The new Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce executive director looks forward to serving the business community of Southern Humboldt County.
Jenny Early’s first day at her new gig was July 26 and she has already impressed at least one chamber board member with her work.
“She’s already proved herself,” chamber board of directors president Toni Genaro said.
Members of the tight-knit Southern Humboldt community may already know Early or at least recognize her family name.
“My family has actually been here for generations,” she said.
Early was born in Fortuna and raised in towns across Southern Humboldt and graduated South Fork High School. Both her parents are also South Fork High School graduates and her mother worked as a dispatcher in the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Garberville substation.
Early said she hopes to use her skills in working with the public she picked up when she worked in pharmaceuticals and sales and her leadership skills from years of coaching elementary and high school volleyball, basketball, and track and field.
“It’s going really well, I feel like I’m picking things up and learning a lot,” she said about her first weeks in the office.
Early said she will work to promote tourism in Southern Humboldt, build on networking between businesses, create a positive and friendly business environment and host special community events.
“I’m looking forward to starting up new events and doing some fundraising,” she said.
Early said she has ideas about events but nothing finalized yet.
“One of my first goals is I want to get out in the public and meet all the business owners in town,” she said about both chamber member and non-member businesses.
Early was selected out of two candidates that applied for executive director job, Genaro said.
“It was a hard decision. They both had great attributes that make them good for the job,” she said.
In late-June Kelli Parker took over as interim executive director after Laura Lasseter, who had been the chamber executive director since August 2015, was selected to the board of the Humboldt County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Genaro said she looks forward to working with Early.
“I feel she’s going to be very open to the decision-making process,” Genaro said.
She said she was happy to get a permanent executive director so fast.
“It was a quick turnaround,” she said.
Parker’s last day as the interim executive director was Thursday but she may continue to help out with the chamber’s website, Genaro said.
“She’s been an incredible help to use while we needed somebody,” she said of Parker.
Early said she was ecstatic to hear that she got the job.
“To say the least, I was very excited. I almost dropped the phone when Toni gave me a call,” she said.
Early said a challenge she may face is learning how to market the chamber but she’s up to the task.
“It’s nothing I think I can’t handle,” she said.
Early lives in Laytonville with her fiance but spends most of her days in Garberville.
“I love the community togetherness and I love the scenery here — it’s the heart of Humboldt,” she said.
More chamber information is available at garberville.org.
Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.