Calera Chamber of Commerce undergoes change

By GINNY COOPER / Staff Writer

CALERA—Executive Director Gail Blankenship will retire from her role with the Calera Chamber of Commerce on July 31.

This is another in a series of changes for the chamber. Last June, Executive Assistant Myra Moore died unexpectedly after serving many years with the chamber. During the past year, new members have joined the board bringing “new ideas and energy to our group,” according to Calera Chamber of Commerce President Holly Stanley.

“The Calera Chamber of Commerce is now at a crossroads. We can choose to go on about business as usual or we can use Gail’s retirement as a jumpstart, once again adding flame to the fire and bringing our chamber to the forefront of everyone’s minds,” Stanley wrote in an email concerning Blankenship’s resignation.

Chamber officials will work to keep the organization on track, Stanley said, meeting with city officials to discuss the future of the chamber as well as business leaders to determine the city’s needs.

Blankenship joined the chamber in September of 2009, when the chamber was “struggling to stay in existence,” and revitalized the organization, Stanley said.

Previously, Blankenship worked with the YMCA in both Alabama and Florida before accepting the position with the chamber.

“She helped kick start the chamber,” Stanley said. “Now she is ready to hand it over to someone who can take it one step farther.”

Blankenship will assist with the transition as the chamber looks to hire a new executive director.

“I think we’ll get a lot of great applicants,” Stanley said, citing a plethora of talent in the area. “We’ll have a hard time picking.”