LEXINGTON — The Lexington Clipper-Herald’s General Manager Heather Heinemann has accepted the role of the Executive Director of the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce and will be starting her new position on Sept.13.
“I am so very happy for Heather and her new duties with the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce, but sad for us at the Clipper-Herald. Heather has been a part of our team for over eight years,” Lee Enterprise Regional Publisher Terrie Baker said.
“She stepped up to the challenge of General Manager in 2016 and proved to be the best fit for the community of Lexington and the Clipper-Herald. Although I will personally miss her working with me, I know the friendship we have will never change,” said Baker.
“For a little over a year now the Chamber of Commerce has been searching for a new Executive Director. We have tried to hire a few applicants along the way but couldn't get that done for various reasons,” said Lexington Chamber of Commerce board of directors president Zach Blessin.
“Over that course of time, the Chamber's Board and our Chamber Assistant Cynthia Boyd, have filled the role as best we could. Through all of our events Heather has been there filling in and helping at every turn often times going above and beyond what an ordinary volunteer would do,” Blessin said.
“While it was a surprise to learn of her interest in the job, we could not be more excited for the future of the Chamber and our community with Heather coming on board as our director,” Blessin said, “Heather brings a wealth of experience and leadership to this position as well as a deep love and connection for Lexington and our business community.”
“Filling this role has been a priority since it became open last year, but our board has wanted to make sure we hired someone that we felt would do the job justice and would truly serve Lexington and its businesses,” said Blessin.
“While our board has done its best over the last year to fill the void, having a full time director will provide much greater contact and service to our members,” Blessin said, “We believe Heather is a home run hire as she is already deeply involved in the community, knows many of the business owners, and is very capable of going out and talking to our business owners about what their needs and wants are in regards to the Chamber of Commerce, as well as promoting Lexington as a whole.”
Blessin concluded, “Heather's time and experience with the Clipper-Herald is invaluable and will serve the Chamber well to have a seasoned leader taking over. We are looking forward to a bright future for the Chamber with Heather at the helm.”
Heinemann joined the Lexington Clipper-Herald in 2013 when she was hired by Baker as a marketing representative. In 2016 she stepped into the role of general manager.
Prior to the Clipper-Herald, Heather has held positions at Park Avenue Estates (Avamere), Elwood Care Center and IBP Childcare.
Heinemann has also been involved with the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in other capacities for many years. She has been a Chamber Ambassador for over 15 years and joined the board of directors five years ago. She joined the executive board two years ago.
Another way she has been connected with the Lexington community is sitting on the Convention and Tourism board since 2013. She said this was an “exciting board,” to be on and enjoyed working with the other members. She will continue to sit on this board, but now as the Chamber’s executive director.
When asked about her reasoning for taking on the director’s position, Heinemann said it was important to overcome the negative perception people have about Lexington. She said the diversity of the community is something that brings and holds us together. “We are stronger together,” Heinemann said.
Through her work at the Clipper-Herald, she said she has established relationships throughout the community and is anxious to build new ones as the director.
Heinemann said she is eager to get out in to the community to let them know she is here to help and wants their input on improvement, new things or events they would like to see happen. She encourages businesses to join the chamber for the exposure, to network with other individuals and to find out what different resources are available for them right here in Lexington.
One of her goals as director will be to get our membership’s names out to the wider public through the chamber website and engagement on their social media outlets. We need to help our local business grow in every way possible, from services to job listings or local events through the community calendar on the chamber website.
Heinemann also wants to take a look at creating a tiered membership package for businesses that join and provide different benefits based on the tier they choose to occupy.
She says that this will be a great opportunity for businesses to consider rejoining the chamber.
Some skills Heinemann has learned through being in the media is communication, especially those face to face interactions. She said it’s important to listen to people’s thoughts and concerns and be able to work together to find a solution.
In closing, Heinemann said she will miss the staff at the Lexington Clipper-Herald, noting they have been her family for many years and said her relationship and support of the paper will continue.