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New SCV chamber chief has full plate

Chamber: Arizona resident has impressive track record, plus history with SCV

Posted: December 17, 2010 10:37 p.m.
Updated: December 18, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Terri Kingery will take over the Santa Clarita Valley’s Chamber of Commerce as president on Jan. 4. She is moving to the SCV from Maricopa City, Ariz., where she held the same position.

 


With the holidays just days away, Maricopa City, Ariz., resident Terri Kingery has to plan her son’s 11th birthday, celebrate the holidays, pack up her household and personal belongings and find a place to live in the Santa Clarita Valley.

All that by Jan. 4, when she starts her new job as president and CEO of the SCV Chamber of Commerce.

Kingery has served as the president and CEO of the Maricopa City Chamber of Commerce for the past five years.

Maricopa City has about 48,000 residents. Santa Clarita’s population in January 2010 was estimated at 177,640, according to the state Department of Finance.

Under Kingery’s leadership, Maricopa City’s chamber grew from 75 to 315 members, the bulk of that growth coming in her first year.

“When I first started in 2006,” Kingery said, “there were 75 angry, frustrated members and a dysfunctional board.”

Under her tenure, Kingery said the chamber not only increased its membership significantly, it also achieved a membership-retention rate of 95 percent. She said if a chamber is not doing its job correctly, members become disengaged.
Community outreach

Kingery’s efforts were acknowledged when she won the 2007 Woman of the Year Award for her efforts with the Maricopa City chamber. She said she sees the role of a chamber of commerce as a guiding light and community steward for businesses and residents alike.

She described Maricopa City as having no shopping mall; the residents count a local Walmart as their largest shopping center.

One advantage her chamber had was that the office was located in a single building, which also happened to house the local tourism office.

As local visitors came in for maps and lists of sites to see, the chamber had people sign in, collecting e-mail addresses at the same time.

Like the city of Santa Clarita, she and her team developed a “shop local” campaign, encouraging residents to support businesses by shopping locally.

The chamber also developed a marketing plan to connect businesses and residents, using e-mail blasts to offer discounts and specials at local businesses belonging to chamber members.

Maricopa City lacked the usual media outlets for communication. The city did not have a daily newspaper, local television or radio station. Kingery and her team built their own communication channel to overcome that hurdle.

The chamber built a Web-based broadcast network, maricopachambertv.com, for members and the community to download videos.

The website hosts promotional commercials for the local business community, videos from business leaders and Web seminars, as well as broadcasting chamber events online.

“I was fortunate to have a really energetic, young, creative team,” Kingery said.

She and her team also built a chamber website that, among other things, allowed members to sign up or renew online. The site was integrated with QuickBooks, streamlining the membership-accounting process.

Aware of an increasingly mobile membership, Kingery said the chamber also created a smart-phone friendly Web application so members could access information easily on their mobile phones.

Chamber mandates
According to Kingery, she has been given two immediate mandates by the SCV Chamber of Commerce board. One is to strengthen membership retention, and the second is to enhance the chamber’s website.

She plans to first get a “temperature reading” from existing members so that she’ll know what’s needed to attract and retain members.

Kingery plans to conduct a survey to identify the service gaps, and call or visit members to get a feel for what members feel is missing, or what they believe they need.

In an announcement released Tuesday, SCV chamber Chairman John Shaffery said that Kingery’s “hands-on” work ethic impressed the search committee. He said the committee was very impressed with her credentials and looked forward to her leadership.

“I really look forward to getting involved with this community,” Kingery said.

Coming home
Kingery is a former resident of Valencia. She also lived in Acton and West Los Angeles prior to moving to Arizona.

While living in L.A., she served as the corporate controller for a post-production company located in Santa Monica.
Also prior to her Arizona chamber position, Kingery served as the director of finance and administration for a nonprofit organization that produced networking and continuing education events in support of expanding the state’s technology industry.

Kingery said she is happy to be coming back to Santa Clarita and feels very humbled by the opportunity to work with the SCV Chamber of Commerce.

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