Cindy Frey begins her new job Monday as president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. She’ll oversee an organization whose mission is to engage and serve its members and foster a business climate that is conducive to economic growth.
The choice of Frey is a good one, for various reasons. She has the necessary leadership experience to guide a chamber that has been recognized as one of the best. The Columbus organization was named the state’s chamber of the year in 2008 and the national chamber of the year in 2009.
Frey was an executive with the Columbus Area Visitors Center, where she played an instrumental role in boosting local tourism and used social media and other technology to accomplish that. She also took the lead on Columbus’ participation in the America in Bloom contest, which the city won in its size category in 2006, and when CBS visited to film its “Sunday Morning” show in 2011.
Most recently she served as the global communications leader for Cummins Inc.’s Corporate Responsibility group.
Frey hasn’t shied away from leadership roles. She ran for a seat on Columbus City Council in 2003.
Just as important, she has strong ties to the community and understands the needs of its various groups — whether they are involved in business, tourism, education or the arts. Her former boss at the visitors center said Frey has extensive local and statewide connections. She has been involved with kidscommons, Community Education Coalition, Foundation for Youth, Columbus Area Arts Council and the Women’s Giving Circle at the Heritage Fund: the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.
This community knowledge means Frey already will understand key issues and which resources to utilize to begin initiatives. And chamber members may already know her through her involvement with local groups, possibly easing concerns about whether she will understand and serve their interests.
Seen as the top candidate among 12 applicants and three finalists, the benefits of choosing someone already active in the community — including connections to business, education, the arts and tourism — are obvious. Frey ought to be able to hit the ground running.