The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”) in Joplin, Missouri is seeking a dynamic leader to become its next President & Chief Executive Officer. The new CEO will work with an engaged Board and committed staff to drive the Chamber’s mission to improve the economic prosperity and quality of life in the Joplin region, and to be the principal advocate for, and provider of services to, its business community. The Chamber is one of the few chambers in the nation to have achieved the prestigious 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was re-accredited at this level in March 2018.
The Chamber’s CEO will oversee and manage all aspects of the organization, with a particular focus on maintaining the Chamber’s engagement with leaders of the organization’s membership and making membership more valuable and relevant; developing and maintaining relationships and communications with a broad public and private constituency; clearly communicating the Chamber’s position and vision on regional, community, public and political issues; developing programs that will enhance the environment for member organizations to flourish; and increasing awareness of the Joplin area’s vibrancy and vitality. In addition, the selected candidate will function as the chief strategist, innovative thinker, and collaborative team leader – especially regarding fundraising, advocacy, messaging, economic development and overall program development.
With more than 750 members, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce is the largest business membership organization in the seven-county, tri-state region. Since 1917, the Chamber has been a progressive force in the region working to improve the economic, educational, physical and spiritual well-being for the community. The Board, staff and membership are excited about moving into their next chapter of activity and engagement.
The Chamber is the key economic and community development organization in the Joplin area which includes Jasper, Newton, Vernon and Barton Counties in Missouri, Crawford and Cherokee Counties in Kansas and Ottawa County in Oklahoma. It brings together key leaders in business and industry, education and government in a spirit of collaboration. The Chamber offers a support network for area businesses and has diverse program offerings to help businesses of all sizes, from the one-person entrepreneurial company to the large corporation. As the community and region continue to grow, the Chamber will continue to engage with a wide variety of companies and constituents to maintain and grow its role as a community leader.
The Chamber’s $2+MM budget is generated from members and investors from throughout the region along with revenue from over 50 special events and programs annually. The Chamber continuously endeavors to help members grow their businesses and offers a variety of networking, training and marketing opportunities year-round. In addition, the Chamber offers an array of programs including Chamber Academy, Joplin Regional Innovation & Technology Summit, Leadership Joplin, Young Professionals Network, Business Expo, golf outings and others.
Today, the Chamber staffs and manages several key affiliates:
More information about the Chamber and its affiliates can be found on its website: www.joplincc.com
The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce has had two leaders in the past 25 years, giving it a great deal of stability and a strong reputation in the community. As with all businesses, responsible change and a renewed vision of what the future holds are vital in this position. To remain relevant, a combination of “tried-and-true” chamber activities/initiatives along with innovative ideas and fresh perspectives is what a successful leader will bring to this position.
Located in southwest Missouri at the crossroads of I-44 and I-49 (and the iconic Route 66 runs right through downtown), Joplin is Missouri’s fourth-largest metropolitan area with a population of 400,000 within a 40-mile radius of the city’s center. The region benefits from a diverse business climate, with international corporations along with small businesses and start-up companies. Major employers in the area include Freeman Health System, Leggett & Platt Incorporated, Mercy Hospital, EaglePicher Technologies, TAMKO Building Products, Inc., and Downstream Casino Resort.
Residents of Joplin believe it is the perfect place to live. With a growing population of 52,000, the daytime population swells to 240,000+ as people come to work, shop, learn and play. Joplin serves as a regional hub of healthcare and retail with shopping experiences ranging from unique boutiques to favorite national chains. Within the city, there’s a strong sense of community, a bustling arts and entertainment scene, year-round events and festivals, and a revitalized downtown. Boasting a cost of living well below the national average, affordable homes, green space, and a low crime rate, it’s a wonderful place to raise a family. Four distinct weather seasons allow for a variety of leisure and cultural activities year-round with easy access to the gorgeous Ozark Mountains.
There are numerous choices for K-12 education including an outstanding public-school system along with private schools in the region. Local educational institutions include Missouri Southern State University (6,200 students), Crowder College (4,000 students on 6 Missouri campuses, including Joplin), the new Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (600+ students and graduted their first class in 2021), and a new Dental School under construction.
More information on Joplin and the region can be found on the following websites:
The President & Chief Executive Officer position is located at 320 East 4th Street, Joplin, Missouri 64801.
The President & Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the Chamber reports to the Chair of the five-member Executive Committee of the Chamber’s 28-member Board of Directors (18 elected; 10 ex officio). The CEO is an ex officio member of both the Executive Committee and the full Board, both of which meet 10 months out of the year.
The CEO leads and directs the Chamber staff: Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Director of Entrepreneurship, Director of Business Attraction & Retention, Member Events Manager, Marketing & Public Information Manager, Finance Manager, Executive Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Content Creator, Program Support Assistant, Membership Services, and a Business Development Coordinator. Additionally, there are two contractors supporting the efforts of the Chamber.
Other important interactions include: executives and employees of Chamber member organizations; county and municipal elected and appointed officials; state and national elected officials; representatives of other public and private sector organizations with related community and economic development missions; university, college, technical college and K-12 education officials; representatives of prospect companies; site selectors and other economic development practitioners; and members of the media.
The President & Chief Executive Officer is the chief paid administrative executive of the Chamber and is responsible to the Board of Directors for the organization’s full range of activities and is accountable for the overall performance of the Chamber. The President also serves as Corporate Secretary to the Joplin Area Chamber.
The President & Chief Executive Officer is expected to earn an attractive compensation package; appropriate benefits and some relocation assistance will be provided.
A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in business, law, public administration, or related field is desirable. A graduate of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management, Certified Chamber Executive designation, or Certified Economic Developer designation is desirable.
The ideal candidate must have a proven track record of success and may come from a variety of backgrounds such as the top executive within a progressive and effective comparably-sized economic development organization, chamber of commerce, or related significant business association organization; experience as a “#2” or another senior-level executive at a larger like-enterprise as noted above; an executive with a strong record of community involvement from a complex private or public sector entity. Experience serving a regional marketplace along with significant Board interaction and experience leading large numbers of volunteers are all strongly desired.
Key accomplishments and challenges for the new President & Chief Executive Officer in the first year and beyond include:
The President & Chief Executive Officer position is an outstanding opportunity for a chamber of commerce, economic development, association, nonprofit, or private sector executive to lead and grow a successful regional Chamber organization in a growing and vibrant region. The CEO will have the benefit of working with a highly committed and influential Board of Directors and a group of volunteers with a “get-it-done” attitude. The level of collaboration between the private sector and the public sector is exceptionally strong. This spirit of cooperation and resiliency was demonstrated when the community weathered a catastrophic EF-5 tornado in May 2011, causing $2.8BB in damages. As the “go-to” business organization in the region, the Chamber took the lead in the community’s rebuilding effort, which has brought Joplin back stronger than ever.
The Chamber CEO is a highly visible leadership position and, as such, the new CEO will have a significant influence on the continued growth and development of the city in the years to come. The Chamber’s volunteer and staff leaders are not content with the status quo and have high expectations for the Chamber’s new leader as he/she leads them into “the next chapter” for the Chamber and the Joplin Area regional community.
If you are aware of an outstanding executive who meets these requirements and would be interested in evaluating this dynamic opportunity, please email Joplin@Waverly-Partners.com or contact either consultant at Waverly Partners, the executive search firm retained by the Chamber Board on this search and the “preferred provider” of executive search services of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
Sara B. Cikalo, Managing Director