Keith and I firmly believe that “Timing is Everything.” We can look back at our respective lives and recognize how fortunate (or not!) we were in certain instances…..

Timing. On a day in mid-January staff member Cheryl Grogan somberly approached my desk and said “There’s something that I need to tell you.” Foreboding words, to be sure…I’ve never heard a positive statement following that type of preamble. She went on to tell me that her husband had accepted a job with the FAA, and, while that was joyful news, unfortunately, it was in Alaska! Her last day would be February 28th.

Mindful of the short time allotted to replace her, I sent out an SOS email to our chamber member organizations that are hiring specialists. Flurries of emails were exchanged with Lisa Harkey at Adecco and Christine Hoxsie at One Stop, fleshing out a profile for the new hire, and while reviewing potential candidate’s resumes with Lisa, an email forwarded from Keith dropped into my mail box. It read in part, “I understand that the chamber might be needing an Administrative Assistant, and I would love to chat with you to see what you’re looking for in this position.” Signed: Yolanda Cookson.

Timing is Everything…..Timing (Luck?) opportunity, possessing the correct skills or knowledge…..Being in the Right Place at the Right Time……or, perhaps in this instance, did Fate conspire to take Cheryl to Alaska at the precise moment when Yolanda was ready to return to the workforce? 

We did “chat” with Yolanda. She had learned about the position from One Stop, and after several in-depth interviews, Keith and I agreed that her résumé certainly qualified her to fill the opening, and her future aspirations seemed to mesh with the direction we anticipated taking the chamber. Timing.

What we did not initially realize was that bringing Yolanda onto our Team meant that I had the facility to reevaluate our current chamber staff structure and refine how we might operate in the future.

To jump back to the beginning, last January when we came on-board, and I took over the office, we had major reorganizing to accomplish, not only with protocol, but with personnel. Our then volunteer, Valerie Giammona was an enthusiastic contributor and as we went forward, Valerie joined the chamber as my assistant. Together, and with the help of then volunteer Cheryl Grogan, we whipped things into workable shape, anticipating our move to the new location at 128 East Main Street. As we settled in, Valerie charmed our visitors and members with her graceful hospitality and her creative talents added to the look and display of the interior of the new Visitors Center. That talent was not lost on me, but her administrative assistance was a necessity as our membership grew and the workload increased.

Timing: With Yolanda on board to handle the website and social media platforms, along with membership recruitment and retention, I quickly realized that her skills would liberate me from my bumbling novice attempts at website updating and postings and get me back to doing what I do best (which most consider mind numbing administration). And Valerie? She would be able to leave behind the drudge of filing and list keeping and be free to unleash her warm hospitality and creative talents as the Visitors Center Concierge, doing precisely what she does best. Refining our roles to advance the Chamber’s goals.

As our 2014 Chair, Jayne Sanchez gave the chamber a theme for this year: “Grass Valley Gold—Refining the Vision” Our 104 year old chamber endeavors to expand its involvement with all civic entities, other chambers, member nonprofits and media organizations to establish new, or enrich existing relationships that through collaboration will benefit the community.

Little did Jayne know that her Grass Valley Gold-Refining the Vision would also apply to the operation of the chamber?

Timing: When you’re in town drop in and visit us. Valerie will welcome you into Grass Valley’s Living Room with her brilliant smile and incomparable style. And, whether you’re from Grass Valley or Paris if she doesn’t know you personally, she definitely knows someone that you know. Step into the Chamber office, say hello to Yolanda, and to me peeking out from behind the desk piled with everything “chamber” and see for yourself how we’re Refining our Grass Valley (Chamber) Gold.