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For new chamber director, it's all about community

Emily Bivens took over as the executive director of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce in September. John M. Steiner / The Sun

New executive director of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce Emily Bivens believes she brings with her a strong background of skills and experience related to people, connecting and community.

Chamber board chair Jason Rohr said her experience with the Jamestown community and tourism and her familiarity with the chamber was the reason she got the job.

"She was the right person for the chamber at the right time," Rohr said. "We're thrilled."

The chamber hired Bivens in September. Before that she spent three years as the Jamestown Tourism office manager.

"I loved that job," she said. "The main reason was the opportunity to visit with the visitors to the (Frontier) village."

Bivens said they were always friendly. They wanted to know more about Jamestown and the surrounding area.

Bivens got her Bachelor of Science in sports and recreation management with a minor in business at North Dakota State University. She said it turned out to be a "nice fit for tourism." What followed was participation with various community boards, committees and activities.

"The job allowed me to expand my skills professionally and let me take advantage of the opportunities," she said. "It made this job possible."

Marketing was another tourism job that Bivens enjoyed. One marketing area was overcoming local reluctance to using the Jamestown Events Calendar. She redesigned it, making it easier to use, then let people know it was another advertising resource. She also advertised the city to a larger audience.

"I spent three years telling people how great Jamestown is and that's what this job is all about," she said about the chamber job.

She also brought to the chamber her experience with meeting and connecting with people in Jamestown.

"I got to partner with a lot of individuals on different projects," she said. "It's helpful that I already had made a lot of connections.That helps in this job."

Her primary focus now is on chamber members, letting them know what the benefits are with membership. Along with ribbon cuttings and other events is Business After Hours. A chamber member business hosts an open house for other members as well as their designated representatives who work in their businesses. Bivens believes it offers a very real benefit at the community level.

"It's connecting businesses with each other," she said. "It's especially good for businesses to learn of other resources. It's also about people getting to know each other outside of work. It creates better relationships."

Bivens said she really appreciated the good foundation laid by Becky Thatcher-Keller, the retired executive director.

"There's a good group of volunteers, a good board and a good staff," she said.

For Bivens, Tourism and the chamber share what matters and she is ready to continue with that.

"The best part was connecting with the community," she said. "That's also what the chamber is all about."