Marco Island Chamber of Commerce celebrates an evening of leaders and leadership

— In a double feature Sunday, Marco Island’s Chamber of Commerce held its 10th Leadership Marco graduation and installed new officers for 2012.

A group of 14 business professionals joined Marco Island’s foremost leaders by graduating in Leadership Marco’s 2011 class. The program, established in 2002, explores subjects including government, history, tourism, recreation, health, safety and culture as they relate to island issues. Participants were able to peer behind the scenes and see how segments of the community function.

Starting with a get-together kickoff cruise in August, leadership classmates met every other Wednesday for 10 daylong sessions. Each session concentrated on one aspect of the area and the economy.

“I loved the agricultural session because we were able to go to Immokalee and visit an orange grove,” said Mindy Matusiak of the 2011 class. “I also was impressed with the law enforcement session because we trained like the police using a Taser and shooting bad guys.”

Included in the class were Michael Calow, Rose Marina; Jennifer Bullock, Mutual of Omaha Bank; Lisa Nguyen, Island Montessori Academy; Desiree Buhelos, the Boat House Motel; Jennifer Edwards, Collier County Supervisor of Elections; Ben Russell, Hodges-Josberger Funeral Home; Matusiak, Marco Island Parks & Recreation; Bill Green, Marco Eagle; Marilyn Honahan, Coastal Breeze News; David Hyatt, Marco Surveying & Mapping; Theodore Forcht, The Forcht Group; James Hubbard, CJs on the Bay; Katherine O’Hara, Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce; and Steve Josslyn, Keller Williams Realty.

During the evening’s change of watch, Marco Island City Council Chairman Jerry Gibson installed the Chamber’s 2012 officers and board. Kevin Donlan, of Publix Supermarket on San Marco Road, received the president’s gavel from outgoing president, Alan Brown.

Other officers installed were Nancy Carrington, president elect; Jacquie Koon, secretary; and Richard Shanahan, treasurer. The 2012 board included Desiree Buhelos, Vip Grover, Tiffany Homuth, Denise Lewis, Joyce McFarland, Kim McIntosh, Patrick Neale, Alex Parker, Rick Popoff, Wayne Rose, Jada Shigley, Dick Shanahan, Val Simon and Kristi Willems.

In his remarks as outgoing president, Brown praised volunteers and staff for making his job easier. During the year, his accomplishments included giving the chamber office a facelift – making it fresher, cleaner and more eye appealing – and upgrading computer systems.

Brown instituted a challenge to have chamber members at every City Council meeting and oversaw the hiring of Katherine O’Hara, selected from more than 100 applicants, to join the chamber’s staff.

After the installation, incoming president Donlan outlined his goals for 2012.

“When I ask businesses why they aren’t chamber members, they tell me they don’t get anything out of it,” Donlan said. “I want to educate businesses on the island on how to use the tools the chamber has to offer.”

Donlan said his first steps would be inviting non-members to chamber events and showing them ways to market their businesses.

The Chamber will be celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2012.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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