The chamber saw the end of Melissa James’ 16-year leadership as executive director when Lippus took over in Jan. 2. Other staff and organizational changes soon followed, and continue to come.
“This is the next generation,” said chamber president Lisa Reer.
“We want to focus on change moving forward, but also keep our connection to the past. … Change has become somewhat of a dirty word. It’s fear of the unknown and all the unknown ‘what ifs’ that come with change.”
Reer said there’s no reason to be afraid of the unknown.
“Change happens for a reason and usually is a good thing. I get very frustrated when people say, ‘But, we’ve always done it that way,’” she said. “You can’t continue to grow a business and be successful if you’re stuck in that lane.”
Instead, the chamber encouraged the local businesses to “be proactive and think outside the box.”
The chamber led by example Thursday night when it unveiled a few more changes of its own, including the a new logo that “now encompasses all Huron County,” Lippus said — something she said the chamber intends to do better at.
"Changing the logo is only the first step in a changing process,” she said.
The organization will see a physical face-lift at its 10 W. Main St. location in the coming months and is working on revamping what it has to offer. Lipps said mainly this means “connecting with other businesses, including those outside of our county, offering more education and more benefits.”
“We all still have the same goal: a thriving community,” she said. “In order to have a strong community, we need to have strong businesses.”
Among those who have helped create some of the successful businesses the county boasts was United Fund executive director Linda Bersche, who was named PNC Business Woman of the Year during the awards ceremony.
“She has worked persistently for her community and is always looking for solutions to problems,” said PNC’s Linda Wagman. “She is thoughtful, generous, hard working, welcoming and unafraid to speak her mind.”
“I’m extremely honored and very surprised,” Bersche said. “I may have gotten this, but I am surrounded by so many good people in my life — my family, my board of directors and my community. ... I just do what I do everyday and listen to my board and listen to my community. We just do it. That’s just the way it is because this is my job.”
Bersche said it’s important to support the community, whether it’s large ways or small, and this is something all can take part in.
“If we didn’t live in a community people would want to live in, we’d be moving,” she said. “That means everybody needs to step up to the plate in making our community better every single day, whether it’s with kids at school, with your elderly grandparents or being involved on a community board. It’s all connected.”
Bersche said those are words she tries to live by everyday.
Lippus said it was only natural Bersche receive the award because “no one better fit” for the award recognizing women for their hard-work ethic and devotion to local business and its success.
Also recognized for its adaptability, following the chamber’s theme of change, was FogHorn Designs, which earned the Notable Business Award. Mary Lisa Boose was recognized for “hundreds of hours” given to the community last year as part of the bicentennial committee when she was presented with the 2018 dedicated service award.