A message to the members from Board President Bill Ackerman
Cohen named to lead Rutland Region Chamber
RUTLAND – Mary Cohen, who has served for the past four months as Interim Director of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, has a new title: Executive Director.
RRCC announced her appointment to the Executive Director’s position today following a four-month evaluation of potential candidates and the Chamber’s goals and future, Board President Bill Ackerman said.
“After considering the services we provide and expect to provide in the future, and her incredible leadership during a time of dramatic change, the board voted unanimously to remove the word ‘interim” from Mary’s job title,” Ackerman said. “Mary provides the ambition, leadership, determination and community contacts we need to bring the Chamber to an entirely new level of service to the people of and visitors to the greater-Rutland Community.”
Long focused on marketing its members within the region, legislative advocacy and networking opportunities, Ackerman said collaboration and new Chamber initiatives would flourish under Cohen’s leadership. “We envision an organization that continues to provide the services for which we’ve been long known, while significantly expanding the way we market the region in partnership with others,” Ackerman said. “The greater-Rutland revitalization continues to blossom, and the Chamber will be increasingly active in spreading that word.”
Cohen fills the position left vacant by the resignation of Tom Donahue, who left to join BROC Community Action. She took over as interim director shortly after Donahue left, and almost immediately had to manage the organization through the loss of longtime employee Joan Hill, who died unexpectedly.
“Mary demonstrated incredible resolve and spirit in a tumultuous time and not only kept daily operations running smoothly, but helped the board and staff begin to envision new opportunities and new benefits to the region at large,” Ackerman said.
Cohen is a longtime community leader, with deep ties and a commitment to public service. She most recently served at Neighborworks of Western Vermont, where she was Operations Director, Director of the Homeownership Center, and lead Neighborworks’ community revitalization effort in Rutland’s Northwest Neighborhood. She was previously a realtor at Berkley, Veller and Greene. She has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Vermont.
Cohen has served the region for decades on a variety of nonprofit boards, including lengthy service to the Rutland Community Cupboard, Rutland Regional Medical Center and the Rutland Health Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County, and Crossroads Arts Council.
“The past four months have been among the most interesting and fun of my professional career, and I am excited to market our local businesses and the amazing vacationland that the county represents,” Cohen said. “I love Rutland and the greater-Rutland region, and will focus on sharing that love with visitors, potential visitors, and the community at large.”
The Chamber also announced the appointment of Janelle Howard as Director of Business Development. Growing up in Rutland County, Janelle has a strong background in marketing, real estate and retail sales, and will be focused on marketing the chamber, local businesses and the region in collaboration with other organizations.
“After returning to Rutland after several years out West, I appreciate what the Rutland region has to offer more than ever before,” Howard said. “Rutland County is a gem, with historic downtowns, spectacular mountains and lakes, wide-ranging arts and culture, and an incredible sense of community. I’m thrilled to be able to help tell the rest of the world about it.”
The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization in its 118th year, whose purpose is the promotion of member businesses through marketing, networking and advocacy. It is located at 50 Merchants Row in Downtown Rutland.
The Chamber can be reached at 802-773-2747 or online at RutlandVermont.com