The Derby Chamber of Commerce has named Alicia Early as its new president, effective Nov. 5.
Early has been a resident of the community for just over a year, moving to Derby with her family when her husband was promoted at his job. She said she began researching Wichita, but her efforts led the family to take a hard look at Derby and ultimately decide it was the place to live.
“Shawn and I are both from small towns and understand the value and quality they bring to our family’s lives,” she said. “It is exciting to see how progressive Derby is and yet there are still so many opportunities that exist.”
Her life growing up was in a small community and she said the involvement by her entire family made her aware people can make a difference.
“I enjoy being involved in creating, sustaining and fortifying groups that add benefit to those they serve,” she said.
Her enthusiasm in that arena impressed the Chamber.
“The transition committee was impressed with Alicia’s enthusiasm for the Derby community and her understanding of community partnerships,” said Margaret Fritzler, Chamber board chairman. “Her past experience will bring new ideas that will allow the Chamber to continue to grow.”
Alicia has a bachelor of science in mass communications from West Texas A&M University and 10 years of experience working with non-profits. Cultivating donor and community support have been an integral part of her work.
“In addition to my fundraising and development experience, I have enjoyed building relationships in the communities I have served, along with planning and executing many different fundraising events,” she said.
Alicia will take over the position which has been held by Rhonda Cott since 2005. In those seven years the Chamber has made internal improvements, both through technology and the addition of staff members who are knowledgeable about the community and services provided to member businesses. In addition, membership has grown at a steady pace.
“The Chamber has made many changes and has experienced a lot of growth in the past seven years, due to our supportive board members and volunteers, in addition to our dedicated staff,” Cott said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many dedicated people and that is probably what I will miss the most. It’s taken a team of people to accomplish all that we’ve accomplished.”
The most visible move has been to the city’s Welcome Center, creating a working partnership with the city of Derby and putting the Chamber at the forefront of what most people see when they enter the community.
“The move to the Welcome Center in 2010 has probably been the highlight of my career at the Chamber,” Cott said. “It has been a collaboration of many organizations and people that don’t typically collaborate to this level. Creating a successful Welcome Center and working with our community partners has been a win-win for the Chamber and the city of Derby and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
Alicia encourages members of the community to stop in and meet her.
“I look forward to meeting everyone,” she said. “Rhonda has done a wonderful job and I look forward to building upon the foundation she and her team have created.”