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Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce leaders pass baton

Kelsy Eaton

MARIETTA — In approximately six months, the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce has replaced its former president and chief executive officer.

Monday the chamber announced its new head, Kelsy Eaton, an internal hire promoted from events management for the chamber.

“I’m proud to say that I was the one that found her and she’s a creative individual,” said former President and CEO of the chamber Carrie Ankrom. “I saw the spark in her eyes the first day that I interviewed her.”

Eaton’s predecessor was let go in August with a nationwide search for a replacement announced by the chamber in September.

Ankrom now serves as the Marietta area’s representative for the National Federation of Independent Business, working alongside the NFIB’s Ohio Leadership Council, whose 38 members include Bob Kirkbride, of Marietta, too.

Carrie Ankrom

Kirkbride was elected for the most recent two-year leadership term to the council last month, according to the council’s Feb. 26 press release.

According to a separate press release by the Marietta area chamber on Monday, the chamber’s board of directors approved Eaton’s promotion on Feb. 26, with Monday as the start date for the new responsibilities.

“We had many strong applicants locally and from across the country,” said the board’s chairman Kristopher Justice. “Kelsy Eaton was the perfect choice. She has experience working with (more than) 600 members and has exciting plans for programming and events in our future. We have seen her grow in her time with the chamber, and are very excited to see what she is able to do next.”

Ankrom also wishes her protege well, following in her footsteps.

“I worked at MACC for 15 years so I know the adventures that are in her future. Under my leadership, we were at an all-time high. We had the largest membership in our history, the largest annual dinner in 25 years, best fundraising year on record, the top safety council in Ohio, and were on the rise,” shared Ankrom. “I would love for her to continue these trends. I hope she can use what she learned in the 14 months she has been at the chamber to overcome the challenges that lie ahead. I believe it is critical that the person in this position continue to lead, protect and support the business community through these difficult economic times. As she focuses on the local level, I look forward to working with her in my new position at the National Federation of Independent Business protecting business owners on the state and federal levels.”

A lifetime resident of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Eaton worked with interim President Gary O’Brien over the past six months and also boasts a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fairmont State University.

“I am honored and excited to start this new role with the chamber,” Eaton stated. “As president and CEO, I look forward to the work I can do on behalf of all of our wonderful chamber members.”

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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