2 Chamber of Commerce managers resign

By Brian Soergel | Sep 02, 2018
Jan Nicholas

Updated Sept. 5:

The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce – which serves to promote and support the economic vitality of the city – lost two-thirds of its paid staff last week with the resignations of Development and Community Engagement Manager Jan Nicholas and Operations and Finance Manager Stephanie Johnstone.

“I cannot thank the Edmonds community enough for welcoming me into their town,” Nicholas said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the chamber, and hope to maintain the relationships that I have built.

“I was sad to leave my position, but it was time to leave the organization while the chamber works through some challenges. I wish the chamber nothing but the best going forward."

The departures continue a pattern of instability at the chamber.

“As much as I like to be an open and honest person, I can't say much, as I still need to be

marketable to future employers,” Johnstone said.

“What I can say is that I loved my job, and it was very difficult to leave, but it had to be done. It's been so fantastic meeting the folks who live and/or work in and around Edmonds. After Ieaving, I've received calls, texts, and emails from so many people who wanted to show their support.

“I was the one who stayed in the office all day; I can't even imagine what Jan's inboxes are like. It was a real pleasure working with her; we had the benefit of learning a lot from each other. I will miss many aspects of my job, and am grateful for the past two and a half years.

“I am excited for the road ahead, and hope I get to stay in contact with my friends from Edmonds.”

Chamber board chairwoman Marilla Sargent issued the following statement: “It is with regret that the resignation of two valued staff members of the Edmonds Chamber was accepted. The Chamber board wishes them the very best in their future endeavors, and thanks them for their service.

“Since 1907, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce has been a fixture in the Edmonds community, joining business owners so their collective voice can be heard. The chamber helps to facilitate connections and collaborations within our business community, nonprofits, service clubs and with government entities.

“In addition, we have established a number of community-building events to promote tourism and bring our citizenry together in celebration. In 2017, the Chamber donated more than $23,341 to community organizations and charities from the proceeds of these community events.”

Nicholas was named the chamber’s new membership manager in September 2016. She replaced Sandra Williams, who resigned in July 2016.

Williams said then that she turned in her resignation on Wednesday, July 13, with the intention of staying on for 30 days and working on A Taste of Edmonds. When Williams reported for work Thursday, July 14, she said she was told to leave.

Williams replaced Valerie Claypool, and began her duties in December 2014. Claypool had held her position since March 2012 and worked as a co-manager with Ailsa Kellam, who was named business and communication manager.

Claypool and Kellam’s jobs were part of a cost-cutting move for the chamber, which eliminated the position of executive Jan Vance after she had served five years.

Kellam resigned in July 2013. She had replaced Carolyn LaFave, who now is executive assistant to Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling.

Earlier this year, Nicholas announced that the Chamber was going to “blow up” the Taste of Edmonds for 2018, which included a name change to Taste Edmonds. Changes included new bands replacing established ones, and an increased fee for the beer garden – which also included wine for the first time.

Admission price was reduced to $3 from $5, and there were free bouncy houses added for the kids.

Attendance for the three-day event has been slipping, from a peak of about 50,000-plus in 2014 to about 40,000 last year, Chamber President and CEO Greg Urban said earlier this year. He was named to the position in May 2014.

The Taste is a fundraiser for the chamber, with proceeds helping fund community events like An Edmonds Kind of Fourth, the Classic Car Show (coming up Sept. 9), Halloween Trick-or-Treat and the Holiday Tree Lighting.

In 2014, it was able to contribute $100,000 to those events – but in 2017, the number fell to $60,000.

As the Beacon reported, reviews on last month’s Taste were mixed.

Urban said no numbers on attendance and money raised for 2018 have been compiled yet.

“All chamber events go ahead as scheduled,” he said. “We are so fortunate to have amazing volunteers who do so much to ensure we can produce these community events. None of these events would be possible without their help.

“For 111 years, the chamber has worked in this community, and many people have lent their efforts to make it even better. Each person leaves their unique mark that is carried forward by the next person lucky to work for the membership, businesses and the greater community.”

Kelsey Foster writes the occasional Chamber Corner column for the Edmonds Beacon, is an individual member, and is on the Taste Edmonds planning committee in charge of social media.

“Their departure is a big loss to the Chamber and the local business community, for sure,” she said.

 


Original story

The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce lost two-thirds of its paid staff last week with the resignations of Development and Community Engagement Manager Jan Nicholas and Operations and Finance Manager Stephanie Johnston.

Nicholas was named the chamber’s new membership manager in September 2016. She replaced Sandra Williams, who resigned the position in July 2016.

Williams said then that she turned in her resignation on Wednesday, July 13, with the intention of staying on for 30 days and working on A Taste of Edmonds. When Williams reported for work Thursday, July 14, she said she was told to leave.

Williams replaced Valerie Claypool, and began her duties in December 2014. Claypool had held her position since March 2012 and worked as a co-manager with Ailsa Kellam, who was named business and communication manager.

Claypool and Kellam’s jobs were part of a new focus for the chamber, which eliminated the position of executive Jan Vance after she has served five years.

Kellam resigned in July 2013.

She had replaced Caroline LaFave, who is now executive assistant to Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling.

Earlier this year, Nicholas announced that the Chamber was going to “blow up” the Taste of Edmonds for 2018, which included a name change to Taste Edmonds. Changes included new bands replacing established ones, an increased free for the beer garden – which also included wine for the first time.

Admission prices was reduced to $3 from $5, and there were free bouncy houses added for the kids.

As the Beacon has reported, reviews were mixed.

 

 

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