The new executive director at the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce said she is looking forward to meeting Chamber members and residents in the community — one opportunity to do that is fast approaching, with a public meet and greet set for Thursday afternoon.
The meet and greet will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at The Ashford Inn, located at 615 College St. in Clinton. The public is encouraged to come and meet Janna Bass, who was hired as executive director at the beginning of last month and began in that capacity last week.
With little more than a week under her belt, Bass said she is still getting acclimated but is excited about what the future holds.
“It’s going great,” she said. “It’s been busy, but great.”
A native of Apex, Bass graduated from Middle Creek High School and went on to N.C. State University, where she earned a degree in business management, with a concentration in marketing, in 2010. She married Clinton farmer Tyler Bass and the couple reside just outside of Clinton, near the Taylors Bridge area.
“I really wanted to get involved in the community, especially being married to a Sampson County boy,” Bass said. “This is such a close-knit community and I want us to be a part of it, and what better way to be a part of it than getting involved in the Chamber of Commerce?”
Her appreciation for community is not the only trait that separated Bass from roughly 30 others in the application process. Her past job experience includes event planning and marketing, notably for the Winery in Duplin County, during which she worked closely with the Rose Hill Chamber of Commerce.
“I saw so much potential within that small community,” Bass pointed out. “I was intrigued to see what potential the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce has. Being that I’m not originally from here, it’s my home now and it’s going to be my home. I want to help businesses and the community as much as I can. The Chamber’s kind of a little family, it’s an alliance. We want to grow the Chamber and help your business out, so everyone can be happy.”
Bass said she was looking forward to working to see Clinton and Sampson County prosper behind a strong Chamber of Commerce, creating personal relationships with themembership and Sampson County citizens as a whole. She said she was soaking up as much as quickly as she could.
“This year will be a learning year,” said Bass, who acknowledged she was impressed with the strong foundation already established at the Chamber, one she wants to build upon. “I’ve always believed that even when something’s great, it can still be improved. I want to learn and listen. I want our members and businesses to feel they can call me directly. We’re here to help.”
The Chamber received 29 applications for the executive director’s position during a weeks-long hiring process earlier this year. A committee of eight board members reviewed the resumes and chose six applicants for formal interviews. After a round of interviews, Bass was selected for the position in early February.
“We are very excited and fortunate to have Janna on board,” said Chamber president Gary Mac Herring. “We feel that Janna will be a great fit for our Chamber as well as our entire county. Janna’s past job experience of event planning and marketing, combined with her organizational and creative skills, will benefit the Chamber and its members tremendously.”
In recent weeks, Bass has attempted to acclimate herself by meeting county leaders, citizens and local Chamber members. She also expressed her thanks to the Chamber, and her excitement about the future, during the Chamber’s annual banquet Feb. 28.
This week, she conceded she was still getting her feet wet, but was steadily growing more comfortable. She is already very impressed with the dedication she has seen, and wants to continue to instill, and even increase, that feeling.
“It’s been real positive,” she said. “I’m really excited and I’m honored and looking forward to meeting everybody and getting to know everybody’s needs and desires, and how we at the Chamber can work to meet them.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.