Jennifer R. Civello, 36, assumed the position of Executive Director of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce recently, the Chamber’s announcement mentioned that Civello would "ease into her new role," but the vibrant Civello jumped into the job, feet landing firmly on the ground and head brimming over with ideas.
"It is a challenging job, but I am enjoying it," Civello said. "Out of challenges, opportunities grow."
Less than three weeks into her new role, Civello presided over a board meeting for the first time.
"The board members came away energized," said Duffy Judge, co-president of the board. "Jen is taking the bull by the horns. She talked about the best way to serve our membership, including events that would help highlight businesses in town and give higher value to our chamber."
Among Civello’s goals are taking the Chamber to a different level and getting the business community to recognize the Chamber as a strong player.
"The Chamber will look to providing strong member benefits, including but not limited to workshops and business forums," she said. "We will support events that are supportive of and beneficial to our members."
In regard to the relationship between the business community and the town government, Civello said that the Chamber would work to make transactions smooth.
The new executive director has been receiving "a lot of calls from people inquiring about stuff they could find on the Chamber’s web site: Williamstownchamber.com. I’m really trying to draw everyone to our web site," she said. "It’s an information hub."
Members can send their news to Civello at 458-9077 and by email email@example.com, and she will post it on the chamber’s web site. "It’s a free tool," she pointed out.
As the Chamber’s Executive Director, Civello is trying to get to know as many people as she can.
Michelle Getz, who together with her husband Ken owns the specialty toy store Where’d You Get That?, struck up a conversation with Civello at a meeting.
"I came away with the impression that she will bring a wealth of ideas to the Chamber," Getz said. "She appears to have strong business and organizational skills which will work to her advantage in this multi-tasking job as the new executive director."
Civello can also meet new people can at Beer With The Board - a monthly event open to the public as well as Chamber members. At those informal gatherings, attendees can share with the board their concerns about starting a business in Williamstown or tell of the successes they have enjoyed and obstacles they have faced as proprietors of businesses.
"We have an eclectic board of directors - health, insurance, banking - that can offer pretty good perspectives," Civello mentioned.
The Chamber will soon launch a 2013 membership drive. "Those considering renewing or becoming new members should really give the Chamber a look," said Civello adding that such people should make some time to talk with her about initiatives that would be beneficial to the membership.
On a personal note, Civello grew up in Williamstown and now resides in North Adams with her husband, Nicholas, and their two daughters, 7 and 9.
"My parents still live in Williamstown, and I definitely shop in town," Civello said. "I talk to lots of people about the flow between North Adams and Williamstown. They really co-exist."
In addition to her role with the Chamber of Commerce, Civello is an adjunct instructor of psychology and sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. "If everyone took a class in psychology or sociology, we would be able to work together (harmoniously)," said Civello who earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and social work from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and completed her graduate studies at SUNY Empire State College.