Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce announces new Asst Director, Michelle Cruz


Retiring chamber personnel prompt shifts in staffing at MWVCC

North Conway, NH – Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC), recently announced some changes in personnel are in the works at the North Country’s largest chamber of commerce. Longtime employees, Paula Jones, handling marketing and communications, and Public Relations Manager, Marti Mayne, will retire by Spring, 2021. With departures of these key personnel, a new Mt Washington Valley Chamber Assistant Director position began on February 1 for Michelle Cruz. She will continue serving as the Community Engagement Manager and MWV Trails Association Administrator.

“Like so many other businesses, the chamber has taken the opportunity to review their program of work and budget under the lens of Covid. Our office move, pending retirements, and changing board members have provided the opportunity to strategically examine and transform our staffing structure,” commented Janice Crawford. “Michelle will be learning the membership process, Joint Promotional Grant Program and Destination Marketing roles via my mentoring for the next two years,” added Janice. Michelle will continue her role in developing the chamber’s Annual Meeting, Business Expo and White Mountain Outdoor Fest while learning the other aspects the chamber’s business model requires.

Prior to joining the team at the Mt Washington Valley Chamber in 2017, Michelle spent ten years working with the Mount Washington Observatory first as their Outreach Coordinator then as the Director of Education. Following that, Michelle was a teacher at the Robert Frost Public Charter School in North Conway.

The ongoing Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce team of professionals will include Janice Crawford, Executive Director, Michelle Cruz, Assistant Director, and Lisa Eastman, Office Manager, Visitor Services and Bookkeeping. Other services such as public relations, social and digital media, photography and graphic design will be provided by contracted professionals eligible under the 50% match provided by the State of New Hampshire’s Joint Promotional Program (JPP) fund established over 50 years ago.

Paula Jones started working full time with the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2015 after working as a contractor prior to that, bringing years of graphic design and marketing expertise to the position. Her proficiency in graphics and communications has brought a new level of expertise to all of the chamber’s exchanges. Under Paula’s direction, the chamber produced a Year in Review compilation and daily newsletters during the initial weeks of the pandemic.

“Paula’s amazing dedication to quality, her patience and upbeat optimism will be sorely missed at the chamber,” said Janice Crawford. “Paula has brought immeasurable good will and brightens the day for all those she interacts with each day,” finished Janice.

“I’ve loved working for the Chamber”, said Paula. “Whenever someone asked if I liked my job I always responded that I wish I had found it earlier in life”.

Until full retirement in the near future, Paula will continue to work on a part-time basis, and looks forward to more time for traveling, gardening, and non-profit service.

Marti Mayne started working with the chamber in 1989, when Nancy Clark recruited her to help Peter Pinkham, then Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber. Her 31+ year tenure at the chamber was interrupted only once when she worked with Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, but still served as a volunteer on chamber committees. Originally hired to handle marketing and public relations, Marti has been the voice of consistency for the MWVCC, serving as a historian of sorts for those seeking trend information. Under Marti’s direction, the Mt Washington Valley and North Conway received tremendous media coverage, being named as a top ski and adventure region over and over again by major media. Marti has navigated technology changes, morphing from mailing paper press releases and dry-iced snowballs to internet distribution and social media mass impressions.

“There are not enough spaces on a calculator to add the number of impressions and the value of the PR that resulted from Marti’s work. Her wealth of contacts, tenure with the chamber and its members, and deep understanding of what makes Mt Washington Valley special have given us global recognition,” said Janice. “Marti’s work has put heads in beds, shoppers in stores and hungry patrons in our restaurants for more than 30 years,” finished Janice.

Marti plans to enjoy time discovering the Maine coast on her sailboat, and then spend more time volunteering and skiing in the winter.

The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce was a key initiator of the newly formed White Mountain Collaborative made up of the chambers of commerce and tourism associations in the White Mountains. This group worked successfully with the help of the state’s GOFFER funding to help raise awareness for safe travel to the White Mountains.

“This success has led to a period of discovery to determine the value of a closer relationship with White Mountains Attractions. Seen as the regional destination marketing organization by the state it only makes sense to determine where duplication can be reduced bringing forth a stronger brand and message for the entire White Mountains Region Outdoor Recreation and Tourism market,” added Janice, noting that a move toward further collaboration with White Mountains chambers, White Mountains Attractions and Ski NH will have a positive impact on staffing and programs to sustain our businesses.

For more information or questions, please contact Janice Crawford at Janice or 603-356-5701 ext. 303

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