New chamber executive director wants to hear from business community

February 06, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Paula Kilby is still moving. There are still nails on the yellow walls of her office that show where her predecessor's pictures hung. She and her husband, Jerry, are still looking for a plot of land to build a house.

But, she is settled into the idea of being the new executive director of the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce. Today she will join the chamber board for their second retreat at R.R. Donnelley to reshape the organization's goals and make plans for the future.

"The Chamber is all about its members. We're here because of the members."

She sees meeting the needs of members as her purpose, then to recognize the members and volunteers who help run the chamber.

Immediately she wants to hear from the community, especially the business community. Kilby said she is ready to listen to concerns, issues and suggestions.


Kilby has an easy laugh and bright eyes that light up when she gets excited, which is often when she talks about giving businesses a voice on the state and local levels.

She is eager to learn about her new home state's laws and systems of government, and said she will use that information to help foster a positive business climate.

With the same enthusiasm, she talks about Kentucky.

She and her family lived in Lexington for six years, when she said she fell in love with the state, it's landscape and state park system.

When her daughter, Erin, was a girl scout, Kilby said she took the troop camping, hiking and spelunking all over the state. Her daughter is now at Asbury College in Wilmore, but Kilby still has the exploring bug. She can't wait to get outdoors again, and discover more of the state's offerings.

When she interviewed for the job, for two days, she said she was impressed by what she saw of this community. One thing that has impressed her is the decision in the late 1800s to make Main Street six lanes, anticipating future growth. She said she sees this community as being led by visionaries.

For now she wants to settle in, hang her own pictures on the wall, and visit with the community.

"Initially, I am looking forward to getting my feet wet and hearing what people have to say,"

Kilby holds a bachelor of arts (cum laude) and master of public administration degrees from the University of Maine. She also is a graduate of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Organizational Management.

Before coming to Danville, she was the director of Community Chamber Partnerships for the Portland Regional Chamber in Portland, Maine. In that capacity, she manages the programs, services and activities of five community chambers of commerce with a combined membership of over 1,400.

She hopes that people will call and tell her what issues are important to them. Contact her at 236-2361 or

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