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Search continues for Chamber CEO

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Sue Vanatta

Vanatta will retire Dec. 31
LEBANON --December 31st will be a bittersweet day for Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce CEO Sue Vanatta. The New Year will bring great adventures, such as a month-long, well-deserved vacation to Panama City Beach in January; however, she will also be saying goodbye to a job she has loved for the past 23 years.

Vanatta served on the Chamber Membership Committee and as a Board Member before being appointed to "fill in" the position over two decades ago.

"The board asked me to fill in. I was at the right place at the right time and it was a great move for me," she said.

Although Vanatta humbly commented that "everybody is replaceable," the Lebanon community is curious to see just who can fill her shoes.

"Sue came to us as no stranger to Lebanon. She was in business here and understood the market she was to serve. She grew the chamber to record numbers and the activities and spin off groups the Chamber has given birth to are too numerous to name," said 2014 Board Chair John B. Bryan.

Earlier this year, Bryan formed a search committee of small business owners, human resource leaders, former Chamber chairman of the board and other community leaders to establish a job description and employment criteria.

The committee includes John Bradshaw, Chris Crowell, Susie James, Annette Stafford, Brenda Burkett, Jim Mills and Rick Smith.

"We finally came up with a job description we were satisfied with after contacting other chambers in the middle Tennessee area combined with our present job description," Bryan said.

"We figured out pretty quickly we have a unique situation here. Our chamber president doesn't recruit new industry like many chamber presidents in the area, but on the other hand, our chamber president is very active in helping in that area when called upon," Bryan explained.

"Sue has taken us to a new level and our candidate would need to be able to show how he or she would plan on raising that bar even higher."

Vanatta said she does not have a part in selecting her replacement, but knows he or she will have to be someone with a passion for Wilson County.

"Twenty-three years ago when I took this job we would go to trade shows and many people hadn't heard of Wilson County. Now when we go to shows people know all about the Wilson County Fair, our shopping, our location," she added. "We've gotten the word out."

The job opening has been advertised in several markets including a national chamber of commerce job search web site and several other Tennessee chamber related sites.

The Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce celebrated 90 years of existence this year and currently has a membership of 960-plus members.

The committee is currently receiving applications/resumes via U.S. Mail to 900 West Main Street, Lebanon, TN 37087, in care of CedarStone Bank, Attention John B. Bryan, Chairman.

Contact Sabrina Garrett at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com

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