It is official, we survived 2020. There is no question it was a trying year for each and every one of us. The Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce was amidst a significant self-examination and organizational re-boot when the pandemic hit, forcing us to reassess and re-adapt like everyone else. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our Board of Directors, the chamber was able to continue serving our members and community when they needed us most. We have enthusiastically moved forward over the past year, striving to become more inclusive and involved, and I am proud to share this annual report with our community.
We are thrilled to welcome Lisa Walby as our new full-time executive director. Lisa has played an integral role in the positive changes that have been taking place and will now lead the team going forward. Lisa was chosen from an impressive group of applicants, and we are confident she will further stabilize and expand our effectiveness. As a lifelong resident of our region, her knowledge, experience and passion are priceless assets. She has worked and volunteered in countless capacities, building strong relationships throughout the region. She is excited to help grow the BHRCC, the membership base, membership services, event participation, and overall community involvement.
I would also like to thank Jason Denby, for stepping up from board member and volunteering his time and energy to fill the role of interim executive director for the past eight months. Jason successfully stabilized our finances and created processes to enable forward growth. Jason was the definition of a leader in a critical time, and continues to help transition Lisa and the team, as we continue to grow, evolve and learn. Jason will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.
2020 In Review
· It was not without challenges, but the 2020 Regional Guide was printed and distributed prior to the summer season.
· We implemented the Member Money E-Gift Card, making it easier than ever for locals and visitors to support member businesses.
· We began work on the design of a new and improved website (to be launched in the next 60 days).
· We made revisions to membership rates to reflect the current environment.
· We adopted new internal processes and enhanced communication strategies.
· We added friendly faces with impressive backgrounds to our chamber team.
· Boothbay Lights: We collaborated with the Boothbay Lights committee to merge with Harbor Lights. We also began the process for the Chamber to manage Boothbay Lights going forward, along with other holiday events. We extended office hours to greet visitors with hot cocoa and provide area information. We helped to create photo stations throughout the region. (The photo station at the Chamber will remain in place and will be decorated for upcoming holidays, stop by for a selfie!) Special thanks to Tom Minerich for all his help. The first annual Firetruck Parade was a huge hit, thanks to Jennie Mitchell. A Blessing of The Fleet was added to the Lighted Boat Parade (because who could resist an extra blessing in 2020). Special thanks to Mark and Dianne Gimbel for the Pot Buoy Tree idea, and to all who helped bring it to life. And thank you to all who helped and participated in these events. Non-stop communications with town and health officials, businesses, sponsors and community members was necessary to determine the best course of action. It was an incredible challenge that was overcome by working together.
With 2020 behind us, we say Thank You to members, our communities and the visitors of our region. Special thanks to our members who not only stayed with us, but helped with ideas, energy, and showed us their determination. Thank you again to our Board of Directors who offered thoughtful and considerate contributions of time and energy throughout the year of “pivot”. Thank you to our new members for your confidence and support during these uncertain times. We vow to continue to work hard for you and the communities we serve.
We are now in the final stages of designing the 2021 region guide, and we encourage our community to join the collaborative effort to invite visitors to our beautiful region.
Here’s to looking forward to 2021!