Corry Chamber director to trade position for teaching

Pam Brown is the executive director of the Corry Area Chamber of Commerce, but because of her experience as a teacher, she designed a bulletin board with names of Chamber members. Journal photo by Maryann Mook

When Pam Brown and her family moved to Corry from Arizona four years ago, she wanted to take a break after being in the classroom as a teacher for 15 years.

She intended to be a stay-at-home mom of her one daughter and four sons, now ages 11 to 20 years old. Brown’s husband, Bob, is a teacher for the Millcreek School District.

But after a year, she got antsy.

“I quickly found out that being a city girl in the country didn’t work out,” Brown said. “I needed that interaction with people.”

She soon got that interaction and more. Three years ago, Brown was hired by the Corry Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors as the Chamber’s executive director.

“It was a part-time job that gave me an opportunity to become entrenched in this community in a way I never could have done otherwise,” Brown said.

While serving as executive director, Brown continued to teach on a substitute basis. Now, she would like to return to teaching full time. To do that, she has to be available for the classroom on a daily basis. She also would like to be available if a long-term substitute job opens up.

As a result of that, Brown has submitted her resignation to the Chamber’s board of directors. Brown is waiting until August to see if she is offered a teaching position. She has not given the board of directors a specific exit date, but the position is being advertised.

“If I don’t get an actual full-time job teaching, I hope to start with a long-term subbing position throughout the year,” Brown said.

While in Arizona, Brown taught sixth grade for three years, fifth grade for nine years, and gifted students in grades three through six for two years.

Jan Bemis, president of the Chamber’s board of directors, said she hates to see Brown leave her position.

“The Chamber has come a long way under her direction,” Bemis said. “I’m sad to see her go.”

Bemis said one of the biggest accomplishments for the Chamber under Brown was to take over CorryFest from the festival’s original organizers.

Brown said she loves her position of executive director, especially because it keeps her in touch with Corry and has helped her meet people and become involved in the Corry community.

“I think the benefit of this job has gone both ways,” Brown said. “I fee like I have contributed to the Chamber, but the Chamber has given me so much.”

She also said it’s been “incredible” serving the Corry community, and she’ll leave with a heavy heart.

“I want to call this community home, and I don’t know if I could do that without this job,” Brown said.

Brown said she doesn’t know where her teaching career will land her, but she’s ready to go with the flow.

“Ultimately, I would like to teach in Corry, but I realize I have to go where a job is available,” she said.

The Chamber has undergone many changes under Brown’s direction.

“We’ve added the Chamber Choice, an insurance program for Chamber members,” Brown said. “We’ve also partnered with Mercyhurst College for a tuition reduction program for Chamber members.”

Other programs Brown has helped with are:

• revising the Chamber’s newsletter

• designing a new Web site

• publishing a yearly directory

• improving events such as the Professional Women’s Luncheon

• taking on CorryFest and having two successful CorryFests in the books

• starting to plan for Corry’s 150th celebration in 2011

After Brown leaves her position, she will continue to volunteer for the community by remaining with CorryFest.

“I will continue to sit on the CorryFest committee with the 150th celebration next year.”

Bemis said Brown will be a tough act to follow.

She said Brown just seems to know everybody and everything.

“It’s going to be very hard to replace her,” Bemis said. “For somebody not being from this town, she’s done very well.”

Anyone interested in applying for the position of executive director of the Corry Area Chamber of Commerce may e-mail a resume to Brown at cacc@velocity.net or mail a resume to the Corry Area Chamber of Commerce, 221 N. Center St., Corry, PA 16407. The deadline for applications is July 28.

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