IW Chamber leader retiring

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SMITHFIELD—Constance Rhodes is stepping down as president and chief executive officer of the Isle of Wight-Smithfield-Chamber of Commerce. The date becomes effective on Wednesday, Jan. 15. She has reportedly led the agency for approximately 30 years.

“It is an understatement that the chamber will miss Connie,” said Lori Leib, who recently was elected chairman of its board of directors. “She has made such a positive impact on the communities here in Isle of Wight for so many years. Her legacy will be the leadership skills that she has passed along to her staff and past and present board of directors.

“We will move forward with the same enthusiasm and forward thinking that this chamber is known for,” Leib continued. “I know that I speak for the entire chamber board and the business community when I say we wish Connie the very best in this next chapter of her life.”

Echoing those sentiments is Renee Rountree, former board president.

“Connie has led us through the last 30 years, with a lot of growth and development, and led us well,” She said. “I admired her for wanting to spend some time writing and traveling. That’s what’s important to her. She has served us very, very well.”

The chamber is expected to soon begin its search process for a successor.

“As a board, we’ll be looking at our accomplishments of the last 30 years as we’re searching for a new director,” Rountree continued. “There will be big shoes to fill. She’s done a great job for us.”

During her career with the chamber, Rhodes has served on many boards and executive committees within and without the county, not to forget honors. In 2009, she was presented the Chamber Executive of the Year award from the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. She also served as board member and president of VACCE, and as president served on the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Rhodes is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institutes for Organization Management.

“It has been my pleasure to serve this leading business organization,” said Rhodes. “I am proud of the accomplishments of the Chamber and know the community is poised for a bright future.”