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Chamber hires membership director

The Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce has hired Jillian Sicks as its new membership director.

Executive Director Garrick Combs said Sicks began March 1 and will spend 60 percent of her time working with the Chamber and 40 percent with the Brookhaven Tourism Council.

Jillian Sicks

Jillian Sicks

“This is a position that is going to fill some areas of need for the community that we haven’t had the ability to do before,” Combs said. “As membership director for the Chamber she is going to organize our membership visitation program. She’s going to be out in the community visiting with our members, visiting with our business leaders and gathering information as to how the Chamber can better serve its members. How we can create or maybe alter programs within the Chamber, which serves our business community and mainly our members.”

Sicks will be responsible for helping to plan quarterly seminars and member-to-member seminars based on the feedback she receives in the community, Combs said. She will also work with Chamber ambassadors and manage the Chamber’s social media platforms.

“We want her to take an initiative based on the feedback she gets in the community to change our programs and put those things together,” Combs said. “I would say it’s very much an initiative position and not really a back end or behind-the-scenes position.”

Combs said Sicks’s position would parallel the director of marketing programs and events position, which Kay Burton has held for more than 20 years.

The Chamber of Commerce created the membership director position after learning that Burton would be retiring from the Chamber at the end of June due to personal reasons, Combs said.

“We will do a search for (Kay’s) replacement over the next couple of months,” Combs said. “The core objective of the position is going to be to administer the Chamber’s program of work and to provide the maximum benefit for the community and for our members. They’re going to have the responsibility and the freedom to manage those day-to-day activities within the Chamber’s program of work.”

Combs said the duties would also consist of administrative and sales work.

“We try to make ourselves as attractive to new investments and new businesses as we possibly can so that’s always in the background of this position,” Combs said. “We always need to put the community first — Brookhaven and Lincoln County — and strive to sell this community as the best place for someone to live and the best place for someone to work.”

The Chamber is sad to see Burton go, Comes said. She created big shoes to fill and went above and beyond in everything she did, he said.

“We owe her an extreme debt of gratitude,” Combs said. “She was more successful than anyone could have ever hoped in terms of the events she was responsible for — our retail programs, our Lincoln County Scholars programs, the Ole Brook Festival always in the fall. She took the lead on all of those. She’s been a tremendous advocate for our members and for Lincoln County and Brookhaven, and there’s no doubt that she’ll leave a vacancy that’s going to be very difficult to fill. We wish her the best in the next chapter of her life.”