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Long-time Monett C of C leader will retire

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Suzy McElmurry
After 11 years of service to the community, Monett Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzy McElmurry has announced her retirement. Members of the Monett Chamber of Commerce Board accepted McElmurry's resignation at their January meeting.

In submitting her resignation on Jan. 18, McElmurry gave the board two months notice and time to find her replacement.

"I will stay and help with the transition process," said McElmurry, who came to Monett from Texas where she had worked as director of the Midland Chamber of Commerce and head of the chamber's convention and visitors bureau. "I really want the chamber to find the right person, and I'm available to help them."

The chamber board has posted the position and will be accepting resumes until Feb. 15. After that date, candidates will be selected for interviews with members of a search committee that is being formed.

The decision to leave her leadership post was not an easy one for McElmurry to make, because she loves what she does.

"I love Monett and this is the best job in southwest Missouri," said McElmurry.

As executive director of the Monett Chamber, McElmurry has worked for a board that changes annually. And while some would find the constant change disconcerting, McElmurry has embraced the challenge.

"Each board of directors is different and brings something new to the table," McElmurry said. "I love watching the dynamics of a group coming together for the good of the community."

Networking is another aspect of her job that McElmurry loves.

"I enjoy getting people connected to each other and connected to Monett," said McElmurry. "I also loved getting to know the people in the community and the chamber membership."

Constructing a new chamber building was among the top highlights of McElmurry's time with the chamber.

"Our new building was a wonderful challenge and very exciting," said McElmurry. "I was proud to be part of a community that could accomplish that."

Chamber President Regina Bowsher said the chamber has big shoes to fill in finding a new executive director.

"For over 10 years, Suzy has been a face and voice for Monett business and industry and has done it well," said Bowsher. "She has worked with a diverse membership base and has a knack for getting volunteers to serve this community."

Among McElmurry's greatest accomplishments are the Festival of Lights and the Leadership Monett program. Since both were launched under McElmurry's tenure, Bowsher gives her credit for their success and positive impact on Monett.

"The Leadership Monett class (which began in 2007) has not only helped cultivate and enrich community leaders but has helped dozens of business leaders with networking contacts for personal, community and professional relationships," said Bowsher.

The Festival of Lights, which began in 2003, has grown and in 2011, the lighting display attracted a record number of visitors and volunteers.

"What a shining star for the Monett community as the lighted park not only brings joy to our residents but people from all over the area," said Bowsher. "I know Suzy and she wouldn't want to take any credit for either one of these programs, but these are just two examples of ways she has brought community leaders together for the good of Monett."

Bowsher said McElmurry did an excellent job of steering Monett into the new millennium and Bowsher has no doubt the community will continue to grow under a new executive director.

Although McElmurry is retiring, she plans to stay in the area and look for new adventures.

"I feel like I've had tremendous support," said McElmurry. "I couldn't have accomplished anything without the membership support and the community support, and that's been awesome.

"I think Monett has a very healthy community, and I want to thank the chamber and the community for letting me be a part of all that's gone on for the past 11 years," added McElmurry.

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