The Duncan Banner

November 19, 2012

Stewart returns to Chamber of Commerce

Rebeka Rutledge
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — After a month away from the Duncan Chamber of Commerce, Sandy Stewart has returned in a different capacity and is looking forward to her new responsibilities.

Stewart, who had been the Chamber’s administrative assistant for five years, left in October to pursue another opportunity. However, when the position of director of investor services opened up, Chris Deal, Chamber president, called and offered Stewart the job.

“I’m super excited to come back,” she said. “It’s familiar because I’m back at the Chamber but with the new position, it’s a new adventure, so I’m excited to take that on.”

A few people have called the Chamber office just to check and see if they had heard correctly that Stewart had returned. All of the happy and positive comments have added to her joy.

“Everyone has been kind,” she said. “I’ve made some wonderful friends from the Chamber and it’s great to be able to work with them again.”

Deal has a high opinion of Stewart and is excited to have her back to help build their membership — which is now at about 485 — and to make their events bigger and better.

“Building memberships is important and there’s no one better than Sandy,” he said. “We appreciate her consideration to come back and we always said she is the apple of the Chamber’s eye.”

To prepare for her new position, where she will be mostly in charge of memberships and events, Stewart went through the Chamber Management Institute training program through the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives. She received her graduate certificate for the program earlier this month in Oklahoma City.

The classes provided insight to critical management issues and also an opportunity to network with other Chamber members from across the state. Because she will be responsible with coming up with ideas to get more Chamber members, the networking is something Stewart plans to take advantage of.

“There are ideas Chris and I are looking into and I will be looking to some of my CMI mentors,” she said. “I have more energy about this because it’s something I’m very passionate about. I am able to see the benefits of being a Chamber member from both sides.”

On the event side of things, Stewart said they are not changing much for this year. She’s hitting the ground running planning their next event which will be the Chamber Banquet on Feb. 7. Stewart said with Gina Flesher, this year’s banquet chairman, at the helm, as well as the Chamber employees, it should all pull together nicely.

“(Flesher) is wonderful, Chris is a great boss, and our staff is a good team.” she said. “The Chamber of Commerce has not seen its best days yet and I’m looking forward to that.”