Skinner hired as new Berne Chamber director
Melissa Skinner has been hired as the new executive director of the Berne Chamber of Commerce and will assume that position on Aug. 21. Skinner, a Berne area native and graduate of South Adams High School, is currently working on a bachelor's degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Skinner's most recent employment has been 13 years with Westaff where she was in charge of recruiting, interviewing and staffing jobs for various area businesses and places of employment.
Prior to that, she worked in sales for Gold Shield in Decatur.
"I'm excited; this is a new adventure in my career," said Skinner on Thursday. "I am looking forward to seeing the community and learning more about the people in the businesses in town and bringing them together."
Skinner noted her father, Keith Parr, who owned and operated Parr Implements on Parr Road for many years, was also a cherished role model.
"My father gave me a strong business background," said Skinner. "He instilled a strong work ethic in me. He was a strong influence in my life. A lot about what I bring to the table comes from him."
Skinner graduated from South Adams High School in 1986 and then attended International Business College where she received an associate degree in business. In addition to her professional background and training, she has served on several business-oriented groups such as human resources and networking.
"I like to get to know people and interact together with them. What better way is there to do it," said Skinner.
Skinner is married to Scott Skinner, plant manager at Eckhart Woodworking in Monroe. They have five children, four daughters and a son.
Mark Settlemyre, president of the Berne Chamber of Commerce board, said that Skinner brings a lot of experience to her position.
"I feel very confident that she will do a nice job in moving the chamber forward," said Settlemyre. "She's looking forward to the challenge. She's very eager to get started. If we have her support and the challenges that she is asking for, we will have the opportunity to keep her for several years."
Skinner praised her predecessor (Sheree Barkley) and said that she feels like she has some tough shoes to fill.
"Sheree did a fabulous job," said Skinner. "These are going to be some hard shoes to fill.
"I really want to go out and find out about those companies that have been with the chamber for several years. I want to make sure that they are getting the most for their membership. I want to get out there and ask them how they feel about things; I want to be a mentor to them.
"I want companies that are thinking about coming to Berne to find out what we have to offer here. I want those who move to town to know all of the things they have at their fingertips."
Skinner said one thing she has come to appreciate as a member of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce is the connection and backing of surrounding chambers.
"I have a list of goals and guidelines I hope to carry out as executive director. I plan to frame it and put in on my office wall. My goal is that we all work together to achieve those guidelines. I want to do all I can to lead by example," said Skinner.
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