WESTSHORE — The South Tampa Chamber of Commerce is combining the old with the new.
Under new President and CEO Kelly A. Flannery, the 500-member organization is keeping some traditions and looking to establish new ones.
Flannery, 34, who joined the chamber a year ago as director of events and membership, assumed the leadership position in February with the resignation of Judy Gay, who had led the chamber since 2007. Flannery said she hopes to expand the number of networking opportunities and grow the membership in the organization, founded in 1926.
“Some small business owners have never networked before — and we want to give them opportunities,” she said at a recent gathering of new members at Troy University. “We also are rolling out enhanced advertising opportunities later this year.”
Flannery, who graduated from Plant High School in 1998 as Kelly O’Donoghue, said she hopes to hire a full-time membership director soon and next year add a full-time event coordinator, a job she will continue to do this year.
The chamber will continue to have the Business of the Year Gala and the Breakfast with the Mayor, both of which started this year. It also will continue the New Teacher Breakfast, retain a close tie with MacDill Air Force Base and be involved in government issues affecting South Tampa, she said.
In addition, it will continue to sponsor the Taste of South Tampa, which was held recently and sold out of booth space.
“We have large corporations like Wal-Mart, Publix and Boeing, small businesses, account executives, nonprofits and now student and community categories of membership,” Flannery said.
The organization publishes an annual directory of members “and if you can’t find it in our directory, you probably can’t find it in South Tampa,” she said at the new members event.
Amy Azzarelli, director of event sales for Splitsville at Channelside, was among the new members at the event.
“I needed to get out in the community, to have people know we (Splitsville) are still here,” Azzarelli said.
Kathie Miley, of C-1 Bank in Hyde Park, also liked the networking opportunities and the chamber’s support of nonprofits, including Metropolitan Ministries and Alpha House.
“Our philosophy is reach out to the community,” Miley told the other guests at the new members gathering.
Gay announced in December she was leaving to become director of operations at Seven Marketing & Public Relations. But her last day was not until February.
“I was very lucky that Judy was there and could walk me through areas I hadn’t been involved in before,” Flannery said.