Germaine Ross has resigned as executive director of the Osceola Area Chamber of Commerce after seven years in the position.

Ross announced her resignation to members in an email.

“It was a very tough decision but the time seems right for both the organization and for my life. I am so proud of the work we have done together and even more so knowing I am leaving Osceola in a great place,” she said.

Chamber board member Pete Kammerud reported to the village board last week there are 10 applicants that will be interviewed via Zoom by three board members. Board member Ruth Sattler says the field will then be narrowed for in person interviews.

“I cannot express how much JOY I experience when I get to see the many projects, events and activities that we have launched over the years continue to get stronger and better each year,” Ross said in her email. “I have especially loved helping young people get involved in making their community a place they want to be. The recent Valley Brew Fest is a great example- volunteers of all ages working and having fun together (don’t think I’ve ever seen so much flannel and facial hair in one place!)

“As our organization enters into this leadership transition time --now more than ever it’s important to remember that the Chamber is ALL of us. It’s not just the director or the nine members of our board. It takes hundreds of people to help this organization accomplish its mission of building a better Osceola, including our Board, our Ambassadors, the Advisory Council, members of all the committees, the event planners, our partners and so many volunteers.

“This leadership transition time is an opportunity for the next generation of leaders to take the reins. Without you it simply doesn’t work.

“The board is in the process of hiring an interim director to help in the transition. I will take this opportunity ask you to help this organization get to a point to make this a 2 or 3 person position. It’s critical for many reasons, but with Osceola’s growth and potential, we are really in a place that doing this job well for both the Chamber and Main Street will require that level of staffing.

“Being in this position has truly been a privilege and an honor. To lead this organization to where it is today has no doubt been challenging. I made mistakes along the way and I learned so much about community development. Thanks to all of you who have been on this journey with me. I have made lifelong friends that I will continue to cherish.

“As a small-town girl at heart, I can’t wait to see our community continue to grow while making sure Osceola keeps its unique small-town character and gets even stronger.

“Osceola is still my hometown so I hope to see you around,” she said.

During budget presentations, the Main Street organization lobbied for additional funding to get to at least one full time equivalent employee. Ross was a .7 employee running both the Chamber and Main Street programs.

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