Fairfield Chamber of Commerce’s new president and chief executive has a few ideas she wants to implement as she starts her tenure, but her primary objective as she begins is to listen.
Chamber President and CEO Peggy Emerson met with several business and community leaders at a meet and greet on Tuesday morning to learn more about the Hamilton native who previously led two Ohio chambers, most recently serving as president of the Darke County Chamber of Commerce. She also served as the executive director for the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce.
While her experience leading a pair of chambers of commerce will help her lead the Fairfield chamber, her mark leading the business network won’t be like her previous jobs.
“There’s a saying in the chamber world that says, ‘If you’ve seen one chamber, you’ve seen one chamber,’” Emerson said. “So, yes, I’ve got a lot of experience, but at the same time, every chamber is so different.”
For her, events like Tuesday’s meet and greet are opportunities for her to meet and talk to people, something she’s “anxious to start doing.”
Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chair Jamie Bella said Emerson was their top candidate “because of her need to feed information to our community.”
“Peggy has a really, really infectious laugh and personality, so she connects with people really well. And then what she does with that connection is to build upon it by giving information and educating all of us,” she said.
Emerson said her plans have a basis in connectivity and collaboration. Plans include turning the back of the chamber office on Wessel Drive into a place where the organization can have smaller events and chamber members can use. She also wants to implement technology to facilitate members’ interactions.
“To me, what the chamber is all about is bringing people together,” said the Miami University graduate. “We want to bring businesses together that are mutually beneficial. We have Career Fest coming up so we want to bring our potential workforce together with our employers. We want to bring our knowledge in to our different HR people and continue this great networking together. So that’s really, to me, what the chamber is all about. Also, be the voice of our business community to our government.”
One of the biggest opportunities for the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce is with the Spooky Nook at Champion Mill, a $165 million project that’s already attracted tens of thousands of people to the city of Hamilton.
Capitalizing on the influx of visitors coming to Butler County’s capital city is expected to increase, and more opportunities for hotels, restaurants, and things to do will be needed.
“I’ve been thinking about that a lot,” said Emerson, who’s been a long-time supporter of the Spooky Nook project.
She said the Ohio 4 corridor in Fairfield is “close enough to be marketed as the place to stay, to eat, and I think there’s a ton of potential there.”
“That’s just something we need to be strategic about. I think there’s a marketing plan that needs to happen there, and how we really reach out,” she said.
Emerson and her husband Roger have three grown children, two of which live in Butler County, and have found a home in Hamilton. She said Fairfield and Fairfield Twp. “are great communities with a diverse collection of businesses” and looks forward to serving them.
The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce serves 500 members in Fairfield city and township, and in other communities.
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