Clintonville chamber appoints interim director
Kowalkowski’s focus is taking care of chamber members
By Erik Buchinger
Elena Kowalkowski was hired to be the interim executive director for the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 9.
She joined the chamber in the beginning of August as an office assistant and event coordinator.
Kowalkowski was hired by the board of directors and began working as the interim executive director in addition to her duties at the chamber.
“With me being here and knowing how the chamber works and having previous months of experience here, they offered me the position of the interim executive to hold down the fort until we find something permanent,” Kowalkowski said.
Kowalkowski said she took the job because she is always excited to try something new and move up in the company.
“I always want to take the next step up or find a new challenge with new responsibilities in the workplace,” Kowalkowski said. “I always want to grow and learn, whether it’s on the job, training or even things outside the chamber like going to seminars and networking events. This can help me in this position, if I’m working somewhere else or in my daily life as a business person in general.”
Kowalkowski said she has gotten the hang of her new role.
“The first couple weeks were a little crazy as can be expected,” Kowalkowski said. “But within three weeks I’d say, I fell into a really good grove. I made sure to have a clear schedule for myself, and I have the board, which is very supportive and helpful. They’re always there if I have questions.”
Kowalkowski said prioritizing and scheduling her day out is one of her main focuses to ensure the chamber is running smoothly.
“I am taking it one week at a time, and I’m careful about my scheduling and knowing what I need to get done,” Kowalkowski said. “Prioritizing is huge because now that I’m doing executive work, I still have the office assistant and event coordination on top of that. It’s been a journey, and I’m glad this opportunity opened up for me. It’s been going good so far.”
Kowalkowski said she is trying to make sure the current chamber members are satisfied.
“I really want to focus on taking care of the members we have,” Kowalkowski said. “There are some member benefit programs that were started that are great but need a bit of work. I want to make what we have better.”
Kowalkowski said she expects to meet with as many chamber members as possible over the next month.
“I’m planning on going out and meeting with a bunch of the members in February and March to connect with as many of them as possible and have some dialogue,” Kowalkowski said. “I want to know what the chamber can do for them, and I want their feedback so I can better provide for their needs that are relevant to them. I’d like to make sure they feel their status as a chamber member is worthwhile. That’s huge for me, so that’s the main goal.”
Kowalkowski said she has been happy with the community’s response to her so far.
“This community has been really great,” Kowalkowski said. “Nobody likes change, but so far from what I’ve gotten from the business owners, members, the board and ambassadors, the community has been supportive and understanding. We’re going to thrive and keep it going.”
According to Kowalkowski, the chamber will look to hire a permanent executive director in June. She said she intends on applying for the full-time position.