Sometimes to take a step forward, an organization has to first take one step back.
Such is the case with Columbia County's Chamber of Commerce, which in some respects is a victim of its own success. That is evident in the past week's sudden resignation of its dynamic director, Gordon Renshaw.
In a letter to the Chamber's Executive Committee, Renshaw cited his desire to "pursue other career opportunities," and said today's Chamber "is not as strong a match for my skills and interests as in past years."
Simply put, Renshaw's considerable effort at growing the chamber produced an entity that now needs a director with stronger administrative and financial talents.
Renshaw will be a prized catch for any growth-oriented company or organization. His 3 1/2 years as director ushered the chamber into a new era in which it completed its last steps into full autonomy from the Augusta Chamber, something members had sought for years.
The challenge for the next-generation director will be somewhat different, however. The chamber's growth spurt has left the organization often as gangly and uncoordinated as a teenager; a new director will be focused on putting muscle on the chamber's administration so that all those new members and new programs will get the attention they deserve.
To assist in that process, the chamber's executive committee - which also serves as the search committee for the new director - is putting together plans for a reorganization of the chamber's staff and resources to ensure the best bang for the members' bucks, says the chamber's new board president, Jean Roper.
Thanks to Renshaw, to an outstanding Chamber staff and to the support and oversight from dedicated Chamber board members and volunteers, we have the foundation for a stellar organization to provide a strong voice for Columbia County business.
Losing Renshaw is a setback, but it's only temporary. The chamber will step forward as a much stronger organization.
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