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Sept. 24, 2020

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Kelly Love leaves CEO position at Vancouver Chamber

By , Columbian Business Editor
Published:
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Kelly Love, who volunteered  for Salvation Army in 2014, will be the new Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center community affairs manager.
Kelly Love, who volunteered for Salvation Army in 2014, will be the new Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center community affairs manager. (Ariane Kunze/Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Kelly Love has resigned as chief executive officer of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and will take on a new role as a public and community affairs representative at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, the chamber announced Monday.

Love has served since 2011 as the top official at the chamber, Southwest Washington’s largest business organization with more than 1,200 members. Her last day in that job will be Dec. 11.

In an email, Love offered thanks to chamber members for their “support and encouragement” during her tenure.

“I’ll continue to be active in the chamber and the community,” she said. Love described her job at Legacy Salmon Creek as “a great opportunity: one I couldn’t pass up.” She succeeds Brian Willoughby, who was recently promoted to director of community benefit for the entire Legacy Health System organization.

In reflecting last summer on the chamber’s 125th anniversary, Love listed several areas of focus that she has pushed at the chamber: upgrading the organization’s technology and online presence, offering more technical services and support to small businesses, and maintaining the group’s role as a dominant advocate for businesses. She noted the chamber’s  success in securing contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense to assist contractors though a Procurement Technical Assistance Program, the launch of a business counseling program for small and emerging businesses, and an educational workshop series for small businesses.

Love also said the chamber needed to show it is open to a new generation of business leaders, whether in small technology companies or in nontraditional businesses. She made the point  this year by attending the grand opening of a retail marijuana store.

“We’re supportive of all commerce,” Love said at the opening of the High End Market Place. “We want all businesses to be successful.”

In 2014, Love was one of three candidates who were considered to fill the remainder of a term on the Clark County Board of Commissioners following the resignation of Steve Stuart. County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke chose retired labor leader Ed Barnes for the position.

Before leading the chamber, Love worked from 2005 to 2010 as Democratic U.S. Rep. Brian Baird’s district director, overseeing district projects and managing staff. She previously worked for many years as a TV news reporter, including 13 years at KGW-TV in Portland.

“This is a great opportunity for Kelly and the board supports her decision,” Eric Olmsted, chairman of the chamber’s board, said in a statement. “She will continue to be a positive force in our community in her new role.”

The chamber is accepting résumés from qualified candidates interested in the CEO job. A selection committee will review qualified candidates. Applicants are asked to send résumés and cover letters sent to resumes@vancouverusa.com.

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