Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
Chamber Looking
For Two Good Leaders

By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY — November 9, 2004 – If an organization’s success can force the loss of its head, imagine the future.
Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Arden Dean jokes that the Liberty-based agency just got too good.
A few weeks ago, Dean sadly accepted the resignation of long-time Chamber President Jacquie Leventoff.
She’s headed to a new job next month at Kohl’s Distribution Center in Wurtsboro – a company the chamber worked hard to woo to Sullivan County.
Now the chamber’s hard at work to woo a new mind to the mix – a replacement for Leventoff as president of the agency.
Fortunately, Dean said, there were already a number of applications floating around in-house when Leventoff made her announcement – Chamber Vice President Jim Law announced over the summer that he would be moving out of the area, and plans were being made to find a new “number two.”
When Leventoff handed in her resignation, the board’s first act was to create a search committee which includes Dean, Leventoff, Sullivan County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Martin Handler (who brings to the table a background in searching for new superintendents for the county’s eight school districts), Sue Hamlin and Charlie Mangini – the man from Kohl’s who Arden jokes “stole Jacquie away.”
“We kind of came out of the box reacting,” Dean explained. “We have a very strong and active board – and we’ve always been very involved.”
The search committee has accepted more than 30 applications and already begun interviews.
The full board is scheduled to hold a special meeting on Nov. 16 to whittle that candidate list down to just two or three who will come back for a sit-down interview with the board.
The announcement of the new president will follow shortly thereafter, Dean said. Then a vice president will be named to replace Law.
“We decided we’re going to hire a new president/CEO, then the vice president so the characters match,” he explained. “That’s what we had with Jacquie and Jim – they complemented each other very well.”
Each brought their own unique talents to the table and kept the organization running smoothly, Dean explained.
The new president will be a “cheerleader,” Dean said, “someone who’s got a good feeling about the county.”
“In the face of adversity,” he noted, “the president has to be able to smile.”
Dean said it will be hard saying goodbye to Jacquie next month – she’s been a leader who has made a difference through her actions.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer walks into a room in Sullivan County, and the first person he picks out is Jacquie Leventoff, Dean said – because one day when Schumer was in town with just enough time to give a speech and not enough time to eat, Leventoff hand-packed him a lunch and handed it off before the senator was rushed out the door.
“You remember something like that about someone,” Dean explained.
Leventoff’s leadership has been strong, he added – the very success she helped the chamber achieve during her tenure created the job she’ll be heading to at Kohl’s.
“We lost Jacquie being a product of our own success,” Dean explained. “We have ‘x’ number of dollars, and Kohl’s has a whole lot more.”
With more than 1,100 members, Leventoff’s successor will have to have a strong financial background and a good head for figures – the chamber is bigger than ever, and Dean’s board is eager to see it grow.
“Change a lot of times is good – even though we hate to admit it,” he said.
After completing some of the interviews last week, Dean said he’s certain the right person will earn the job.
“We’re pretty confident with the characters we interviewed and the characters we’re going to interview,” he said. “We’re in good shape.”
Next up?
“In the back of our mind is who are we going to bring in for number two!” Dean said.
Leventoff’s resignation will be effective next month.

top of page  |  home  |  archives