The New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director. On the job since July 2, Jen Roe brings to the position a background in sales, marketing and strategic planning, acquired through years of experience in the travel and tourism industry.
She replaces former New Paltz Chamber director Kathy Prizzia, who resigned in April after three years at the helm to become assistant general manager at Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland.
The executive director provides day-to-day leadership for the Chamber, developing and implementing organizational strategies while working with the board of directors to promote business in New Paltz and the surrounding region.
We spoke with Roe on just day three of her new tenure, but even so, she’d already signed up two new members, noting that growing the Chamber’s membership of more than 400 business owners was a priority.
Roe’s employment history includes working for Clear Channel Radio in Poughkeepsie and selling advertising to ski resorts and tourism boards. Most recently, she was employed by a Denver-based digital advertising agency, working remotely from her home in New Paltz.
“I feel like everything I’ve done up to now really prepared me for this type of position,” Roe says. “I’ve always enjoyed working with my clients from the perspective of building a marketing plan that helps their business grow, but now I get to be more directly connected to the community. I’m looking forward to helping business owners with whatever they’re struggling with, to really get in and make it easier for them.”
Business counseling is an important function the Chamber provides for its members, Roe notes. “We get calls all the time from people coming to visit the area, asking where to stay, and where to eat, but our role goes beyond just referrals. We’re also here to lend a hand to local businesses, to help them expand their vision of what they can be.”
A business owner might be great at running a gym, for instance, but need help with a business plan or learning how to use social media. “We want business owners to look at us as a subset of their team,” Roe adds.
Taking on the position of executive director at the New Paltz Chamber was an opportunity too good to pass up, she says. And bringing people together feels natural to her; even some of her friends, she says with an easy smile, like to call her “The Connector.”
Originally from Oceanside on Long Island, Roe has lived in the Hudson Valley since 2004 and in New Paltz since 2014. Her son, Travis, 12, attends New Paltz Middle School.
The Chamber of Commerce offices at 257 Main Street in New Paltz is hosting a series of free “meet and greet” sessions for members and the public to meet the new director. The next event will be a tea and cookies meet ‘n’ greet on Thursday, July 26 from 3-5 p.m. And the monthly membership coffee gathering on Friday, August 3 from 8-10 a.m. will be another opportunity to get to know the new director, who says she plans to maintain an open-door policy in her office. “The ‘meet and greets’ are a great way to come and start the conversation,” Roe says. “And it’s always hardest to start the conversation.”
For more information, visit the Chamber’s Visitor Center, 257 Main Street in New Paltz, call (845) 255-0243 or visit http://www.newpaltzchamber.org/.