a lot easier. Along with that will be a place where businesses can list any job openings they might have and there’s a place called ‘Hot Deals’ for if a company has any deals going on that they want to advertise. It doesn’t have to go through me manually anymore. There will be no more third person. They will be able to log in with a password and do it all themselves.”
Simpson will, as always, be working to increase memberships and work more with the City of Portage events and future economic development to attract and grow the business community in Portage.
To find out more about the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce, go to: http://www.portageinchamber.com.