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Obviously, the big news this week in the chamber is the announcement of the hiring of the next chamber president. Late last week, the chamber’s Board of Directors unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Search Committee to hire Jeanne Schieffer as the next president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce (see The Telegram's Jan. 26 story on columbustelegram.com).

Jeanne will begin her duties as chamber president on March 1. She will become only the third chamber president in the past 36 years.

Jeanne is currently corporate communications and public relations manager at Nebraska Public Power District. That background in communications, working with customers and a board of directors, managing a team, and an economic development organizational mindset … all of that translates directly into her new position. While there are clearly differences organizationally between NPPD and the chamber, there are plenty of similarities for Jeanne to build on.

The board is thrilled it was able to reach an agreement with such a talented professional to lead our organization and confident that Jeanne will drive progress for us in exciting new directions. Jeanne is truly dedicated to the mission of growing Columbus through the chamber, which obviously can only happen if the chamber itself continues to grow and prosper.

I would give a big congratulations to the Search Committee. They worked hard, volunteered a ton of time, were thoughtful and thorough, and at the same time moved the process along efficiently. And through that good work they found a candidate that met their high standards, which is no easy task. In fact, they found several candidates who met that standard and I’m sure they would describe Jeanne as the “best of the best” in this process.

I think we all know transition is challenging, even in the best of circumstances. The reason this transition will be as smooth as it’s going to be is the outstanding team in place on the staff at the chamber. They are talented professionals in their own right, so members and the community can rest assured that the organization is in great hands to make a smooth transition and go forward from here. Bottom line, it’s going to be great!

Also today, an invitation to the next networking breakfast organized by the Micro Business Development Program of Centro Hispano. At 8:30 a.m. this Thursday at the chamber office, they are inviting all chamber members to come network with other Columbus businesses. These bi-monthly, bi-lingual breakfasts are always well-attended and a really good platform for business people to network.

Two things you can count on: We’ll have the heat on and hot coffee ready in the morning. So bundle up and join us!

K.C. Belitz is the outgoing president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.

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