Dudley stepping down as Mt. Vernon Area Chamber of Commerce director

Steve Chapman

Mt. Vernon Chamber Director Pam Dudley is stepping down from her position at the Mt. Vernon Area Chamber of Commerce after six-and-a-half years.

Cites long hours, time for change as reasons for departure; will join local Edward Jones as office administrator
After six-and-a-half years as executive director of the Mt. Vernon Area Chamber of Commerce, Pam Dudley is preparing to make a career change. She steps down as chamber director at the end of July and will be starting her new job at the Edward Jones office, where she will be the business office administrator.

Time for something new
Dudley said she decided to resign as chamber director because, while she loved the job, it was time for her to do something new.
“You pour your entire heart into a job like Director of the Chamber,” she said. “You really have to be in the community at all times. You get tired, but it is so much fun, and it's so rewarding. (It’s) just time for a little something a little different.”
Sometimes, Dudley said, as director, she had to take care of unexpected issues that arose at the last minute.
“Most of the year it is a 40-hour week,” she said. “However, there are times that people don't know (about, like) when you get the phone call at Saturday morning to come and help at the Farmer’s Market, or someone needs you. You get a text on Sunday afternoon that says, ‘I totally forgot to do this. Can you take care of it before the ribbon cutting tomorrow?’ Those type of things just those aren't on the clock, so you can't really count it as part of the 40 hours.”

Position requires a lot of dedication
Likewise, Dudley said, overseeing special events required her to devote a large amount of time on the job.
“During events,” she said, “easily, you work two weeks straight without a day off trying to prepare and get ready for a big event. Apple Butter Makin’ Days, I don't even know how many hours I put in (during) October, but it's a lot, getting ready for that.”

Dudley brought changes that benefited the business community
During her time as director, Dudley has brought about some innovations to the chamber. One of them, she said, was the creation of a tiered system of membership.
“We offered fairly low-level memberships before I got here,” she said. “We changed to a tiered-membership program and were immediately accepted and welcomed by the businesses, who went from possibly a $300-a-year-membership to a $4,000-a-year-membership. That enabled us to bring in funding that was directly related to what we do every day, which is help the business of Mount Vernon.”
Also, Dudley said, she began utilizing social media to communicate with the public about the chamber’s events and activities.
“I think the social media aspect has helped us grow in our followers,” she said. “When I started, we had about 4,000 followers on the Apple Butter Makin’ Days page, and we have almost 20,000 now. So, if we are interacting with the public on that platform, then they interact back, and they show up at our events. They learn about information for the event, for instance, schedules, what band is playing when, and the types of things they'll see when they come to our event. That just makes us more visible for a very low cost. So we were able to not take very much money and turn it into a way to communicate with public.”

Events favorite part of the job
Dudley said what she loved most during her time as director were the community events she got to be part of, such as Apple Butter Makin’ Days and the Business Expo.
“Events are my absolute favorite thing,” she said, “and of course, Apple Butter Makin’ Days; who couldn't love that? It does take an entire year to put that event together each time around, so we put a lot of energy into it. The other events that I love are the Business Expo, (and) our Christmas parade is amazing and so much fun to have the community come out for that. And then, of course, our award ceremony every year.”

Dudley hopes business community continues growth
As she gets ready to transition to her new job, Dudley said she hoped Mt. Vernon’s business community will continue to grow stronger.
“It has just been the joy of my life to work for this community, to help these businesses and just to see the absolute growth in six-and-a-half years,” she said. “And it didn't all come from this office, but we get a lot of the credit for it, even when that doesn't happen. I just hope to see that momentum continue, that the growth continues, that people continue to shop local, and that they really love their community more than anything else.”

Interested parties
Individuals interested in applying for the position of executive chamber director can find more information on the chamber’s website at www.mtvchamber.com.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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