Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce board members will begin searching for a new executive director after Coreen Haydock announced she would be leaving her post this summer.
Chamber President Lance Fong made the announcement during the Chamber’s April 11 monthly luncheon.
Coreen, a Kitsap County native and graduate of Central Kitsap High School, worked 35 years for several non-profit organizations before joining the Chamber in 2007. During her stint, she worked with YMCA, South Kitsap Helpline and Harrison Hospital Foundation — to name a few.
Before coming to the Chamber, Coreen worked part-time as an administrator for the Clear Creek Trail Project/Great Peninsula Conservancy.
After her husband died in 2001, Coreen returned to work full-time several years later.
“I didn’t just want to do fundraising and grant writing,” she said. “I wanted to do something a little different. I knew this position was coming open. I applied for it and got it.”
Since taking over as executive director, Coreen feels she’s help the Chamber move more into the 21st Century.
“We definitely increased our communications with members and the community. That is one of the main things,” she said.
Coreen also said the Chamber is in a “decent financial” situation and that the budget has remained nearly the same each year.
“Like most membership organizations, we can’t just exist on dues, so we have a number of ways to raise non-dues revenue,” said Coreen.
Coreen said the Chamber is focusing on getting the “most bang for the buck” with such events as the South Kitsap Golf Classic, which is slated for July 10. It is an event she started.
“It also gives our members an opportunity to make connections and network,” she said. “I think the golf tournament will go on for a long time.”
She said the Chamber has done a lot with tourism — and always will — but making sure serving our Chamber members is primary.
During her six years with the Chamber, Coreen said membership has been stable.
“I thought six years ago when I took the job, we would have a high membership number,” she said. “For years, we have stayed stable. From month to month, we go between 311 and 317 members — that’s losing and gaining members.”
She said economics plays a big part in membership.
“Everyone has their different reasons,” Coreen said. “Some businesses close and for some business, joining the Chamber is not on the top of their list. But we’re getting new ones all the time.”
During the past several years, the Chamber has been focusing on making connections between members, and retaining them.
“We have a great board who really works together,” Coreen added.
Coreen said there are some small items, such as the raffle recipient program.
“It does’t do much for our bottom line, but they make people happy,” she added.
She gotten involved with other groups such as the Port Orchard Bay Street Association and Fathoms o’Fun to keep a connection with the Chamber. Coreen said the Chamber also partners with other area Chambers and Kitsap Economic Alliance.
After many years working with non-profits, Coreen said she excited about working part-time with a profit-making venture and using her skills.
“Because I’m a Chamber member, I will continue to stay involved with the Chamber, POBSO and Main Street Association,” she said.
The Board of Directors will hire the next executive director. Coreen said the board hopes to hire someone by June 1.
“They’ve begun advertising the position,” Coreen noted.
She notified the board last year about her intentions on resigning as executive director. Coreen, depending on the new hire, could leave between the mid-June and July 1, but plans are to work with the new executive director for two weeks before leaving.
“I really want to spend time with the person,” Coreen said. “It could be someone completely new to the area or someone from down the street who knows the Chamber.”
Coreen said the next executive director should be reflexible, tolerant, patient and strong.
“It also takes good multi-tasking,” she added. “Because we have multiple balls in the air all the time.”
Individuals interested in the position can send their resumes to Fong as firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chamber office is not accepting résumés.
“I knew when applying for the position, I was the right person for it,” Coreen said. “I’ve had lots of fun and really have enjoyed it. I’ve made lots of friends and that’s what I like about working with non-profits.”
People don’t realize how much the Chamber does in the community and residents, Coreen said.
“We’re a clearinghouse for information, people call or email us, walk in all the time,” said Coreen. “They are not business people or Chamber members, they are people who live here and want information. They think our mission is to serve them, and it’s not — we do, but that’s not our mission.”
Coreen has lived in South Kitsap since 1980.