GALION — Most people in the area are familiar with Miranda Jones, who has been the member engagement director with the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce for several years.
However, people are now getting to know her as executive director of the chamber. Long-time executive director Joe Kleinknect has resigned, effective at the end of May.
Jones, with the chamber since November of 2016, is looking forward to her new role.
“I had been an ambassador for the chamber when I worked at Schilling Graphics and then I went on the board of director’s there and then I was an ambassador for the chamber and then I was a representative of Schilling on the board of directors for the chamber,” she said.
Jones said her husband got a new job that has him traveling 40 weeks a year at that time and they have three children.
“I had to take a step back from Schillings,” she said. “I loved my job there, but I was working 40-50 hours a week and you couldn’t just go if the kids were sick or for doctor’s appointments … you were in the trenches. So I unfortunately had to take a step back, and I came off the board of the chamber.
“But I wanted to stay involved so I started to do freelance doing their social media accounts and websites … the marketing stuff,” she said.
Jones added that Judy Dyer, who had been at the chamber for 25 years, announced she was going to retire in March of 2017.
“So it kind of just merged into a part-time position for me to still do the social media and the website and learn the administrative assistance duties,” she said. “I have that kind of background with people and business and stuff and they kind of made that into the member engagement director, and gave me a little more responsibility.
Jones took that opportunity and ran with it.
“I was kind of learning more about the chamber and the direction in which the chamber was going, because at that time we knew Joe would be retiring at some point. It was just a matter of when and who was going to be succeeding him. It wasn’t guaranteed it was going to be me, it was one of those things where if you could get someone who could learn the position and learn the members and be involved and get be a good candidate for that position when he did retire … that would be a good transition. And that’s what it turned into.
“Joe has been a great mentor,” she added. “He’s been a great person to teach me the ropes and teach me what a chamber is and what a chamber isn’t. He’s been involved in the community for so long. He grew up here, graduated from Galion, started working in the community, coached little league and was on city council. If anyone had any questions, he’s always been there.”
Jones has been in place as the executive director since February 10.
“We wanted three months of transition,” she said.
Jones has a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, and hopes to bring both attributes to the chamber.
“I’m full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm,” she said. “I love Galion, the uptowne district is my passion, the Third Fridays has been my baby since I started. And I’m the president of the Galion Kiwanis Club and we help clean up the square in Galion and then help with Experience Galion and kind of collaborate with them to help keep the uptowne looking good. We work side by side with the city, I think that’s important with both Galion and Crestline.
“Crestline’s momentum right now is huge,” Jones said. “I think we need to work with them now more than ever. It’s important that they know we’re there for them in any way possible.”
She said its important that Crestline and Galion both realize the chamber of commerce is there to provide assistance in anyway it can.