The search for new Chamber of Commerce President continues

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
News alert

Earlier this year Mita Bates announced her plans to retire on December 31. Bates serves as President of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority, President of the Ardmore Tourism Authority, and President of the Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

A combined meeting of the boards of the chamber, the ADA and the ATA was held earlier this spring to discuss the right way to move forward to find Bates' replacement. Ultimately a search committee consisting of nine members – three from the ADA, four from the chamber, and two from the ATA, came together to help with the process.

The search committee also hired Schnake Turnbo Frank, a consulting firm that specializes in public relations and leadership development to help find the right candidate.

Nancy Sjulin, search committee member and chair of the ADA board of trustees, said the company has been instrumental in coming up with the job description for potential candidates and will continue to help throughout the hiring process.

“The way that we have outlined the duties around the chamber is that Mita is president and CEO of all three divisions plus the chamber foundation,” Sjulin said. “She's absolutely phenomenal, and therefore incredibly difficult to replace. She's got us in a great position for an amazing future, and we need someone to keep that momentum going.”

With the help of Schnake Turnbo Frank the search committee is able to go on a nationwide search to find the right replacement – and that could mean hiring two new candidates. As of right now there are over 20 applicants.

“The next step in the interview process will be in August,” Sjulin said. “Our transition group will be meeting at the convention center to go through all of the candidates that have applied, and from there we'll have the best ones in for personal interviews in early September. Once we go through that process we'll know if we have found the one candidate is perfect to fill Mita's position or if it's a better idea to get two people.”

Sjulin said the goal is for the person or persons hired to be in place by October 15.

“We want them to be able to spend some time working with Mita,” Sjulin said. “With all the holidays coming up in November and December we want to make sure that they have the opportunity to meet with all the people they need to meet and tour all the correct facilities. There's lots of industry here in Ardmore, plus there are all of Mita's contacts in Oklahoma City and within the Chickasaw Nation they will need to get to know. We want to be sure that whomever we hire, he or she has all the information they need to take us that next step forward into the future.”