‘The perfect choice’: Chamber Exec Director Dianna Dohm reflects on her new job
After a couple of months in her new job as executive director of the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, Dianna Dohm said she still feels “humbled and privileged” to have been given the nod.
Alex Parker, principal of AP Builders and president of the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce, said Dohm was the ideal candidate.
“She has an extensive background in management, in finance, and human relations. As far as Marco Island goes, she’s connected to so many organizations, she’s very well-known. She wasn’t someone who had to start from scratch with a name tag. And every time I’ve seen her, she’s so enthusiastic, so energetic, she’s totally committed to what she’s doing,” he said.
What she’s doing right now is preparing for the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, which starts Friday and runs all weekend at Veterans Community Park. Dohm talked up some new wrinkles in this year’s festival, including a VIP experience that includes a three-day pass, drink tickets, private seating and a lobster dinner, and a craft beer competition to go along with the music. Headliners include Southwest Florida standout the Ben Allen Band on Friday evening, Jimmy Buffett tribute band the Caribbean Chillers on Saturday, and Rick and the Speed Bumps on Sunday afternoon.
A past president of the Kiwanis International on Marco Island, one of the organizations sharing the load of presenting the Seafood Festival along with the island’s two Rotary Clubs, Dohm has extensive experience with that event, as she does with many others.
Her ceaseless work for local non-profits caused her to be named Marco Island’s 2016 Citizen of the Year, and she had previously been honored as Volunteer of the Year.
When Marco Eagle manager T.J. Boone introduced Dohm as 2016 Citizen of the Year at last December’s chamber gala, he shared a recitation of her many good works and volunteer commitments. President of the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Foundation, past president of the Kiwanis, president and board member for MICA, the Marco Island Beautification Advisory Board, AVOW Hospice, the Seafood Festival committee, and NCH, she has taken leading roles in event after cause after organization.
“Chances are, if you attend a community event, you will see her smiling face,” said Boone at the time. When Dohm made her way to the podium to accept the award, surrounded by previous recipients of the same honor, she told the crowd, “I know you won’t believe it, but I’m speechless.” She nevertheless recovered enough to deliver thank yous to “my fire board foundation family, my Kiwanis family, my MICA board family,” and add, “I couldn’t be in better company.”
Dohm’s previous part-time position as business development officer at Mutual of Omaha Bank had her regularly out in the committee, working on behalf of numerous organizations including the chamber, where she had been on the board of directors.
Her husband Kevin Dohm, a captain for United Airlines, spends extended periods of time away flying, perhaps freeing Dianna up for more community involvement, but he is looking at retirement in the not too distant future, which could have had something to do with her accepting a fulltime job.
Dianna Dohm spoke glowingly of Katie O’Hara and Donna Niemczyk, her paid staffers at the chamber, and lauded the work of the “over 30” volunteers who help out at the chamber’s Visitors Center, as well as the nonstop string of offsite events the chamber of commerce sponsors.
“They’re the heart of this organization,” said Dohm. She hopes to use her background in banking and marketing to automate some of the chamber’s processes, with keeping track of visitors just one small example.
“Right now, it’s by tick marks on paper,” she said. “I want to make things a little more efficient. That’s my first goal. Then, we’ll start some educational programs to help our members.”
Like Parker, Dohm emphasized the chamber is a corporation with over 600 members, and said she sees her job as representing not only the businesses in the area who are members – “remember, we’re not just on the island, it’s East Naples, Everglades City and Naples as well” – but the entire population of Marco Island.
“I represent the whole island, not just the business community,” she said. “Our businesses make it so great that visitors want to come back. To keep the residents happy, businesses need to be successful. It’s kind of like a circle.”
She earned two bachelor’s degrees and an MBAa Barat College in Illinois. Coming from a larger town in the Chicago area, Dohm revels in the small-town feel on Marco.
“I love the feeling of Mayberry, even if that sounds funny. Here, it’s easier to make a difference. I go to the grocery store, and it should take 15 minutes, but it’s an hour because I run into everybody. I think that’s fun,” she said.
Dohm’s predecessor in the job, Sandi Riedemann, whom Parker called “an icon,” had nothing but praise for her successor.
“I like Dianna a lot. She is high-energy, and someone who always follows through. I think she was the perfect choice,” said Riedemann.