After two years as the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Connie Smith is stepping down to spend more time with family.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but my family asked me to come back home (to Lee’s Summit), I have a new granddaughter and I wanted to be able to spend time with her,” Smith said.
During her tenure, Smith grew and implemented new programs, including the electronics recycling event, the women’s expo and the Piccadilly Gala.
“I think my biggest goal here was working to enhance the programs the chamber already had while bringing in a few new ideas,” she said. “The Taste of Sedalia stands out. This year we added music and a raffle to get more people to come out and I think it was a great success. Same thing with the Piccadilly Gala, no one really knew what that was but we brought it in and it turned out better than expected.”
Mykel Schlotterbeck, Chamber vice president of tourism, said Smith was a “breath of fresh air, bringing new ideas and events” to the chamber.
“Connie was always very active, very upbeat,” Schlotterbeck said. “She wasn’t afraid to go out and be the spokesperson for the chamber by being very visibly active in the community, whether that was talking to a perspective chamber member or getting involved in local events.”
Smith also cited her work with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to bring conventions to the Missouri State Fairgrounds during the off season as a major accomplishment.
“Working with Carolyn (Crooker, CVB Director of Marketing) to go out and meeting those convention organizers and persuade them to think of Sedalia, that was a lot of work but a lot of fun too,” she said. “I tried to bring things back to the chamber to really open it up and encourage membership among the business community. There are still some programs I would have liked to have seen thrive a little more, but I think they’re on a good path.”
“We’re definitely going to miss Connie and her dedication to the business community,” Schlotterbeck said. “She worked very hard to make sure everyone — the city, the chamber and business owners — were working together for the greatest possible outcome.”
Smith said she would miss the people she’s met in Sedalia the most.
“I’ve made some great friends, I love getting to know the business owners and leaders in the community, there are some wonderful people in this town,” she said. “When the May 2011 tornado hit, that was probably the biggest eye opener for me, seeing everyone jump in and work together. Sedalia really steps up to the plate, no matter what happens, and works together for the greater cause.”
And despite moving back to Lee’s Summit, Smith said she’ll visit Sedalia often.
“I’m moving from Sedalia but I’m not going too far. I’ll be back for the State Fair, I can’t miss that,” Smith said with a laugh. “Something about Sedalia really gets into you, you can’t just walk away from it completely. I’ll miss it.”