Southington Chamber of Commerce Appoints New Executive Director
Hekeler previously served in the same role with the Southington Chamber from 1993 to 1999 and was able to triple membership at that time while establishing the organization as a key leader in the community for economic and business growth. She demonstrated strength in her fiduciary capabilities having produced six consecutive surpluses and grew a reserve to protect the future of the Chamber. Hekeler earned national accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the organization and was named Chamber Executive of the Year in 1998.
“The Board of Directors was impressed with Barbara’s knowledge of our community and her past experience at the helm of the Southington Chamber. She will be able to jump right into the position and gain ground immediately with moving the Chamber forward in a positive manner – from strengthening our member base to forming civic and community partnerships,” said Board Chairman Dawn Miceli.
As an accomplished executive with more than 20 years of organizational and operational management experience, Hekeler most recently worked as a business development consultant for PSC International in New Britain. She has a Bachelor of Art degree in communications and organizational management from Villanova University and various professional certifications including a Sixth Year Certification as a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive.
“I am excited to be back in Southington. I cannot wait to get to work, meet with former and new colleagues, and experience that powerful synergy that drives the success of the Southington business community. I am honored beyond expression at the interest, respect, and enthusiasm Dawn and the entire Board of Directors has shown me,” stated Hekeler. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to return to doing the work about which I am passionate.”
During her time with the Southington Chamber, Barbara lobbied successfully to secure an enterprise zone, town infrastructure needs, grants for the revitalization of downtown, and more. Despite the passing of years, Barbara maintained many of the relationships she cultivated with Southington businesses and local officials.
“Barbara’s excitement to resume her role within the Chamber is palpable. She exudes energy, confidence, and commitment and will be integral to our mission of advocating for and advancing our already vibrant business and civic communities,” said Miceli.
The Southington Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest and most active standalone Chambers in Southern New England, with 300 businesses and organizations as members in good standing. In representing the combined interests of the local business community, the Chamber advocates business advancement and nurtures a strong economic climate in a community-oriented fashion to benefit Southington. The Chamber partners with the town and civic organizations to encourage positive business and community growth and is an influential force in building and enhancing public/private partnerships.