WOU grad ready to improve value of the chamber

UPDATE: This story has been corrected with the right spelling of Vikkye Fetters' name. The I-O regrets the error.

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — Vikkye Fetters is eager to begin her job as the Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce executive director.

She technically started on May 22, but plans to begin in earnest — “Without training wheels,” as she put it — next week.

“I’m inheriting three people’s organizational system,” she said. “My first plan is to lock myself in that office and really see what information we have, what stuff we need, what stuff we don’t need and just have in there because no one’s had the time to go through that.”

During that process, Fetters, 26, said she hopes to get more acquainted with chamber programs, including some that could use some revamping.

“Our Chamber Rewards program is one,” she said. “I don’t think that a lot of the members know that’s a thing they can be in or know what it does for them. I’m going to scavenger hunt to see what I can do to add more value to the chamber for folks, so the question of, ‘What is the chamber and what can it do for me,’ isn’t the question so much as, ‘I heard about the chamber, and I’d love to be in it because of this.’ That would be my dream.”

Fetters graduated from Western Oregon University in 2013 and majored in English. After college, she ran a haunted history tour company — researching the history of towns in 30 states and writing tours while managing tour guides.

When she saw the job posted for a chamber director in December 2016, when former chamber director Jean Love stepped down, she went for it.

“It seemed like all the skills that I’d been using my whole life was in this job,” Fetters said.

The chamber board of directors chose Ryan Kingsella, who announced his resignation earlier this month. Rather than repost the job, board president Miriam Haugen reached out to Fetters.

“I was really excited to hear that they were still interested in me, and that they remembered me at all was very flattering, and that they still thought of me for the position,” Fetters said. “I’m excited about it.”

She didn’t know a lot about chambers at first — just through companies she’d worked with who belonged to them.

“As far as I knew, it was a way to get advertising,” Fetters said. “And it is, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also an advocacy group. It’s a network. It’s a way for you to get connections as a business owner and as a member that you would have to search out yourself, normally, and not be able to find.”

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