Diane Strickland is retiring from the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, where she served as the organization’s president.
Strickland has been president of the Chamber of Commerce since August 2010. She was hired at the Chamber of Commerce in August 2006, and previously held the positions of administrative assistant and membership director.
She expects to finish her time at the Chamber of Commerce around the first week of September.
Strickland is looking forward to spending more time with family, devoting herself to her hobbies and traveling some.
“My husband and I have truly been blessed,” she said. Strickland and her husband John, have two sons, Jason and John Jr.
Accomplishments include doubling the size of the River Town Days festival, continuing to grow the agriculture appreciation luncheon, increasing the Chamber membership dues revenue and adding new benefits and member networking events.
“All of the Chamber’s success doesn’t happen from a president or staff member’s standpoint,” Strickland said. “We’re very supported by our membership, tons of volunteers and local governments. We’re very grateful to all of those people.”
Strickland said she was pleased how the Chamber’s leadership programs for both adults and youth have developed. The Chamber has also kept up with technology, using electronic newsletters and a website to connect with the community.
The Decatur County Fair, which benefits chamber programs, netted its largest revenue in 2012. Part of that success has included a shift of focus from exhibit halls to more emphasis on entertainment, based on community interest.
Strickland estimates that over the past six years, Chamber membership has increased by about 20 percent. Chamber staff and board members are constantly working to support local businesses thrive, she said.
“We’ve really worked hard to try and find a solution to help new businesses keep their doors open. That’s where we see the biggest heartbreak at. We’re still working with new businesses before they open their doors to make sure they know what they’re getting into and what the requirements would be, such as cash flow for the first few years and having a good business plan.”
Prior to working for the Chamber, Strickland worked for Edens and Avant, a property management group which owns the Bainbridge Mall; the Guardian Corporation and for WMGR/WJAD. Strickland worked for 13 years at the radio stations, from 1987 to 2000, as the office manager.
The Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce’s website is www.bainbridgegachamber.com