by Marnie Uhl, President/CEO, Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce has a long history of strong leadership by women in business. Women from all areas of business have served on the board and many have risen to the top serving as President; now called Chairman/Chairwoman.
Since 2006 when I became the CEO of the Chamber, I have served under four extremely dedicated, talented and committed business women who believed in the strength of a Chamber of Commerce to lead and support a strong and vibrant economic climate. It is to these women I recognize and thank for their inspiration and dedication to our businesses and community.
Chairwoman 2012-2012 Irene Evans – Irene served on the board of directors from 2010 to 2013 at which time she was Vice President, National Bank Prescott Valley. She served on the board as Chairwoman, secretary, Vice-Chair, and as Chair of the Casino Night Fundraiser. She also served on the economic development, governmental affairs and strategic planning committees. As Chairwoman, Irene was instrumental in facilitating the acquisition and relocation of the Chamber’s new offices and was a driving force in getting the Chamber started with the accreditation process through the U.S. Chamber. Irene was a powerful leader who took the Chamber to the next level.
Chairwoman 2013-2014 Jeri Ann Kooiman – Jeri Ann served on the board of directors from 2005 to 2015 and is the owner of Kooiman Realty. She has served as Chairwoman, Vice-Chair, Secretary and also on the membership, bylaws/policies and procedures committees as well as the Team Up to Clean Up, Holiday Festival of Lights and Flying High Turkey Drive event planning committees. As Chairwoman, Jeri Ann led the board in the branding and redesign of the new Chamber logo and in the planning of the Chamber’s 40th anniversary year and celebration. Jeri Ann’s leadership brought the Chamber a new identity and focus for business success.
Chairwoman 2016-2017 Donna Laxson – Donna served on the board of directors from 2013 to 2019 and was the Branch Manager for OneAZ Credit Union in Prescott Valley. During her terms she served as Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and was Chair of the Membership Committee for three years. She also served as an Ambassador and contributed to events such as the Valley of Lights, Pronghorn Golf Tournament and Flying High Turkey Drive. But Team Up to Clean Up was her passion. She gave time and an untold amount of energy to make it a bigger and better event. Her leadership in developing the scavenger hunt, recognizing community service with certificates and sponsoring the prizes grew participation every year. Donna was our ray of sunshine; always approaching each program or event with a positive attitude. Her leadership brought people together because they liked being around her passionate, optimistic and energetic nature.
Chairwoman 2017-2018 Erin Vredeveld – Erin has served on the board of directors since 2014 and is the owner of Canyon Physical Therapy and Aquatic Center with her husband Kelly. She served as Chairwoman and currently is the Past-Chair. During her terms she has served as Vice-Chair and Secretary of the board. She has also served on many committees including Membership and Governmental Affairs. Events include Battle of the Bands, Flying High Turkey Drive, Prescott Valley Days and Valley of Lights Holiday Stroll. Erin was one of the most visible board members. She made it her mission to attend every program and event. She was regularly in attendance at mixers, power hour lunches, quarterly breakfasts and at all Chamber and community events. Erin leads by example. She showed what it was to engage and connect on a face-to-face basis the importance of Chamber involvement. We are fortunate that Erin is still a board member and great representative of the Chamber of Commerce.
Other great women who have served in leadership with the Chamber include:
- Marilyn Rabideau – President 1997-1998
- Jean Knight – President 2000-2001
- Patti Venuti – President 2002-2003
- Kit Atwell – President 2003-2004
- Jane Fielding – President 2004-2005