Nothing is constant but change

SUN Columnist

I would like to let the community know that I will be resigning my position as the director of the Chamber of Commerce after a rewarding and educational nine years.

There must be something in the water as my predecessor also resigned after a nine-year tenure.

Many people will assume that with all the changes going on with the Visitor Center and the Chamber that this scenario prompted my decision. This is not really the case. I have accepted an offer with a company in Pagosa Springs and will be returning to private enterprise.

Actually, with the confusion surrounding the logistics of the Chamber and Visitor Center, my initial decision was to stay, but I felt that the time was right for me to make a change. This position at the Chamber has become a part of me; I have tried very hard to help as many businesses and organizations as I can. There seems to never be enough time or resources, and so much more can always be done.

While I am considered “the face” of the Chamber, it is really the staff that is the mechanics behind the operations — including our volunteers. Jan Santopietro is an outstanding membership coordinator. If you haven’t met her or utilized her knowledge to improve your business, you’re missing the boat and are not mining the gold mine. Jan is a classic professional. She is thorough, personable and will look at your business and see what Chamber advantages best suit your needs. Stacy Kirby, who produces the events for the Chamber, is a tireless workhorse (after multiple days of 12-16 hours, she does get a little tired). Stacy produces these events with the community always in mind: Will it help the businesses, how can we enhance the visitor or participant experience? Stacy can always take lemons and make them into lemonade should she be faced with a challenging situation. She can also take a paper bag and make it into a work of art. Both these ladies are true team players and answer thousands of calls, not only from members, but mostly from visitors inquiring about Pagosa Springs. They also work the Visitor Center lobby every day as part of their duties.

And now for our volunteers. You are our wings. Your loyalty to the Chamber, joy in serving the public and constant desire to give the correct information and guide people so they have the best possible time in Pagosa Springs is invaluable. You are rock stars.

The Chamber has a very bright and solid future ahead for our businesses. We continue to be one of the strongest membership Chambers per capita in the state. This achievement is obtained because of the support of our businesses. We will be rolling out some programs in 2014 that will be a great fit for our organization. And while we may not be at the location by the river, we will still have a prominent presence in town. We will be offering more education, so you can improve your profitability. We can only lead you to the water trough — we can’t make you drink. Take advantage of what the Chamber has to offer. Implementing one new idea could increase your revenues, streamline your costs, improve your marketing or save you time.

It is hard to imagine I will not be in this position much longer. I will stay on until a replacement is found and we transition smoothly. But, with the organizational changes occurring, this is the time to have someone new at the helm come in and continue to shape the future of the Chamber. Our team is putting solid programs in place.

Life will be different. I wasn’t Sally and everyone embraced me and the changes that I made. I know this community will extend the same openness and support to my replacement.

I will also not fade into the sunset. I am honored that I will be able to remain on several boards such as Region 9 and Club 20, and I will continue to co-chair the hospitality committee for Rural Philanthropy Days in June. I am grateful that I am joining a company that has chosen to make its home in Pagosa Springs and that I believe has a future for growth and service to this community. Nothing is constant but change. I have been honored to serve this community and will continue to be involved — just on a different level. And no, I cannot sit on any new boards for a while. But thanks for thinking of me and attempting to ask. There are a lot of balls in the air right now, and my goal is to make all these transitions occur as smoothly as possible. With the community’s help and support, the changes will go smoothly.

Thank you, Pagosa Springs, for all you have bestowed on and taught me. Thank you for the conversations, even if you didn’t agree with a position I took — it only makes us more aware. Thank you for the amazing support of our organization and our efforts. I had one of the best jobs in Pagosa and one that I loved. And now, I look forward to another chapter in my life, still here in Pagosa Springs.

Business news

We will begin the voting process for the 2014 Chamber Board of Directors on Jan. 6. We encourage you to vote online. It takes just a few minutes and you can vote from home or your office, day or night. Check out the article in The SUN about our candidates.

Please take the time to nominate a person or persons for the community awards: Volunteer, Citizen, Small Business and Non-Profit of the Year. There is also the Green Business Leadership Award. Forms are available online at the Chamber’s website, or at the Chamber office. Say thank you to those who commit so much time and energy to making our community a better place to live.

As 2013 comes to a close, I would like to thank these businesses renewing this week: Elkwood Manor, Luxury Bed and Breakfast. The Hideout and Boulder Coffee Cafe. Don and Nancy Strait renew as individual associates and we appreciate their support.

From the staff and board of directors, the Chamber thanks the community for support, input and membership in our organization. We will be there for you in 2014. Remember, this organization is not about one person — it is a group of talented people here for the community and to help your businesses. Happy New Year, Pagosa.

This story was posted on December 26, 2013.