Chamber of Commerce to seek new leader

Executive director resigns

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published August 12, 2019

 Marcia Rodeheffer

Marcia Rodeheffer

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FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — Mary Martin resigned from her position as the executive director of the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce effective Aug. 2.

Martin turned in her resignation to the board on July 22, two weeks prior to her final day.

Martin joined the chamber in December 2016. Duane Reynolds, the chamber’s current board chair, said the board is “very sorry to see her go.”

Reynolds has been a member of the chamber since the mid-1990s.

“Mary worked very hard to get our financial house in order, (and) she was also the driving force to make the events the chamber was involved in better, involve more people and get better turnouts,” Reynolds said. “Everything she did was a benefit to the chamber.”

According to the Chamber of Commerce website, Martin has been a member of the greater Farmington community since 1997. Prior to her role as executive director for the chamber, Martin spent 18 years with IBM Corp. as an internal auditor. She served as the interim Downtown Development Authority director in 2005 and was an integral leader in creating the first Harvest Moon Celebration, which has run annually for over 10 years now.

Kate Knight, the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said in an email that Martin was “a pleasure to work with during her time leading the chamber.”

“Her smarts, class and passion for the community were a tremendous boon,” Knight said. “The DDA has a service award named in her honor, given each year to an outstanding volunteer for downtown Farmington, (so) her legacy lives on, and we’re appreciative of her leadership.”

The Mary Martin Service Award has been awarded every year since 2005.

Marcia Rodeheffer, who previously served as the chamber’s director of membership development, has stepped into the role of interim executive director until the chamber board pursues new applicants for the position.

Rodeheffer has been with the chamber for many years, according to a press release, as a member and a chamber ambassador. She is also the only other paid staff member of the chamber.

While Reynolds said the chamber isn’t quite ready to launch a search for a new executive director, it is “continuing to make sure things are shored up.”

“Members of the board of directors have stepped up to take over some of the things Mary had been doing,” Reynolds said. “So, we haven’t missed a step. Members of the board are doing a very good job in volunteering to step forward and oversee things.”

Reynolds said chamber board members will likely decide how they will go about opening a search for a new executive director within the next 30 days.

He said the board will start by looking internally for possible candidates before going outside of the organization and its membership to seek applicants.

“Because the Chamber of Commerce is so unique to the community, it would be better if we could find somebody who is familiar with the Farmington and Farmington Hills communities. That’s how we found Mary,” he said. “Finding somebody who has the qualifications that we need who is already within the community doing something would probably be preferable to finding somebody outside the Chamber of Commerce.”

Reynolds said they’ll be looking for a person who can lead a small organization; someone who knows how to deal with the personalities of the members, CEOs, and mom-and-pop business owners; a person who is engaged; and someone who understands finances and what it takes to run an organization and fundraising efforts.

Overall, Reynolds said Martin was well-known in the community, personable and good at her job, so the board is hoping the next applicant can fill those shoes.

“We were sorry to see Mary go, but the chamber is still alive and kicking, and we’re looking forward to a good year.”

Martin could not be reached for comment before press time.

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