What got you ‘here’ won’t get you ‘there’

Five years of college. Two years of grad school. Entry-level marketing coordinator for a small hospital. Marketing director for large hospital.

Promotion to senior manager overseeing operational departments at the large hospital. president/CEO of the local chamber of commerce. This is my “HERE.”

Getting to HERE has been an adventure. During college, I had a great internship at a large hospital in Huntington. It solidified my decision to complete my degree in health care management but also led me to get my MBA – few of the administrators at the hospital had business degrees. At that point in the early 1990s most hospital administrators were clinicians who had worked their way up to managers. I knew I needed to obtain an advanced degree to be considered for a job in my field of choice and to get “THERE.”

I was ecstatic when I was hired as the entry-level marketing coordinator at a small hospital in Marietta, Ohio. I took the education I learned in classrooms and internships over seven years and for the first time, really got to do what I had trained to do – market a hospital. I networked with others in my field; I participated in community events. I overextended myself at times with outside activities but this allowed me to meet many people. I always learned from these interactions; mostly I learned never to burn a bridge as I still interact with several of these people today.

Three years later I was sitting in an American Heart Association meeting when the CEO of a large hospital in Parkersburg leaned over to me and asked me to send him my resume. They were looking for a new marketing director. Within a couple of months, I was “THERE.”

So I took my skill set of making elaborate to-do lists, keeping a tight calendar, pride of authorship, attention to details, love of numbers and finding the humor in every situation to my new employer. I used these skills to coordinate advertising campaigns, write press releases, plan special events, attend community functions and develop relationships with key stakeholders.

And eventually those skills brought me to my new “HERE” – as president of the chamber. I still use these skills every day but are they the right mix of skills? I’m going to find out on May 1.

“What got you HERE, won’t get you THERE” is the theme of this year’s Women in Leadership luncheon, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley. The luncheon will be held on May 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna. The event is designed to celebrate women who guide area businesses and organizations and those rising to the top in their organizations.

We are excited to have Laura Prisc, founder of Leadership and Life Potential, as our keynote speaker. She will guide the attendees through a skills assessment and professional development exercise to start the day. WTAP weekend anchor Shannon Houser will be the luncheon emcee.

After the lunch, the attendees will be enlightened by a panel of area businesswomen who will discuss the challenges and excitement they’ve encountered during their careers. The panel will be moderated by Debbie Rake with Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, and includes Angi Smith with United Bank, Ginny Conley with Conley Law Office, Marie Foster Gnage with WVU-Parkersburg and Arlene Borkowski, who just retired from GE. And to wrap up the day, Miss Manners Pam Harvit will entertain the group with some amusing stories from her “Mind Your Manners” program.

Special thanks to Karen Henline of Murray Sheet Metal and her committee for organizing a great day for the women executives in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The on-line registration link goes live on March 20 at www.movchamber.org Chamber members receive a certain number of complimentary tickets based on their specific membership tier; additional attendees are $50/person.

Interested in sponsoring this event or contributing a door prize? Please contact the chamber at 304-422.3588.

Upcoming Events:

On-line registration is available at www.movchamber.org or call the chamber at 304.422.3588.

* MOV Chamber Day at the Capital: Tuesday, March 12. Lunch will be served in Room 215 (East Wing Conference Room) from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Chamber members are encouraged to set aside this day and travel to the state capital in Charleston.

Members will have the opportunity to sit with legislators during lunch and update one another on key legislative issues. Bring handouts pertaining to your organization to share with our elected officials. Transportation to and from Charleston is the responsibility of the chamber member. Open to all chamber members.

* March Lunch & Learn with Leadership & Life Potential:Friday, March 15 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. WV Central Credit Union, 2nd floor conference room, 809 Division St. Attend this Lunch & Learn to hear more information about “Putting Your Dream to the Test” presented by Laura Prisc. Free for chamber members.

* Annual Partner in Education luncheon: Friday, March 22 from 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. WVU-Parkersburg, Multipurpose Room, $120 for two students, two school representatives and two business representatives to attend. Please call the chamber office at 304-422.3588 to get registered.

* March Business After Hours hosted by Peoples Bank: Thursday, March 28 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. New Peoples Bank branch at 1102 Grand Central Ave., Vienna. Free for chamber members.

Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news. We also invite you to call us at 304-422-3588, email us at info@movchamber.org, or stop by the chamber office at 409 1/2 Market St. in Parkersburg.


Jill Parsons is president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.