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New leadership

Oldham Chamber
taps GLI for new director

Karem focused on growth, membership

By Don Ward
Editor

BUCKNER, Ky. (February 2006) – After a three-month-long search and pouring over 50 resumes, the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce board has hired Deana Epperly Karem of Louisville to replace longtime executive director Joe Schoenbaechler. Schoen-baechler resigned in September to take over as executive director of the Oldham County Economic Development Authority after serving as its interim director since April.

Deana Epperly Karem

Deana
Epperly Karem

Karem was introduced to the chamber at its quarterly membership meeting, held Jan. 17 at the John W. Black Community Center in Buckner. She comes to the job from Greater Louisville Inc, the Louisville Metro Chamber of Commerce, where she served for seven years and most recently as director of technology business development. She begins her new post in Oldham County on Feb. 8.
“I believe in community service, and I would like to do things that are outside the normal realm of service to bring in new members,” said Karem, 39, upon being introduced.
She said she wanted to spend the first 120 days of her term getting to know members personally and to learn about their businesses. “I want to find out what you want from your chamber.”
She listed her second goal as new member recruitment and the third to focus on program development, including new activities that promote networking opportunities for members.
Her fourth goal is to strengthen ties with chambers of commerce in neighboring counties “to see how we can work together to grow our region because when the region does well, we do well.”
Lastly, Karem pledged to “do the hard work to stay strong as a chamber and keep it going. It’s not time to put away your working boots yet,” she warned board members after having completed their task of hiring her. “I want to bring people together to take us to the next phase.”
Gary Hardy, president of the chamber board, said after dozens of interviews with top quality candidates, “Deana’s name just kept coming to the top.”
She was first offered the job in November but declined because of worries about an impending pregnancy. But after receiving a clean bill of health from her physician, she called back in December with renewed interest in the position and later accepted it.
Karem graduated from Mercy Academy and earned a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Louisville. She serves as vice president on Mercy Academy’s board of directors and on the board of the E.P. Tom Sawyer Park Foundation. In 2001, she was listed on Business First newspaper’s “40 Under 40” rising stars. In 2004, Louisville Magazine listed her among its “Women to Watch” business professionals.
Karem is married to Stephen Karem, a self-employed home repairman. She has one stepson, Avery, 12.


Oldham Community Showcase postponed

The Oldham County Chamber of Commerce has postponed its annual Oldham Community Showcase business expo until Saturday, March 4, with the preceding business awards luncheon to take place at noon Friday, March 3.
The event, which is held at the former Wal-Mart building in the back of Crestwood Station Shopping Center in Crestwood, had originally been scheduled for Feb. 4. But chamber board officials said the March time frame would work better this year, giving the chamber more time to solicit booths and to allow newly hired executive director Deana Epperly Karem time to adjust to her position.
Booth sales had been sluggish for this 12th annual event, but with the news of postponement, more members have purchased booths, according to chamber officials. The show generally attracts more than 100 businesses. The cost to rent a 10x10 booth is $225 for chamber members. The price includes electricity, a table and two chairs.
Showcase hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Friday’s luncheon is $10. The deadline to apply for the annual Oldham County Top Achiever’s Awards has been changed to Feb. 6. For information on the awards or to reserve a luncheon ticket or booth space, contact Connie Patrick at the chamber office at (502) 222-1635.

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