Family, as I have come to learn, can include those who aren’t related by blood or marriage. In my nearly 20 years at the chamber, I have come to appreciate the team as my family. I can honestly say that the women I spend the majority of my waking hours with know me better than most. We have all grown even closer because of the pandemic. We have endured good and bad times, moments of pure joy and laughter, moments of frustration, sadness and even anger, yet we have learned that as a family, we can survive anything!
These four women, Krista Carter, Carrie Wilson, Tracy Solly and Tracy Seebach are the best in the industry, and their tenure at the chamber ranges from 20 years to two years. Even though I’m the matriarch by age, Krista, our vice president, outranks me by tenure and is celebrating her 20th anniversary this month.
Krista is so deserving of accolades as the number two at the chamber – my number one and dear friend. Oftentimes throughout the day, I call out to her for an assist on one matter or another and she never says no. She can put out any chamber fire because of her vast experience, unwavering dedication and calm demeanor.
She is a graduate of the US Chamber Institute of Organization Management (IOM), a board member of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals and a recipient of its 2015 Professional of the Year Award. Krista is also involved with the Rotary Club of Winter Garden, is a board member of the Oakland Nature Preserve and a supporter of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop.
Another devoted mom, community volunteer and member of my chamber family, since 2007 is Carrie Wilson, our director of events. Carrie rose through the ranks and has been heading up the chamber events department, which has experienced significant change due to the pandemic. Nothing phases Carrie, and she has learned to accept change with ease, making virtual events a new norm. A graduate of IOM in 2019 and a member of the West Orange Junior Service League, Carrie is also a servant leader.
Leader is the word that describes newer members of my family. I call them T-squared. Tracy Solly, our membership director, intertwines her background from the international hotel industry with our community. She delights in knowing her efforts positively connect businesses, and we delight in her tales of her homeland, Scotland. Tracy Seebach also hails from far away: Tennessee. She and I met years ago and both served on the Health Central Hospital Foundation before serving on the WOCC Board. I knew her work ethic and was thrilled when the opportunity arose to bring her into our family as my trusted executive assistant.
The chamber ladies, each unique and talented, inspire me every day and fill the days with the values of family.