There is an old air traffic control tower at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins where Darlene McLendon started her career.
Now, the president of the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce is returning to the area that is so special, she said. McLendon, 50, has been named the new president and CEO of the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce. Her first day on the job is April 21.
McLendon replaces Stacy Campbell, who is leaving to work at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.
The Perry community has strengths that I find very interesting. ... Its known as the crossroads of Georgia, McLendon said. Their leadership is so strong, so well organized that throughout the interview process, I wanted the job even more.
Additionally, the Perry job will allow McLendon to concentrate on economic development. McLendon is excited to work with local economic development authorities and the areas significant economic engines such as the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, she said.
Her initial goal, she said, is to become acquainted with the chamber and the community.
We are very excited to welcome Darlene as president and CEO of the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce, Marc Martin, chamber chairman, said in a news release. She impressed our search committee with her leadership skills and passion for promoting the business community. Darlene has a remarkable skill set that will allow her to make a positive impact on our organization and its membership.
McLendon is quick to credit teamwork for her accomplishments at the Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has been instrumental in the success of the Forsythia Festival, a boon to the local economy, she said.
Additionally, the chamber recently began hosting a Public Safety Day of Honor and has revamped its leadership program. In fact, it was the leadership program that sparked McLendons interest in the chamber.
McLendon, an Atlanta native who was a civilian air traffic controller at Robins Air Force Base, was living in Monroe County when she began taking classes through the chambers leadership program. She learned about the function of the local chamber of commerce and how it works from the grass roots up to get a community strong, to keep a community strong, and I just fell in love with it, she said.
She asked chamber leaders how she could get involved, and she eventually became a part-time events and membership coordinator. From there, she worked her way up to the presidents job in March 2012. Now, she is bringing those leadership skills to Perry.
The Perry community has some really good things in place, and Im looking forward to future development, she said. I am just so very, very excited.
Writer Jennifer Burk contributed to this report. To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 744-4331.