Wednesday, February 20, 2008
sponsored by Maple Ridge

Chamber Loses 10-Year Leader

Abbott to Stay Until New Director Found

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[February 20, 2008]  Bobbi Abbott, executive director of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce, announced her resignation during a regularly scheduled meeting of the chamber board of directors on Thursday, Feb. 14. Abbott had held the position since Jan. 1, 1998, and cited personal reasons for her decision to leave her post. The chamber board of directors will conduct an executive search to fill the position.

Abbott had the following comments:

This has been a very difficult decision for me to make, but I feel it is time for me to pass the torch. Leading the Chamber is a challenging position in the best of circumstances. I feel that my personal life is at such a low point that I need to step away and take time to heal by removing some responsibility from my shoulders. The Chamber members deserve someone with an energetic, positive outlook and I know, with the exceptional leadership of the board of directors, the Chamber will move through this transition smoothly and successfully.

The highlight of the past ten years has been meeting so many extraordinary people. It has been a privilege and an inspiration to work with so many people who share their time for a greater good. These volunteers are busy with the demands of their careers and families, yet they find time to volunteer to serve on the board or work on a committee. I'll miss the day-to-day interaction with the members and also with my close family of co-workers. But I'll still be around and I hope those relationships will continue to grow.

I could never take credit for the accomplishments that have been achieved during my term as executive director; the credit belongs to the Chamber members and its active volunteers. But I do take pride in the actions and activities that have taken place during these past ten years, including:

  • Forming the Chamber Ag Committee which has hosted nine Ag Day Breakfasts and awarded $34,000 in ag scholarships

  • Relocating the Chamber office from a second floor bank building to a highly visible location near Lincoln Parkway and creating the "Information Station" as a one-stop shop for visitor and business information

  • Moving the hot air balloon activities of the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival to the Logan County Airport to prepare the festival for future growth and provide a safe launch area for the balloons

  • Creating the Chamber Leadership Academy to identify and prepare next-generation leaders in the workplace and community

  • Driving the effort to reorganize the Economic Development Partnership and taking an active role in the work of that organization

  • Protecting the integrity of the Chamber by safeguarding important documents in off-site storage and maintaining a backup system for files and accounts

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I'm proud of developing the Chamber logo - it is professional, attractive and timeless and should serve the organization for many, many years. And the Chamber's promotional "watermelon car" was the result of having an open mind and sense of humor. The office and its files are organized, neat, and efficient. The board of directors and the core of committee volunteers are both strong and productive. The new director should be able to hit the ground running with the current structure and methods in place and the support staff is second to none in terms of productivity, professionalism, and personality.

The Chamber is such an important part of Logan County's history and it has made so many contributions to its development, growth and quality of life. Since 1913, the Chamber has recruited businesses to the area and has served as the organization that mobilized volunteers into action. Look around the community and you'll see the results of the work of the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber successfully recruited Eaton Electrical in 1958 and it still serves as Logan County's largest employer. The bandshell in Latham Park was built through the efforts of the Chamber. During the depression, the Chamber issued its own currency to keep local trade thriving. Festivals, parades, and other special events have been conducted for many years through the volunteer base of the Chamber. The Chamber of Commerce is an amazing organization and I'm proud to have served as its director for ten of its 95 years.

In a letter sent to chamber members today, Abbott said that she plans to continue until a new director is hired and in place. She urged the members to continue their support activity:

"Keep those calls and emails coming or stop by the office. The Chamber is YOUR organization and your ideas, involvement, and investment are and always have been the ingredients to its success."

She also announced that she would be a first-time grandmother in May.

Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce
1555 Fifth Street
Lincoln, IL 62656

[Text from file received from the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce; LDN]

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