Business and community leaders with the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce have launched a search to replace Karen Odle as president of the organization.
Odle has served in the position for 19 years and is retiring in May. The three-phase process for finding her replacement already has begun and is expected to take about 90 to 120 days.
“Karen is a strong leader for the business community and a great partner with the City of Vestavia Hills,” Sandra Cleveland, a partner with BCR Wealth Strategies and 2022 chair of the chamber, said in a statement from the chamber. “Her energy and relationship building have been the important factors for our organization’s growth and success.”
The chamber is a membership organization that serves more than 1,200 retail and service businesses, professionals, individuals and retirees. It seeks to be a catalyst for economic growth by working with existing businesses, creating partnerships with education entities and striving for quality-of-life improvements in the city.
John Henley, State Farm Insurance agent and chair of the search committee, said the committee has been asking members what character traits and skills they want in a new president. That was phase one.
In the second stage, the chamber will cast a net to find candidates who fit the criteria established. In the third phase, the chamber will interview candidates to choose the one best-suited for the role.
“The president needs to be a dynamic collaborator and communicator who understands the important role the chamber plays in our community,” Henley said in the statement.
He said the president also is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the chamber as well as being in charge of government relations/public policy and partnerships, and being accountable for financial growth and management, talent development and strategic planning and implementation.
The committee also is looking for someone with internal-team building skills and an ability to identify community issues and take point in seeking solutions.
The president reports to the executive board and board of directors through its chair.
The board has hired The Chason Group to lead the executive search. The firm specializes in executive searches for economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, foundations and other nonprofits, according to the statement.
Interested parties may find more information and apply at thechasongroup.com by March 18.