WEXFORD — Just weeks into her new leadership role, Rebecca Martin, THE CHAMBER of Commerce’s president and CEO, is digging into her new post and looking forward to a role in the business group that has more than 1,100 members.
She has been busy learning about all the networking and programs offered by THE CHAMBER along with meeting business and government leaders.
“There’s so many and such a variety of programming,” said Martin. “I’ve received such strong encouragement from the membership. Right now, I’m meeting people, trying to get a handle on things.”
Martin said she applied for the post because she was attracted to this chamber for its regional presence, impressive business network and community initiatives, its scholarship programs and its legislative agenda.
“The networking and the programming in THE CHAMBER is very strong,” said Martin. “One of the things I’m looking at in my first year is trying to stay strong and well in those programs.”
Martin wants to expand its membership to make the strong organization even stronger.
She came from Austin, Texas, where she was senior vice president of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce for nearly three years. She replaces Susan Balla, who stepped down as THE CHAMBER’s first director on Feb. 15.
Balla had been executive director for three years, serving during the merger of The Cranberry Area and the Northern Allegheny chambers of commerce into THE CHAMBER in January 2010.
In her previous post, Martin was part of the executive team in Central Texas for economic development, infrastructure, technology, education and work force development, and business attraction.
Before that, Martin was the president and CEO of the Ludington & Scottville (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce & Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2007 to 2008 and vice president, chamber division of the Erie (Pa.) Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership from 1997 to 2003.
She had worked as the director of marketing, communications and government relations for Erie-Western PA Port Authority, served as an administrative officer in the Erie County (Pa.) Executive’s office, was a teacher for the Mercyhurst Preparatory School and a public relations officer at Gannon University.
“The challenge to any chamber is relevancy. Are we offering programs and services that are a need? Is the economic base strong that allows businesses to grow and thrive?” she said.
“I see the chamber as a powerful connector that brings businesses, community, education and government together. In those areas, the chamber touches all of them, and they all impact business.”